If you have plans to remodel soon, it is a good time to consider changes to your home to make it more energy-efficient. New homes are some of the most energy-efficient living spaces ever. According to U.S. News, the total number of households has increased, while the average energy use has decreased slightly. One factor explaining this is the energy-saving construction techniques used on new homes.
These techniques are also available to you during a remodeling project. Make use of them to reduce your home’s energy consumption, then shop for a less expensive energy source on an electric comparison site such as Electric.com, and watch your utility bill go down.
Observe how the sun hits your house. Take advantage of the natural light coming in your windows but not the heat, which raises your cooling bill.
Creative landscaping can help. Trees or trellises can block direct sun on windows that heat up the interior of the house. Shade helps keep the house cooler while still allowing natural light to enter. If you have an outside central air unit, keep it cool by planting shrubs around it to provide some shade.
Window awnings can provide protection from the direct sunlight. They also shield the windows from severe weather. Window shutters are also an option. Both awnings and shutters come in a variety of styles to add character to the house while keeping it cool.
If windows need to be replaced, consider triple-glazed wood windows. They are made with three sheets of glass to provide maximum insulation from air leaks. They are also quieter than the double-glazed windows.
Wood is preferred over aluminum because it is less likely to leak air around the frame. If the interior windows are in good shape, install storm windows. They will give you a better seal from drafts and are quieter. They are much less expensive than a complete window replacement.
Any hollow core doors, both outside and in, should be replaced with solid wood doors. Hollow core doors are drafty and tend to warp over time. When replacing any exterior doors, rebuild or replace the frame to minimize air leaks. Use weather stripping around the door for a tight seal when closed.
Inside the House
Seal up all air leaks inside of the house. Remove the molding around doors and windows, and caulk well around the frames. Several tubes of caulk can save you money on your electric bill. Replace warped doors,and use weather stripping around each one.
Check the depth of insulation in your attic above the ceiling. Make sure you have the right amount of insulation for your location. Check under the insulation for a vapor barrier. If it is missing, or if it’s just tar paper, consider installing an efficient vapor barrier. This will help control humidity in the house, and you won’t have to heat it as much to make the house comfortable.
Fix or replace HVAC ductwork if there are any leaks. Install a programmable thermostat so you have better control over your heating and cooling. If your system is older than 20 years, consider replacing it with a new energy-efficient model. An Energy Star-rated HVAC system could save you 15 percent on your heating and cooling bills.
Get the Credit You Deserve
You can apply for tax credits for energy-efficient home remodeling. If you purchase Energy Star appliances or an HVAC system, you can get additional credit. Energy Star notes these credits can total 10 to 30 percent of your materials and equipment purchase.
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