5 Home-Energy Retrofitting Tips

by Editor on September 20, 2013

Budgeting

There are plenty of reasons why modern homeowners might want to reduce energy consumption in the home. For one thing, there is the state of the environment to consider. Every time you draw power from the grid you are contributing to pollution and waste. Even though many power providers are starting to add wind, water, and solar power to the works, still the lion’s share of the energy that reaches your home comes from far less sustainable sources. Of course, you’ll also appreciate the savings on your utility bills that result from your conservation efforts. But your reasons for wanting to conserve energy won’t necessarily help you when it comes to figuring out how to enact strategies to achieve the conservation you crave. As it happens, though, there are many ways to go about retrofitting your home, such as upgrading lighting and appliances to energy-efficient models or adding alternative energy. Here are just a few tips to set you on the right path for your retrofit.

  1. Set a budget. The place to start with any kind of home upgrade is by setting a budget for your project. You could certainly spend all kinds of money on retrofitting your home to be more energy efficient, but you need to think about what you stand to get out of the process. If you’re all about green living, regardless of cost, then you might be willing to drop a lot of cash on energy-related upgrades with no thought to the return on investment. But as a financially responsible adult you at least need to consider how your spending affects your overall budget and your investment in your home. So take the time to create an upper limit for cost on your project.
  2. Do your homework. There are so many different ways to retrofit your home for energy savings that you might not know where to start. For this reason, the best place to begin is with some research to determine what your options are. From there you can start to narrow down the list to those projects that you find most appealing and suitable for your home.
  3. Consider cost versus savings. Once you have settled on some energy retrofits that you feel have potential, it’s time to think about how they fit into your budgetary constraints and what sort of value they might deliver in terms of energy savings, monetary saving, and return on investment. For example, adding solar panels to your home could cost you $25,000+ up front (unless you finance), but you won’t have any electric bills after the fact (supposing you live in a predominantly sunny climate) and the addition to your home will certainly deliver extra value upon resale. Replacing all your light bulbs with energy-saving CFLs, on the other hand, will come with only a minor expense, save on electrical draw and replacement costs (since they use only a third of the energy and last ten times as long), and deliver no discernible value for your home overall.
  4. DIY. If you want to save some money on your retrofit, there are certainly tasks you can tackle on your own, such as adding weather stripping and sealing around vents and pipes. If you’re a real go-getter you can even find kits to build your own solar panels. This will save you some money while delivering the energy savings you crave.
  5. Call in the pros. Unfortunately, there are some projects that average homeowner should probably turn over to professional technicians. For example, you may be able to build your own solar panels, but installing them and hooking them up to your existing infrastructure is another story. And while air sealing a home is something you might be able to do thanks to online tutorials, you should still hire a home energy auditor to find out just where leaks are occurring. However, a combination of DIY and professional help allows you to strike a balance in terms of expenditure and overall savings when you decide to retrofit your home for energy efficiency.
photo by: 401(K) 2013

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