Spring is prime season for remodeling, upgrading and repairing your home. If you’re planning a remodeling project this season, make a point of adding energy-efficient features along the way.
Here’s a Top 10 list:
- Add insulation around recessed lights so no heated or air-conditioned air can leak out of them and the outdoor weather can’t sneak in.
- If you’re replacing your water heater, consider a heat pump water heater. You can also save energy by setting the temperature at 120 degrees.
- Install programmable thermostats when you add rooms to the house. While you’re at it, have the thermostats in the rest of the home upgraded to programmable models. (Please check the manufacturer’s book or ask your HVAC expert as wide swings in settings for heat pumps are not recommended.)
- Your contractor will install more insulation in any new spaces you’re adding than your builder did during the original construction of your home. Consider adding insulation to already-insulated areas, like the basement or crawlspace and attic to match new energy efficiency standards.
- A new kitchen means shiny new appliances. Select those rated as energy efficient by ENERGY STAR, which guarantees that the appliance will use less energy than unrated models.
- If your older home still has single-pane windows, put an upgrade at the top of your remodeling wish list. Double-pane windows are more energy efficient because they shield your home from the outdoor weather—and keep your conditioned air indoors.
- Change the light fixtures in your most-used rooms to LED models. They last 10 years or longer, save considerable energy when compared to regular lightbulbs and you never have to change bulbs.
- Work with a contractor who understands how passive solar design can lower your energy bills. Some popular choices are rooftop solar panels that heat the home’s water; sunroom additions that invite natural heat into the home through windows; and the addition of skylights.
- Add or upgrade ventilation fans in bathrooms. This can improve air quality throughout the home—not just in the bathrooms—by removing moisture from the air.
- Consider having a home energy rating or an energy audit conducted on your home. A professional will evaluate your home for energy-wasters, suggest ways to fix them and recommend additions that will make your house more comfortable and cheaper to heat and cool.