Retrofitting: A Short Guide To Renovating An Older Home For Energy Efficiency
Technology has come a long way over the years, and some of the biggest improvements have been in terms of energy efficiency. Today’s modern building materials and technology have resulted in new homes that are far more energy efficient than those built even a decade or two ago. Luckily, there are many ways that you can still take advantage of these technological advancements without having to resort to buying a new home. Renovating your home is a great way to improve its efficiency and lower your energy bills, and as such, it’s definitely something every homeowner should strongly consider.
The Importance of a Home Energy Audit
The very first step towards improving your home’s energy efficiency through a renovation is to perform a home energy audit. Through a home energy audit, you can learn more about your home’s energy usage and also identify any areas or improvements that can be made to make the home more efficient.
Each and every home is different, which means that not every home will need to undergo the same renovations or improvements. For this reason, a home energy audit is key as it will ensure that you put your time and energy into making those improvements that are actually necessary instead of wasting your money on things that won’t have much of a difference. At the same time, you will also want to make sure that you learn more about the renovation process ahead of time from resources like Rules of Renovation to keep yourself from making mistakes or wasting your time and money.
One of the best ways to boost a home’s energy efficiency is to ensure that it is properly insulated. Homes that were built a few decades ago generally don’t have the recommended amount of insulation in the walls, floors, ceilings, crawlspace, and basement. Adding insulation to an existing home can dramatically improve its efficiency.
For this reason, it is highly recommended that one of the very first things you do is to make sure that your home meets the recommended insulation levels in order to better prevent heat loss and gain.
Installing New Energy-Efficient Windows, Doors and Skylights
Older windows, doors, and skylights tend to be far less energy efficient than newer products. Installing new Energy Star-certified windows and doors can instantly lower your energy bills and your environmental impact by as much as 12%, making this one of the easiest ways to dramatically improve your home’s energy efficiency.
Improved Air Sealing
Even if your home is already outfitted with energy-efficient windows and doors, you still need to ensure that these are properly sealed to prevent air leaks. Air sealing is incredibly important for overall energy efficiency, as any air leaks will result in heat loss or gain and can thus raise your energy bills. Making sure to seal and caulk around doors, windows and other openings is vital, and you’ll also want to periodically replace the weather-stripping around windows and doors to ensure a tight seal.
Roof Repairs or Replacement
The roof is an essential part of a building’s ‘envelope,’ which helps to keep the building fully sealed and prevent leaks. Even minor roof damage can have a major impact on lowering a building’s energy efficiency, which means you’ll want to ensure that your roof is in good condition. If your roof is more than a decade or two old, you might want to consider having it fully replaced in order to make sure it is properly sealed and take advantage of more energy-efficient roofing materials.
Heating, Cooling, and Hot Water Systems
Your HVAC system and hot water heater are some of the home’s biggest energy users. Although it may not always make sense to replace your air conditioner, central heating or water heater with a newer, more efficient model, you will at least want to make sure that everything is functioning properly. Replacing or repairing your ductwork is one option for quickly boosting your home’s efficiency, which means it is definitely something you’ll want to consider when performing any renovations.
Nothing says that you have to focus on energy efficiency, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with keeping your home exactly the way it is. Of course, the fact is that older homes tend to be far less efficient and thus use far more energy. In this sense, retrofitting your home to make it more efficient can be one of the smartest financial decision you can make. Although you will have to invest some money to improve your home’s efficiency, these renovations will still pay off and could very well end up saving you money in the long run.
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