Energy Efficiency: Your To-Do List
By Jeb Breithaupt
Make updating your home’s aging appliances, heating and air conditioning system, windows and insulation a priority when you remodel any part of your home.
As long as you have qualified contractors coming to your home, talk to them about replacing or updating a few of these items while they’re working in your home.
Once the project is finished and you’re enjoying your remodeled home, you should notice an absence of old problems, like cold spots and high energy bills.
- Windows. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates you can save up to 15% on energy bills by replacing your old windows with models bearing the Energy Star seal. Likewise, upgrading your double-pane windows to Energy Star-rated products could potentially save you more than $200 a year.
- Insulation. You can’t see it, but you’ll be able to feel the difference immediately after you replace or repair the insulation in your attic. Some homes have inadequate insulation or none at all. Over the years, it can detach from the surfaces it’s supposed to protect and allow cold or hot outdoor air to sneak into your house, and also makes your heating and air conditioning system work overtime to compensate for the air leaks, making your energy bill substantially higher.
- Heating and air conditioning system. A qualified HVAC professional can determine the age of your system, whether it needs to be cleaned or repaired, and what its energy-efficiency rating is. If your system is more than 15 years old, it is likely to work far less efficiently than newer, high-efficiency models. Replace your heating and air conditioning systems at the same time so they can work efficiently together.
- Kitchen appliances. An energy-inefficient refrigerator can account for up to 20 percent of your energy bill—and new ones use about half of the energy than models that are 12 years old and over. New appliances don’t use electricity the way older models do because federal standards have forced manufacturers to make them more efficient. Newer appliances also come with all kinds of bells and whistles that not only help you save energy, but add little conveniences and allow the units to operate quieter and quicker, and clean better.
- Patio doors. Your sliding-glass patio door invites outdoor air to leak inside through the weather-stripping that surrounds it, which deteriorates with age. Consider replacing your sliding-glass door with swinging doors, which tend to have a tighter seal and are more energy efficient.
Jeb Breithaupt, B. Arch.,MBA, has been president of JEB Design/Build in Shreveport since 1983.
Want to remodel but not sure where to start? At JEB Design/Build we’ve seen it all. Start setting goals by calling Mari at 318-865-4914, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.