10 Remodeling Tips to Save Energy at Home

By in

When homeowners open their heating bills and are shocked by the high costs, it may be time to consider energy conserving alternatives. To prevent that scenario from repeating, homeowners can opt for energy efficient home remodel.  While home remodeling requires spending that hard-earned money, an energy-efficient home reduces bills and the home’s carbon footprint – a win for the planet and the homeowner’s wallet.

Here are some tips for creating a more efficient and resourceful home:

  • Tip 1: Insulation
    • Insulation is the easiest and cheapest way to save energy. The roof is where most heat escapes from the home, so it’s important to thoroughly insulate the top of the house.
    • To locate sources of air leaks, homeowners can have a blower door test conducted.  Homeowners can block likely gaps on the house’s exterior by using caulk to seal cracks between sheathing, doors and windows. The same applies to the interior; fill gaps between floors and baseboards, around the fireplace, HVAC ducts, windows and doors.
  • Tip 2: Ventilation
    • Sunlit rooms should be well-ventilated to regulate temperature.  Windows should be operable, and ceiling fans help to draw heat out.  Choose fans instead of decorative lighting fixtures.
  • Tip 3: Tankless Water Heaters
    • Rather than using large water heaters that waste energy heating water 24/7, tankless water heaters work as needed.  They also require much less room.
  • Tip 4: Efficient Appliances
    • Using efficient appliances can be a big energy saver.  Energy Star appliances are appliances that the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Energy have approved as energy efficient.  Keep a sharp eye out for any appliances with the Energy Star mark.
  • Tip 5: Situate Windows
    • If possible, place most of the windows on the sun-facing side of the house to take advantage of its free energy.  Skylights are also great sources of natural light, allowing for less electricity use.
  • Tip 6: Window Coverings
    • Installing large overhangs above the exterior of windows can add insulation and regulate temperatures during summer months.  Other options include quality shades or window tinting to diffuse the harshness of heat coming in.  Shades also insulate at night.
  • Tip 7: Roofing
    • When re-roofing a house, keep color and type of material in mind to optimize the sun’s energy.  Light-colored shingles are the optimal choice for energy savings. Dark colors absorb heat, so light shingles are more efficient in keeping the house cool during the summer.  The same goes for the outer walls of the house; choosing the right color can make a big difference.
  • Tip 8: Install a Fireplace
    • Using a fireplace for heat is a great way to get warm without using electricity.  Glass fireplace doors help insulate.
  • Tip 9: HVAC Ducts
    • Place new HVAC ducts in areas of the home that are heated and cooled, instead of unconditioned areas.  Otherwise, insulate the ducts so the conditioned air doesn’t leak out.
  • Tip 10: Toggle Switch Plates
    • Install efficiency switches on outlets that get a lot of use.  Outlets with electronics constantly plugged in continually use power.  Efficiency switches prevent that waste of energy.

Living Green Magazine – January 2013