Easy Ways to Make an Older Home More Energy Efficient

Verani Realty

making house energy efficientHave your heart set on buying an older home, but think it will be impossible to “go green” if you do? Think again. It may require compromise and prioritizing what you want to accomplish, but there are easy ways to make an older home more energy efficient and environmentally friendly.

Greening your home doesn’t have to be a total makeover. Try starting with these basics:

  1. Use energy-saving bulbs in all lighting fixtures. The change can have a huge impact, since switching one incandescent for a compact fluorescent (CFL) bulb prevents the emission of over 400 pounds of greenhouse gases. There are different kinds of CFL bulbs and the light they give off varies, but the Environmental Defense Fund (org) has a helpful online lightbulb guide to help you choose the right size, shape, color, and brightness.

  2. Install low-flow showerheads. They will save 15 to 25 gallons of water per day, depending on how many showers are taken.

  3. Install low-flow toilets and aerators in all your faucets. This reduces how much water you use without you even realizing it.

  4. Regulate temperature with insulation. Save energy on hot water by insulating your hot water tank, or make the switch to a more environmentally-friendly tankless water heater. Tankless water heaters heat only the water that is needed as it is passed through an electric coil. Also make sure your attic is properly insulated to keep the house warmer in winter and cooler in summer.

  5. Replace old appliances with the energy efficient models. Look for the ENERGY STAR label. It means the appliance been deemed energy efficient by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). ENERGY STAR appliances offer significant cost and energy savings without compromising performance.

  6. Make sure windows and outside doors are energy efficient. Air leaks around windows and doors are responsible for much of a home’s heat loss. Replace old windows with ENERGY STAR windows, which are much more energy efficient. There are different ratings for these windows, which determine how energy efficient they will be. The lower the rating, the more energy efficient they area. When selecting doors for energy efficiency, look at their energy performance ratingsin relation to the local climate and your home's design. This will help narrow your selection.

  7. Use renewable materials when you renovate. Use products such as reclaimed lumber or natural products such as bamboo, cork and even new types of linoleum, which are made of natural, renewable materials.

  8. Install programable thermostats. About 50% of a home’s energy use is from heating and cooling. Reduce energy consumption by installing programmable thermostats and presetting temperatures for when you are home and when you are away.

When looking at an older home, ask your real estate agent if there are any records from the seller regarding what it costs annually to heat and cool the house. Remember, once the home is yours, you can make greener, money-saving changes that the sellers did not.

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