Keep the Heat In: 4 Eco-Efficient Home Renovation Projects
In 2020, the demand, or at least the interest for home renovation professionals, soared in the US. For example, the demand for fence repairs and installations rose by 166%. Project leads for home additions and extensions also went up by more than 50% compared to 2019.
Some experts predict these residential projects to continue throughout 2021. However, many homeowners would likely focus on eco-efficient home renovation projects. After all, two-thirds of surveyed adults in the US said that the pandemic gave them an “eco wake-up call.”
If you’re one of these homeowners who want to green up and warm up your home, we have some great suggestions. Read on as we listed some of the best eco-friendly home renovation ideas to help you cut your heating bills.
1. Replace Old and Defective Windows With Energy Star Products
Energy Star-certified windows can help cut energy bills by an average of 12%. Replacing single-pane windows with Energy Star windows can save you $101 to $583 a year. What’s more, they cut your home’s carbon footprint by thousands of pounds.
Energy Star only approves specific windows, though, as the agency has stringent requirements. Some of these include Marvin windows, Kolbe windows, and Champion windows. They satisfy Energy Star ratings, like U-factor and Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC).
U-factor, also called U-value, is a gauge of a window’s insulating ability. It measures the amount of heat flow a window can resist. You’ll see this expressed in numbers, usually ranging from 0.15 to 1.3.
The lower a window’s U-factor rating is, the more powerful it is in resisting heat loss. This translates to the window keeping more of your heat indoors, as it blocks warm air from escaping. That makes them a powerful ally in the winter, as you get to enjoy more of your heater’s warm air.
SHGC, in turn, is a measurement of a window’s solar radiation transmission. It also takes into account how much solar heat a window absorbs and transfers indoors. You’ll also see these expressed in numbers ranging from 0 to 1.
The higher the SHGC, the more heat the windows absorb and ultimately release indoors. This makes them ideal as south-facing windows, as they let in more natural heat in the winter. However, be sure the windows still have low U-value ratings.
2. Keep the Heat In While Taking Advantage of Solar Light
Replacing all the windows in your home can cost you thousands of dollars. If some of your windows are still in good structural condition, it’s best to keep them in place. You can then apply high-quality Low-Emissivity (Low-E) films on these windows.
Low-E window films provide temperature control in two ways. First, they keep indoor heat inside your home by reflecting and dispersing the heat back into a room. Second, they act as an extra layer of barrier against the harsh cold outdoor air.
As such, Low-E window films can help retain as much of the warm air your heater produces inside your home. This helps keep your home as warm as possible without making your bills jump through the roof.
What’s more, window films provide you natural access to light. Since winter tends to be dark and gloomy, people tend to rely more on artificial lights. So, in a way, window films can help you cut back on your lighting bills, too.
3. Get New Insulation and Fix Air Leaks
Poor insulation and air leaks allow as much as 20% of heating and cooling energy to leave your home.
In the winter, poor insulation (or no insulation at all) allows cold air to permeate your home. It also allows heated indoor air to seep through the walls and flow outdoors. Air leaks, in turn, allow precious heated air to escape through cracks and gaps.
As if that’s not bad enough, poor insulation and air leaks can make your heater work harder. For starters, it will take longer for warm air to bring your indoor temperature to your desired level. So long as the temp doesn’t meet the thermostat’s settings, it will force the heater to run longer cycles.
The more extra work you place on your heating system, the more energy it consumes. Moreover, all that excess work can speed up your heater’s deterioration. So, not only will you end up with higher heating bills, but you may also have to replace your heater earlier.
For those reasons, your home renovation project should include replacing worn insulation. Be sure to get your home tested for air leakage, too, which often occurs in doors and windows. You can then apply window caulking and install door weather-strippers.
4. Harvest and Harness the Sun’s Energy
Burning fossil fuels for electricity production generate greenhouse gases (GHGs). This practice accounts for 25% of the GHG emissions in the United States. Unfortunately, GHGs are the chief contributors to global warming, which destroys many ecosystems.
What’s more, the combustion process itself produces air contaminants and pollutants. Add this to GHGs emitted by burning fossil fuels, and you can see just how unhealthy this practice is.
For that reason, going solar is one of the best ways to create an environmentally friendly home. A solar panel system will collect and convert sunlight into energy you can use to power and heat your home. Solar is a greener option than fossil fuels, as its use doesn’t involve combustion.
What’s more, installing solar panels can lower your electricity bill, or you can say goodbye to it! So long as your panels harvest enough sunlight, they can provide your home with the energy it needs.
Solar panel installation is also one of the federally-incentivized home renovation projects. Congress has extended the investment tax credit (ITC) of 26% for solar panels until 2022. Systems installed in 2023 would only qualify for a 22% tax credit, though.
Invest In These Eco-Efficient Home Renovation Projects To Keep Your Home Warm
There you have it, the top eco-efficient home renovation projects to warm up and green up your abode. Start with your windows, fix air leaks, and add more or replace old insulation. If you have a bigger budget, be sure to consider going solar, especially since the ITC will expire after 2023.
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