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Adding Energy Efficiency to your Remodel
The ground is thawing, the sun is shining and homeowners' thoughts are turning to remodeling. It's Spring -- the most popular time to start a remodeling project. In celebration of the National Association of Home Builder's National Home Remodeling Month, PATH is encouraging homeowners and building professionals to use the Energy Efficient Rehab Advisor to get more from your remodel: more comfort, more quality, and more savings.
[IMAGE: Home Renovatation] With four quick clicks, PATH's Energy Efficient Rehab Advisor provides tailored advice for integrating cost-effective energy efficiency measures into a remodeling project. The Rehab Advisor illustrates how energy efficiency measures can pay for themselves through savings on utility bills. It shows the added cost of the energy-efficient upgrade, the resulting energy savings, and the payback period for each suggestion.
Below are sample improvements suggested by the Rehab Advisor for finishing a basement and renovating a bathroom. (The Rehab Advisor makes different recommendations for different climates. The locations used in the examples below, the Central and Northeastern United States, are two of six climates to choose from, and are arbitrarily chosen as examples.) Try the Rehab Advisor for your own climate and house.
Renovating the basement can add living space to the home. Creating a healthy environment involves energy efficiency measures as well as keeping out moisture to avoid mold.
Climate: Central United States
|Insulate Walls - Insulate all exterior walls to at least R-11.||$138||$132/yr||1 year|
|Seal Air Leaks - Have a professional seal your home's air leaks. Typically, this reduces air leakage by 25%.||$200||$152/yr||1.3 years|
|Seal Duct Leaks - Have your ducts professionally sealed to reduce leakage to the ENERGY STAR specification of no more than 10%.||$160||$108/yr||1.5 years|
|Clothes Washer - Replace an old clothes washer with an ENERGY STAR model. It uses 50% less energy than standard washers and saves about 8,600 gallons of water per year for the average household.||$300||$55/yr||5.5 years|
The outside walls behind tubs or showers are often poorly insulated and air-sealed. Opening these walls as part of the remodeling project provides an opportunity to seal air leaks with caulk or expanding foam, and install insulation. Also, make sure to air seal around plumbing and electrical penetrations, especially recessed lighting. Provide for adequate ventilation in the bathroom, and make sure the vent fan discharges to the outdoors.
Climate: Northeastern United States
|Insulate Walls - Insulate all exterior walls to at least R-11.||$20||$8/yr||2.6 years|
|Insulate Floors - Insulate floors above unconditioned spaces to a minimum of R-11.||$17||$7/yr||2.6 years|
|Seal Air Leaks - Have a professional seal your home's air leaks. Typically, this reduces air leakage by 25%.||$500||$175/yr||2.9 years|
Low Flow Fixtures - Energy and money aren't the only thing you can save when remodeling your bathroom. When installing new showerheads, faucets or a new toilet, consider choosing low-flow models to save a significant amount of water too.
The Plumbing Tech Set provides a list of technologies for affordable, resource-efficient plumbing that is applicable to renovations, in particular air admittance valves and home run plumbing.
This data reflects the incremental cost, including both labor and materials, and savings produced by installing the recommended energy-efficient measure on a typical 2,000 square foot house built in the 1960s, compared with the minimum required by the International Energy Conservation Code or Federal Regulations.
For more recommendations on projects, including adding a room, finishing the attic, renovating the kitchen, updating the plumbing, upgrading the heating and cooling system, wiring, windows, wall, floor or exterior, visit the Energy Efficient Rehab Advisor.
Content updated on 5/2/2005
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