Keeping your home properly efficient energy-wise can be the difference between a thousand dollar utility bill or a few hundred. There’s a ton of different strategies, procedures, and various methods that many companies and home renovation companies will incorporate to ensure that a newly-built or freshly-renovated home is energy efficient. In today’s world, the need to not only conserve energy, but reduce our use of it in general, is extremely important. Think of your home as a machine, a system of some sort. You have to reduce, downsize, and properly plan out your home’s inner workings in order to see proper energy-efficient results.
Keeping your home energy-efficient not only saves you money in your annual budget, but also helps save you time and potential hassle in the future that can result from not taking these steps initially. You also can improve the performance of your home’s natural systems such as its HVAC system by being energy-efficient and taking various budget-saving and frugal measures that help to not only reduce the load of the energy going through your home, but also helps them chug along faster, sleeker, and better.
One of the first steps that the majority of contractors and home renovation experts will do to properly ensure your home is energy-efficient is to do an overall, very thorough, in-depth check of your home’s insulation in general. There are many things that encapsulate your home, and it’s important to go over each and every one to ensure the energy-saving properties of each, and whether or not it will be a problem in the future. The major items that most professionals will examine include your walls, attic, basement/crawl space, windows, and doors. This involves a proper inspection of the seals, gaps, cracks, and anything that may potentially be limiting your energy-efficiency, such as thin glass windows or plexi-glass windows that allow cold air to come through your home. There are also many other ways that home renovation professionals will consider to help improve your home’s performance and reduce your carbon footprint: clean energy sources! Utilizing solar power, geothermal energy, or hydroelectric power can not only cost you less, but helps contribute to reducing the effects of global warming and removing fossil fuels from your home!
So for a proper energy-efficient home design, we will walk through each area and item of your home, and describe what we believe should be inspected and thoroughly looked over, starting with your windows.
Ensuring your windows, whether old or new, are energy efficient is extremely important. Many homeowners don’t realize that massive amounts of cold and hot air constantly are coming through your window via temperature transfer. If you notice small drafts of air, or see that your windows are old or starting to warp around the edges, it’s more than likely time for you to put in your budget to replace them with excellent, energy-saving replacement windows. For smaller budgets, there are also a variety of ways to help with insulating windows without a complete replacement, such as:
- Weather Stripping
- Storm Windows
- Gap Sealer
- Plastic Insulation Sheets
- Thick, Heavy Window Drapings & Covers
In general, if you already have windows installed in your home, and aren’t planning on going through an entire renovation or window replacement process already, it is, in the majority of cases, more budget-friendly and way more affordable to go with other ways such as weather stripping. However, if you do go through with energy-efficient windows with great ratings, you will definitely see the results pay off in your utility bills through the years to come.
Walls, Attics, & Basement/Crawl Space Insulation
Ensuring that your walls, attics, and other areas within your home such as the basement and/or crawl space are properly insulated is more than likely the next step to properly ensuring your home is energy efficient and cost-effective. Basically, having proper insulation within your walls, attics, basements, and crawl spaces will help to do two things: reduce the flow of heat that is coming out of your house in the winter season, and helps to keep out heat that may be coming into your home during the summer season. Having energy-efficient insulation can greatly improve your comfort and save your home a lot of energy over time.
If you have an unfinished attic/basement/crawlspace or other room in your home, it’s important to get it properly insulated. Whether you want to use blown-in insulation in your walls and attics, or some other type of insulation that is more costly but higher-quality, it pays off in the long run.
What’s more important than the materials and products you decide to use is the installers that you choose to go with. A certified, professional window installer can be the difference between a horrible job with an expensive, high-quality window that still lets in air, or an excellent job with a budget window that is perfectly sealed and allows no air-flow. More often than not, home renovation companies utilize infrared technology while insulating to check for any gaps in the walls.
This is my last tip, but also just as important. This is a very minor, often overlooked thing that the majority of homeowners can incorporate TODAY. Replacing your old, outdated incandescent lightbulbs with CFLs (compact fluorescent lamps), can truly pay off over the years. While it may cost you some out of pocket money initially to purchase the lightbulbs, they will pay for themselves as the time goes by. It is also important to change out your most used light bulbs first, as they will be the ones sucking up the most energy.
In conclusion, it’s important to take steps, whether during a new home construction or an upgrade to an existing one, to take into account your energy-efficiency and cost-effective measures that are available to you. Whether you decide to have an official energy inspector come out and help you plan and strategize, or just research online and do it all yourself, get out there and get it done!