5 Cost-Effective Green Home Renovations

Dated: 09/05/2018

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Have certified home energy auditors evaluate your residence.  The United States Department of Energy defines a home energy audit as “the first step to assess how much energy your home consumes and to evaluate what measures you can take to make your home more energy efficient.”  Essentially, the home energy audit gauges whether a house has any energy losses, health hazards, or safety issues.  Fuel and utility bills are analyzed.  Inspections are likewise conducted on the house’s exterior and interior.  For instance, there is an evaluation of indoor air quality and a test for lead-based paint.  Other questions answered include whether or not there are upgrades needed for the electrical system, lighting, and wiring.  What are the performance levels for wall installations and framing types, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, the thermostat, the combustion appliances (fireplace, chimney, furnace, water heater), and HVAC ducts?  Are there any signs of water leakage?  Windows and doors, in particular, are checked for leaks and condensation.  The results are compiled into a comprehensive home energy report.  Ultimately, the home energy audit provides recommendations on how any energy loss can be mitigated to save money.  The US Department of Energy advises homeowners to find certified professional energy auditors – even a Home Performance ENERGY STAR participating contractor – to conduct the home energy audit assessment.  Having the home energy audit is the first step towards renovating your dwelling place so that it becomes a greener, more eco-friendly house.

Get insulation and sealing upgrades.  Another important consideration when undertaking green home renovations is insulation.  To better understand the concept, remember that heating systems are employed to resolve any heat loss during autumn and winter, and cooling systems are leveraged to alleviate any heat gain during summer.  Of course, powering up these heating and cooling systems leads to increased spending.  The solution is to have a properly insulated home to effectively resist any disadvantageous flow of heat into and out of the house.  Thus, the better insulated your home is, the more energy efficient it is, and the more ideal it becomes for your wallet.  Similarly, reducing the amount of air that leaks into and out of a home is another practical method to decrease energy costs.  Sealing techniques include caulking areas that are immovable (e.g. caulking off the gaps-seams-crevices around pipes, wiring, light fixtures, ducts, etc.) as well as weather-stripping to seal around movable areas (e.g. windows, doors, etc.)  By and large, proper insulation goes hand-in-hand with sealing techniques to help raise a home’s comfort level and energy efficiency.  

Invest in energy efficient appliances.  An ENERGY STAR-Qualified appliance has been deemed energy efficient by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).  While it is true that these appliances cost more than their less efficient counterparts, ENERGY STAR-Qualified appliances will nevertheless save you more on your electricity bill over the long haul.  Besides, many utility companies and several states offer tax rebates for the purchase of ENERGY STAR-Qualified appliances.

Install ENERGY STAR certified windows.  Did you know there are ENERGY STAR-Qualified windows?  These energy efficient windows can minimize excess heat loss and thereby shrink energy bill expenditures.  Doing so provides homeowners with more savings in the long run.  Additional bonuses from ENERGY STAR certified windows include more consistent home temperatures as well as reduction of ultraviolet (UV) sun damage to flooring, carpeting, paint and furniture.  

Accentuate your home’s energy efficiency with passive solar design and eco-friendly landscaping.  Passive solar capacity signifies optimal use of sunlight by keeping interiors toasty in winter yet cool in summer.  One way of encouraging a property’s passive solar capacity is via mindful treescaping (landscaping with the use of trees).  Deciduous trees are planted around a home to protect it from direct sunlight in summer.  But when the branches are clear in the autumn and winter months, more sunlight can shine through to warm the home during the colder seasons of the year.  Should you happen to choose mindful treescaping as one of your green home renovations, be sure to plant these deciduous trees on the southern and western sides of your home for optimal energy efficiency. 

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Jason Belangoy

Originally a Bay Area native, Jason moved temporarily to San Diego, to study for his real estate licensing exam. He passed 3 months later, but fell in love and now calls San Diego home. He’s the yo....

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