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;
Windows - 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 upgrade.
Insulation - 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 Conservation - 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 the same
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