Energy Efficiency, Home Remodeling

Consider Energy Efficiency During Home Remodeling.

Energy efficiency and the home energy score.When doing a major home remodel, keep energy efficiency in mind.  Every year, much of the energy homeowners consume is wasted. Energy efficiency is one of the easiest and most cost effective ways to clean the air we breathe and reduce energy costs.  Remember, you’ll be paying for energy inefficiency every month for as long as you own your home.

You hear a lot about making your home more energy efficient—how it can help to reduce high energy bills, improve comfort and help to protect the environment. But what does it all mean if you’re remodeling or building a new home?

A whole-house systems approach.

If you’d like to design an energy efficient home you should use what’s called the whole-house systems approach. This approach helps homeowners, architects, and builders develop successful strategies for optimizing home energy efficiency.

Designing and building a new house or renovating an existing house to be highly energy-efficient requires careful planning and attention to detail. The planning process is also a good time to look into a renewable energy system that can provide electricity, water heating, or space heating and cooling.  If you’re remodeling a home, be sure to conduct an energy audit before making upgrades to determine what energy efficiency improvements should be made to your home.

Remodeling projects that involve replacement or significant alterations of walls and roofs, windows, doors, heating and cooling systems, duct work, and lighting can all have a big impact on your home’s energy use. This is a particularly good time for sealing ducts and adding insulation in walls that otherwise could not be done easily or cost-effectively.

The design or remodeling stage is also a good time to consider adding a renewable energy system like small wind turbine or solar panels that will provide your home with electricity, water heating, or space heating and cooling.

To ensure that your new or renovated home takes full advantage of a whole-house systems approach, hire an experienced design and building team and insist that they use a whole-building systems approach from the beginning of the design process.  Your designer can perform a whole-house computer simulation that compares multiple combinations of variables to arrive at the most cost-effective and energy-efficient solution.

These variables could include:

  • Site conditions.
  • Local climate.
  • Appliances and home electronics.
  • Insulation and air sealing.
  • Lighting and day-lighting.
  • Space heating and cooling.
  • Water heating.
  • Windows, doors, and skylights.

Some benefits of using a whole-house systems approach include:

  • Reduced utility and maintenance costs.
  • Increased comfort.
  • Reduced noise.
  • A healthier and safer indoor environment.
  • Improved building durability.

You can use the whole-house systems approach with any home design. Once you’ve reduced your energy loads requirements as much as possible, consider adding renewable energy systems that generate electricity and heat water.