How to Use Green Building Practices When Renovating Your Home
Making home improvements can allow you to have a house that better suits your family’s needs and lifestyle. It can also be an opportunity to make your house more energy efficient and to reduce your energy consumption and utility bills. The specific steps you take will depend on the nature and scope of your renovation plans. Here are some ideas to discuss with your contractor.
Reduce Air Transfer
If you’re planning to install new windows in your home, look for ones that are energy efficient and constructed with two or three panes of glass to prevent air leakage. Low-e windows have a protective layer that can block out UV rays and reduce the amount of sunlight that enters a house, which can keep it cooler in the summer. Choose windows with well-built frames and have them professionally installed.
Cracks and gaps around windows, doors, skylights, pipes and electrical wires can lead to air leakage and drafts. That can allow cold air to get inside the house and warm air to escape during the winter. In the summer, hot air can get in and cooled air can escape. Air transfer can lead to high utility bills throughout the year as the furnace or air conditioner struggles to reach and maintain a comfortable temperature. Having a contractor seal cracks and gaps may lower your utility bills immediately.
Insulation can reduce air transfer and help you control the temperature in your home. If you’re going to have contractors build an addition, replace siding, or perform other types of improvements, discuss where to add insulation and which type to use to make your house more energy efficient.
Choose an Appropriate HVAC System
HVAC equipment is designed to work in houses of various sizes. It’s important to select a system that’s right for your home so it can operate efficiently and help you avoid problems.
Energy-efficient furnaces and water heaters can reduce your energy usage and lower your monthly utility bills. A geothermal heat pump, solar water heater, or on-demand water heater may also save you money.
Get a Home Energy Audit
If you’re not sure what steps to take to make your house more energy efficient, a home energy audit can provide you with valuable insight. A professional can inspect your house and appliances to figure out where you’re wasting energy.
You can share the results of the energy audit with your contractor and discuss ways to address those issues while handling renovations. Some changes, such as adding insulation, will be easy if a contractor is planning to remove walls anyway to make upgrades.