Is this the year that you will be renovating or updating your home? Even if you love your home as it is, there’s always room for some updates and refreshers. Over time, paint gets nicked and dirty from city soot and grime, and styles change and evolve. We have been cooped up 24/7 in our apartments working from home for almost 2 years, which has created an increase in wear and tear.
At the same time, there have been some amazing technological advances in the energy efficiency space, so why not incorporate those in your next renovation?
Energy efficiency creates some very substantial long-term savings; maybe not enough for that retirement home on the beach that you have been dreaming about, but who would say “no” to more money in their pocket at the end of every month? Making your home energy efficient is also good for the environment. For those who live in a co-op or condo, making your apartment energy efficient will also help improving that D that is posted at the building’s entrance. Read more about that here.
Making your home energy efficient and reducing your carbon output will also make you a hero to many and may inspire others to do the same!
TOP 5 TIPS FOR AN ENERGY EFFICIENT HOME RENOVATION
Replace undercabinet lights, puck lights, and recessed fixtures with the most recent technology. If you installed these when you moved in 20 years ago, the upgrade would greatly reduce your carbon output and electric charges. If you replaced these 5 years ago, the LED advances in the last few years have been so significant that it would still have a substantial impact both on the environment and in your wallet.
2. LIGHT BULBS
Replace light bulbs in all decorative lights with LED bulbs. Common resistance is that they are cold and give light as if it was a hospital. This is no longer true. LED technology has come a long way and nowadays they give light very similar to incandescent bulbs, although the best way to select the desired LED color temperature is to test it. The warm temperatures are in the 2700K to 3500K range. The higher numbers, the cooler the color temperature. So, what many refer to as hospital-bright is probably over 5000K. Our recommendation is to look for 3000k bulbs which are best for residential use.
3. AIR CONDITIONERS
ACs are one of the worst energy suckers. Upgrade your ACs with EnergyStar Approved units. Have it professionally installed with adequate insulation and sealants. This will prevent leakage of air in the undesirable temperature both in the summer and in the winter. Instead of cranking the AC up, consider a ceiling fan if you like that look, or a portable fan as they use much less energy than ACs do. If your board allows you to install a heat pump for your unit, we highly recommend it!
Kitchen appliances and laundry machines also use a lot of energy. We are seeing more and more boards requiring all sellers to upgrade their appliances with EnergyStar approved appliances before the board approves the sale. This is done through The Folson Group’s proprietary policy that they offer to all their clients.
The largest drain of water comes from toilets, showers, and tubs. While the standard toilet tank used 3.5 gallons per flush in the 1990s, there are now toilets with tanks that are 0.8 GPF. These advanced toilets are also vacuum assist and do not have a flapper. According to the EPA, 6% of all water use is caused by leaks and much of that is caused by an old flapper!
If you live in a single-family home, as opposed to a co-op or condo, the options are even wider. Some of the additional single-family home Energy Efficiency options include:
Hot Water System
Heating / Cooling
We hope you found these tips useful and will help you make your home more energy efficient, save the planet, and maybe help you get that beach home!
If you are on your co-op or condo board, feel free to reach out to The Folson Group directly as they always want to hear what boards and buildings are working on.
Tina Larsson is a financial consultant and efficiency expert for co-op and condo boards as well as building owners. Her firm, The Folson Group, has built proprietary benchmarks, including data of operating costs and project costs for over 200 buildings. They have successfully saved buildings hundreds of thousands of dollars; including buildings with no maintenance increases for 7 years.