Energy conservation, high performance homes, and sustainable
products are not a major concern for homeowners in the Hampton Roads area. Most
believe the cost far outweighs the return for these items. That belief could
not be further from the truth. There are simple things that can be done around
your existing house to improve your home’s efficiency and help sustain the
environment. By implementing these features, a homeowner will save money and
have a healthier and more comfortable home.
Energy efficient upgrades that can easily be done include;
High-Performance windows with protective coatings and improved frame
assemblies, also known as thermal or Low-E, allow in light but resist a
temperature transfer. An annual savings of $126 - $465 can be seen when
replacing single pane windows. This is an easy retrofit when it is time for an
Insulation should be installed in the floors, walls, and attics. Most standard
built homes have fiberglass insulation in these areas. Over time the fiberglass
will sag and will no longer be effective. Remove the fiberglass and use spray
foam insulation to seal cracks and holes then replace the old insulation with
new fiberglass or rigid foam insulation, which has the highest R-value and can
be used more effectively than fiberglass. Fiberglass and blown-in insulation
will need to be replaced or added to over time to maintain the efficiency.
HVAC/Energy - All
of the new heat pumps are more energy efficient than the prior models. They are
quieter, can reduce humidity which improves comfort, and require less maintenance.
Upgrading your heat pump when necessary will show an immediate energy savings.
Sealing cracks and holes in the ‘envelope’ of the home and in the duct system,
it will reduce drafts, moisture, dust, pollen, and noise. In a typical home,
about 20% of air is lost in the duct system. Tightly sealed and properly
insulated ducts can save a homeowner $120+/year.
- Water savings can be found by using low flow toilets and faucets. These
fixtures use approximately half the water as standard fixtures and costs about
Air Quality - Good
air quality is a big factor in homes and one that goes unnoticed most times.
Many people suffer from allergies and sinus issues. Have you ever thought that
it was because of your home?
If you are not sure where to start or would like to know how
efficient your home currently is, get a home energy audit. The audit will show
how much energy your home consumes and will tell you what you can do to improve
the efficiency. There are several companies in this area that do energy audits.
To learn more about the audits, go to www.energy.gov/articles/energy-saver-101-infographic-home-energy-audits.