Are you considering remodeling? If so, you should know that there are many ways to easily improve the energy efficiency of your home during the renovation process by utilizing innovative new energy-savings products combined with a few smart construction methods and techniques. These home improvements can have significant financial benefits which include lower utility bills and increased resale value, as well added comfort and convenience for you, the homeowner. The savings on your utility bills, along with potential tax credits and other incentives can significantly help offset the cost of your construction project, making home renovation even more attractive.
ENERGY.gov is a useful federal government resource that gives great tips on how to improve the energy efficiency of a home. Another great resource is My Florida Home Energy.
The most important things to think about when striving for optimal energy-efficiency when making major renovations or building a new custom home, include:
- Doors and Windows
- Hot Water Heater
- Smart Home Technology
Additionally, there are federal tax benefits and Florida state incentives that come from installing residential solar energy systems, to consider.
Temperature transfer through the attic of a home accounts for significant energy loss. When it’s cold outside, the idea is to keep the cold from entering the home and thereby reduce heating expense. When it is hot outside, the idea is to keep the cool air inside the home and not have it leak outside, thereby wasting energy.
One improvement project to consider is to make sure that the home does not leak by using proper weather-stripping around the windows and doors. Also, installing proper insulation in the attic which has an R-22 or higher value, may significantly reduce energy loss.
Consider an attic renovation to create more living space or extra storage space, as well as upgrading insulation at the same time.
Doors and Windows
Upgrading old windows and doors with newer ones may result in significant energy-savings. One way to test the loss that is occurring is to conduct a thermal scan of the home, which is done by taking infrared images to show where the leaks are. Your local utilities company may offer such checks or even whole-home energy audits, for free.
Hot Water Heater
To save money, replace any hot water heater that is ten years old or older with a newer system. If water is to be stored in a hot water tank, be sure the tank is insulated correctly. It is even better to use a hot-water-on-demand system that creates hot water as needed. These highly-efficient systems do not have to maintain a large tank of hot water by constant energy use/waste.
The rule of thumb is to replace any appliances that are 10 years old, or older. Use energy efficient appliances that feature good Energy-Star® ratings. Resist the temptation to continue using an old refrigerator after buying a new one, because the energy it uses on a monthly basis may waste far more money than it is worth.
HVAC Climate Zones
The energy cost for running an HVAC system is usually a larger portion of the monthly utility expense. Check the HVAC ductwork of an older system to eliminate leaks. Upgrade to a new HVAC system if the current one is 10 years old, or older.
By using a newer HVAC system, which supports climate zones, there are substantial savings possible. Climate zones are separate portions of the home that are managed independently. When the area of a particular climate zone is not in use, the HVAC system is turned down or off for that area, thereby reducing energy expense. This is a smart investment.
Smart Home Technology
Smart home technology is useful to manage utility usage. Lights can be turned on and off automatically based on daylight for exterior safety lights, or motion sensors in a room. When smart home technology is used to manage the HVAC system, the climate zones are adjusted automatically.
Smart home technology allows remote access to turn things on and off when the homeowner is away. Some, appliances, such as the clothes washer and dryer, can be activated in the nighttime when the electrical energy rates are the lowest. This also results in savings.
Federal Tax Credits
The U.S. federal investment tax credit for solar energy systems was extended. The highest benefits are in 2019, which gives a tax credit equal to 30% of the cost of a residential solar energy system. This decreases in 2020 to 26%. In 2021, it is 22% and from 2022 onwards it is only 10%.
If you are thinking about a solar energy system, now is the best time to install one in order to receive the largest tax credit.
Florida has what is called, net-metering. Under a net-metering system, power created by a home-based solar energy system, which is not used by the home, can be uploaded (sold) to the electrical grid. This reduces the total power usage of the home. This is a terrific way to lower your monthly utility bills with the goal to reduce the electrical bill to zero. There is also an exemption for the value of a solar energy system when it comes to the calculation of property taxes for your home.
Follow these tips to improve the energy efficiency of your home. Contact Envision Custom Homes to get a quote and make plans for your cost-efficient renovations or to build a new energy-efficient smart home.