There is no question that energy efficiency is one of the most important issues society faces in 2022. As such, homeowners are continuously looking for ways to curb their consumption and reduce the carbon footprint coming from their homes.
And while the lighter utility bills and altruistic investment in the future of the planet are valuable in and of themselves, there is yet another reason to remodel for energy efficiency: buyers are willing to pay roughly 2.7% more for homes that have high energy efficiency ratings.
With this in mind, the following breakdown looks at 7 home renovation ideas for improving energy efficiency.
One of the most stylish, yet energy efficient, building materials on the market is slate roofing. Thanks to its outstanding insulative properties, slate can reduce heating and cooling costs by roughly 10% over traditional asphalt shingles.
In addition, slate is one of the most durable roofing materials. It will last over 100 years in most cases, helping reduce energy consumption due to upkeep, maintenance, and replacement efforts.
If there is a downside to slate, it is that it tends to be out of some homeowners’ price ranges. However, there are many innovative composite slate options fabricated from plastic, rubber, and other synthetic blends that mimic the appearance of slate and provide all of the same energy efficiency benefits at a more palatable price point.
Radiant Floor Heating
Homes looking to control the cost of heating are increasingly exploring the benefits of radiant floor heating systems.
This subfloor heating infrastructure uses a series of electric wires or mats to slowly release heat up through the floor in a stove-like fashion during the day, providing a more consistent heating experience and eliminating cold pockets from a room.
While typical boilers and radiators have to be heated to as much as 165 degrees to pump enough warm air to heat a room, a radiant floor system only needs to get to around 84 degrees to have a similar heating effect.
Because of this, radiant floor heating systems help some homeowners reduce their heating bill by as much as 15%.
Fiber Cement Siding
Although the total fiber cement siding cost may be initially higher than vinyl shingles or wood lap planks, its superior durability makes it well worth the investment. As fiber cement siding will last well over 50 years, the lifetime cost of ownership eventually becomes lower than those products that must be regularly treated or replaced.
Like slate roofing, this outstanding durability lends itself to energy efficiency. Homeowners will consume fewer resources maintaining fiber cement siding, as its inorganic fabrication allows it to maintain a pristine appearance for years with little intervention required. It is also extremely resistant to cracks or leaks, helping keep the building airtight and utility consumption under control.
Air and Vapor Barrier
Air barriers are systems of materials designed to control the flow of air from a conditioned space to an unconditioned space. House wrap is a common air barrier used in many homes. Some estimates suggest that when combined with a quality insulation, house wrap can reduce HVAC consumption by as much as 20%.
A vapor barrier is another type of building envelope protection that can also curb utility consumption in a home. It often gets confused with air barriers because the best air barriers will also keep out moisture. However, the subtle difference between the two is that a vapor barrier is always installed on the warm side of the insulation and prevents moisture from moving through a material. Unlike air barriers, vapor barriers do not have to be continuous throughout the entire building envelope.
Adding Large Windows
As roughly 30% of heating and cooling loss comes through the windows, it is critical that an upgrade be made to improve energy efficiency. Some features of the most energy efficient windows include:
- Professionally installed and sealed to prevent micro air leaks that compound over time
- Larger glass area to allow more natural light flow and reduce the need for artificial light consumption
- Multi-paned to provide optimal insulation
- Treated with a low-e coating to keep warm air in during the winter and sun rays out during the summer
Adding Solar Panels
Despite becoming more stylish and affordable, there is still less than 10% of all U.S. homes powered by solar energy. Expect that trend to change soon, as most estimates indicate that homes with solar panels generate roughly 90% of their monthly energy consumption via renewable energy, making solar panels arguably the most straightforward renovation for quickly improving a home’s energy efficiency.
Using Energy Efficient Home Fixtures
A fixture is any addition to the home that is permanently attached via glue, screws, bolts, etc. While some fixtures can cause energy consumption to increase, there are numerous options that can make the home more energy efficient. Some examples include:
- Electric fireplaces that reduce reliance on the HVAC system through a zone heating approach
- LED lamps and chandeliers
- Window treatments, such as curtains, shades, or blinds, to better control sun transmission
Increase Energy Efficiency With These Trendy Renovations
There are many benefits to adding energy efficient features to a home. Doing your part to fight climate change, lower utility bills, and higher resale value are just a few of the most pertinent. To capitalize on the many benefits of an energy efficient home, consider slate roofing, radiant floor heating, fiber cement siding, air and vapor barriers, large windows, solar panels, and energy efficient fixtures as 7 renovation ideas to get you started on the path to energy efficiency today!