This month is celebrating Earth Day and focuses on being greener at work and home. New homes are being designed to be highly energy efficient and produce a lot less greenhouse gases. In fact, homes built before 1983 can be big energy wasters and produce 70 percent of greenhouse gas emissions related to single-family energy consumption in California.
The first step is to have an energy audit done on your home. Check with your electric company. Many of these companies offer free or discounted home energy audits regardless of income. If not, hire a certified professional home energy auditor. They will conduct tests such as the door blower test to find the energy leaks in your home. You will have a report on the performance of your home and recommended improvements. This report will help you decide how far you want to go with the improvements.
Remember there are sub-systems that make up the whole house system. Some of the improvements need to be done before others. If you are in a humid climate, you can tighten up the house too much and trap the humidity inside which will cause a whole new set of problems.
The basic of remodeling for energy efficiency is weatherizing. Some of these include:
- Inspect and seal the attic. Calk or weather strip around attic entrance door and all vents and pipes that come through the attic floor and/or roof. Seal the attic floor from the rest of the house.
- Check the roof and roof vents for needed repairs.
- If you have a basement, the same steps for the attic need to be done. Seal around heating ducts and cover them and water pipes with insulation. Seal basement windows with weather-stripping and calking
- Check all windows and doors for leakage and use weather-stripping and transparent caulking to seal leaks.
- Tune-up heating, cooling, and/or water systems or replace.
- Replace incandescent bulbs with compact florescent bulbs.
There are other steps beyond weatherizing that can be done. Talk to energy efficiency experts once you have received the report on your home. They can advise you as to repairs that will increase your home’s energy efficiency.
Don’t forget to look at alternative power sources, such as wind and solar. There can be tax breaks and rebates to make it easier to upgrade energy efficiency. There are also home loans available at special rates for these upgrades.
Written by Tayna Vy, 941-955-2224