Energy Saving Keys to Remodel Your Home Green

March 26, 2009 by  
Filed under Energy Efficiency

The best remodeling projects are the ones that pay for themselves in the long run. If you’re already contemplating a remodeling project in your home, consider including a few changes that can translate into better energy efficiency. Small changes to things such as insulation, lighting, appliances, lighting, or the hot water heater can drive down your utility bills while also helping to make the environment a little cleaner.

The first place to check your home’s energy efficiency is behind your walls. R-value measures the ability of insulation to resist heat transfer. Homes are built to meet local building requirements, which are not calibrated for peak energy efficiency, but only to meet minimal needs for the area’s climate. By upgrading your insulation’s R-value, you will keep warm air in during cold weather, and cool air in during the warmer weather. This means big changes in the amount of energy needed to heat or cool your home. Also, look for gaps in attic space that could use an insulation boost. Even a small area that has little, damaged, or no insulation can contribute to significant energy loss. Fortunately, adding insulation to attic space or finished walls or ceilings is a relatively easy, cost-effective improvement that will pay off in a short amount of time.

The next way to make changes for sustainable living in your home is to replace old appliances with new, more energy efficient ones. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that one older appliance can cost a homeowner as much as $150 more each year than an energy-efficient model. Prepare a budget to replace any outdated appliance, including your washer, dryer, stove, refrigerator, and dishwasher. It is an investment that will pay for itself in the long run, economically and environmentally.

An easy lighting makeover that can translate into energy savings for your home is just replacing all incandescent light bulbs with energy efficient fluorescent bulbs. This can put a noticeable dent in your electrical bill while also ensuring you’ve done your part in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. If you’re anticipating the replacement of your roof, consider putting in solar tubes at the same time. Solar tubes enhance natural lighting, and may even eliminate the need for electric lighting for some rooms during daylight hours if the tubes are properly placed.

To save money on your water bills, consider trading in your old hot water heater for an eco-friendly tankless one. The tank of a typical hot water heater keeps 20 – 50 gallons of water heated daily. By contrast, a tankless water heater only works to heat water when it’s needed. If your current hot water heater is run on gas, you will save money on fuel as well as in reduced water usage. If replacing your water heater isn’t in the budget, an insulating jacket for your water heater typically costs less than $20, and outfitting your pipes is even cheaper. Both of these little changes make your water heater more energy efficient.

Even low-cost energy-saving changes to your home can contribute to the go green movement. When remodeling your home, remember that every upgrade in energy efficiency, from insulation to lighting, can make a big difference to the environment and, eventually, your wallet.