It’s expensive to build a residential structure from scratch, especially a custom home that qualifies in most people’s eyes as a “dream home.” Add the stipulation that the place must be constructed to conserve energy and use renewable materials, and the cost rises quite a bit.
When your home has suffered significant damage over time due to harsh weather or the mere passing of the years, it’s tempting to want to sell the thing and start over … especially when your home is not very energy efficient. The problem is, you’ll have a difficult time selling such a property when it’s in that condition.
Unless you’ve got significant cash flow and/or liquid assets on hand, having to shell out the funds for a new mortgage will put you further into debt.
If you want an energy-efficient home and don’t have the option of buying a new one, the following renovations will get you closer to your goal. You won’t end up with a mansion, but you will improve your old structure a cozy home that can also boast of a significantly smaller carbon footprint.
Fix broken windows with energy-efficient materials
Drafty windows can be a problem year round. If any glass is broken, that’s a safety hazard, as well. It’s a quick fix to run to the store and buy new materials and install it yourself, but if you want to increase the energy efficiency in your home, you should hire a professional instead.
You’re probably aware that double-paned glass is more effective at maintaining the temperature inside your home because cold air remains largely trapped between the panes. According to Energy Star, vertical slider windows were declared the most efficient type of window for 2018.
The website provides the names of 40 different manufacturers across all different climatic zones that produce certified Energy Star windows. You can view examples of what these windows look like in a PDF file, and there’s a link to an Excel document that lists all certified Energy Star products.
When you’re ready to replace your windows, contact a repair specialist that sells Energy Star-certified products. Ask the company what options its team can offer for your situation.
You should be able get just about any window style to fit your domicile, although it may need to be custom cut.
Repair the floor – wood and tile – with eco-friendly materials
The floor in your home gets abused more than any other surface in the place. No matter what material they’re made of, floors are subject to peeling, cracking, pitting, and most unfortunate of all, water damage.
Many older homes will show visible water damage to the floor. That’s something you’ll need to tackle right away. On the bright side, that’s a perfect opportunity to turn your floor into an eco-friendly surface.
A leaky floor may not seem like a big deal unless you don’t like wet socks. But the reality is fairly serious. Accutech explains that standing water is a dangerous hazard, and it’s imperative for homeowners to tackle water damage restoration as soon as possible.
The walls of your home contain electrical components. Given enough water moving through the structure, your electrical systems could short out, and you could even be electrocuted. Even if that doesn’t happen, mold and mildew can destroy drywall and warp wood.
A water-damaged floor isn’t a good candidate for a DIY project. Call in a professional to find out how you can replace your floor with an energy-efficient design.
It’s vital to know that the material you choose for your floor isn’t what will make it energy-efficient. Most materials aren’t thick enough to prevent heat flow, so nearly all require further insulation.
Although it’s not energy-efficient on its own, flooring material can play a role in heating strategies, especially if you shift to radiant floor heating.
The energy efficiency of any floor — regardless of material — relies on insulation placed directly below the surface, or in the basement/crawlspace walls and floor. Carpet feels warmer than tile because it retains heat, when tile doesn’t.
A well-insulated tile floor won’t feel as cold when you walk on it. When you shop around for flooring options, be sure to ask about potential insulation.
One project at a time
You can select from all kinds of eco-friendly home improvements to bring your structure up to a higher green-living standard. For example, if you redo a rotting deck with composite, you can make it more strong and stable, since composite typically doesn’t warp, crack, splinter, or rot.
Make a list of all the repair projects you want to cover, then prioritize them and address the ones that involve safety risks first. Take it one project at a time so you don’t get overwhelmed, and soon you’ll have a cozy, eco-friendly home.