Incrementally Improving Your Home's Energy Efficiency
When Modernize offered to share a guest post with doable inspiration for making your existing home more energy efficient, I welcomed them into our line-up. We’re in the middle of a renovation right now ourselves! Most of us are resource constrained when it comes to greening our homes. Sometimes it feels overwhelming, especially if you’re dealing with plenty of room for improvement – like us! On our most recent relocation, we bought a character century home. We’re working slowly through renovations. Tough work! I look forward to sharing some of our successes and pitfalls.
Improving Energy Efficiency in Your Current Home
Guest Post and Feature Image (Above) Provided by Modernize
Your older home is alive with charm, history, and memories. On the flip side, modern homes can be more environmentally friendly and full of contemporary comforts. To get the best of both worlds, we at Modernize encourage you to get the most out of your deeply rooted abode with energy efficient upgrades that don’t compromise your home’s personality.
What Do You Already Have?
Like modern structures, old edifices were meticulously thought out before construction. It was known that heavy masonry walls had a high thermal inertia—meaning that the heat from outside would slowly transfer through the wall—so the interior wasn’t heated until the cooler evening. On cool days, these walls tended to keep temperatures level. Now, we can regulate our indoor temperature more accurately and comfortably.
In order to figure out how and where air is leaking out of your home or where unwanted heat is coming in, you can request an energy audit. This can be completed by a professional service, and sometimes, local energy companies will offer them for free. These audits involve inspecting all areas of the home and reviewing past energy billing history to determine where the problem areas reside.
Start with the Little Things
Before undergoing major changes, try some money- and time-saving techniques. Add heavy rugs and thicker curtains to keep rooms warmer, and for cooling, use fans instead of turning the temperature down in the entire house. It’s also practical to become comfortable with a 1-2 degree temperature change, so you don’t need to pump air through your home all the time.
Swapping your lights to LEDs is another accessible adjustment. LEDs are known to use at least 75% less energy and last 25 times longer than incandescent bulbs. LEDs look fantastic, especially when used as recessed down-lighting in the kitchen, and they produce very little heat.
We look at heating and cooling, lighting, and appliances in detail in follow-on posts in this mini-series. Check out the links at the end of this post for more.
Fix the Holes
When a home has several stories, air will rise from lower levels and out any cracks in the upper areas. This is referred to as the “stack effect,” and it can facilitate damaging moisture as well as disrupt the air quality. Installing storm doors and windows can greatly reduce all of the heating/cooling from escaping through single-paned windows. By adding weatherstripping, spray foam sealants, and insulation in basements and attics, you can significantly retain your desired temperature.
Make a Bigger Change
If you’re looking for a substantial step toward the future, mounting solar panels could be a leap in the right direction. Panels are installed on roofs or even in the yard. Many cities offer incentives for installing solar panels, and people often find an increased awareness of energy use when going solar. If you want to start smaller, adding solar collectors for heating water is another option to introduce alternative energy to your home.
Plan Your First Step
Researching your home’s history and acquiring an energy audit can add insight into changes you can make to become more energy efficient. Whether you choose a large change or a combination of smaller alterations, your home will transform into a more comfortable space for you and the environment.
About the Guest Author
This guest post was prepared for our readers by the team at Modernize. Modernize is an on-line home improvement resource and education hub with a strong sustainability focus. They provide educational content to inspire ideas and connections to a network of industry-leading contractors.
Our current feature topic is greener choices around the home. This month’s posts explore home energy efficiency, with a focus on doable changes for real life improvements in your existing home and budget. Check out the full mini-series: