Adding a few simple tasks to your remodeling plan could lower your home’s energy bill, get rid of some of the annoying hot and cold spots in your house, and make your home less hospitable to mold and other allergens.
Carl Seville, author of Green Building: Principles and Practices in Residential Construction, shared some simple, inexpensive ways to make remodels and additions more energy efficient from the standpoint of energy usage and conservation of resources.
Try these eight tips from Seville:
1. Check for water intrusion, condensation, and excess moisture before you begin the project. Fixing those issues during remodeling can improve your home’s indoor air quality (excess moisture encourages mold).
2. Use the least amount of framing allowed by your building code when adding walls. Not only will you have to pay for less lumber and fewer nails, the contractor will have more room to put insulation in your walls, making your home more energy efficient.
3. Resist the urge to splurge on multiple shower heads. Opt for a single low-flow shower head rather than installing a car wash-style plethora of shower heads.
4. If possible, add new HVAC ducts to parts of your home that are heated and cooled rather than placing them in a space with unconditioned air (like the attic). If that’s not possible, insulate the ducts. Have an HVAC diagnostician analyze your system to make sure it’s sized correctly and balanced to properly exchange old and new air.
5. Be sure to insulate around recessed lights that protrude into un-insulated attic spaces — these are major sources of air leaks.
6. If you’re wasting water, you’re wasting energy. Look at high-efficiency or solar water heaters, and insulate your water pipes. If you want hot water faster, move the water heater closer to the faucet or install demand pumps to drive hot water to the fixture.
7. Install wall-mounted efficiency toggle switch plates for the outlets where you plug in your televisions and computers to make it easy to cut off the power to electronics you’re not using.
8. A humidistat that automatically turns on the bathroom fan
when moisture rises beats depending on teenagers or tenants remembering to use the fan. Reducing bathroom moisture reduces the chances you’ll have mold.
In addition to these tips, Tilghman Builders incorporates several other energy efficient practices into their designs. These practices include:
Using low-expanding spray foam to insulate windows.
This type of foam prevents any ocurrance of warping, which may occur with larger expanding foam.
Installing rigid, foil-faced exterior insulation. This type of insulation gives the house a higher "R" value, which increases the home's resistance to extreme climates.
Installing insulation in the flat ceiling of a home between the attic and the top floor. Also, using spray foam in the rafters of the attic for added insulation. These steps help to ensure proper temperature regulation for all levels of the home.