Inexpensive Energy Efficient Home Renovation Ideas
As the world becomes more environmentally conscious and people are doing more and more to reduce their carbon footprint, new and more effective technology is being developed to improve energy efficiency in the home.
Energy-efficient home renovation technology is often much cheaper than you may think and can help to drastically reduce your annual energy bill while helping to protect the environment.
In this article, we will discuss how to make your home energy efficient, sharing our best inexpensive energy-efficient renovation ideas and their numerous benefits.
What are the main advantages of building an energy-efficient home?
The two main benefits of building an energy-efficient home or installing energy-saving improvements are reducing the carbon footprint of your family and lowering long-term energy costs – in many cases, these savings can be substantial.
On average, energy-efficient home improvements can help reduce annual energy bills by around 25%, equating to over $2000 each year. Therefore, the return on investment of installing energy-efficient renovations is extremely quick.
Most of the devices also have long lifespans and do not need to be replaced for many years, sometimes decades, with little to no maintenance required, this means financial savings can be achieved for a sustained period of time.
As well as the financial benefits, owners of an energy-efficient home can also maintain peace of mind that they are playing their part in protecting the environment and slowing the effects of climate change. Many people across the United States are making lifestyle changes to reduce their carbon footprint and investing in a ‘green home’ is one of the most effective ways of achieving this.
What are the different types of energy-efficient home improvements?
There are numerous ways a person can make their home more energy-efficient, however, in this section, we will focus on the main improvements that can be installed to have a significant impact.
Lighting – LED lighting is an energy-efficient and cost-effective technology that is very simple to install and has many benefits. The benefits of LED lighting include a long lifespan; low energy usage, flexibility to work with any design; no heat or UV emissions; can to operate in cold weather, and providing instant illumination.
Solar Panels – Solar panels are an effective way to generate renewable energy which can reduce your energy bills and even earn additional income via government schemes. Solar panels have a long lifespan and despite popular belief, they can still generate energy in adverse weather conditions. A solar installation in California would require a solar permit in most cases which is usually priced at around $450.
Energy Efficient Heating – There are many different types of heating systems that can be deemed energy efficient, examples of this are electrical systems (HVAC read more about this later in the section), biomass, or wood burners as these systems all avoid the use of fossil fuels. Geothermal heating can also be an option for larger buildings, although this can be a rather expensive project and is not usually recommended for a domestic household.
Insulation – Improving the insulation of your home is one the best ways to reduce your energy consumption, as limiting drafts and ensuring heat remains within your walls means you are likely to use your heating system less, or at lower levels. Foam insulation is one of the most common and cheapest forms of roof and wall insulation, although many different materials can be used to insulate a home.
Double or triple glazed windows are an older technology that is still very popular today, as they greatly reduce the amount of heat that can escape from the home, while also providing improved soundproofing than a traditional, single-pane window. Double glazing can also extend to doors, further limiting the chances of drafts.
Siding is also another great way to provide additional insulation, while also improving the exterior of your home from a visual perspective. Siding comes in many different materials and can be fitted quickly and easily by experienced professionals.
Ventilation – California can experience very warm weather which leads to many households becoming heavily reliant on their air-conditioning unit. Traditional air-con units are very energy-intensive and can really ramp up your annual energy bills. This is why investing in improved ventilation to help cool your home is highly recommended, relying on natural airflow, rather than using electricity.
If you feel natural airflow is not enough to provide you with sufficient cooling during the summer months, then the best option would be to invest in an energy efficient heating system, ventilation, or air conditioning (HVAC) which uses much less energy than a traditional air-con unit and can cater for your heating and cooling needs all year-round. An HVAC unit can also add value to your home, has a long lifespan, and requires minimal maintenance.
A new HVAC system could also be combined with a cool roof for added cooling measures during the hotter months. These roofs reflect sunlight away from the home to maintain comfortable temperatures and are an effective and eco-friendly option.
Home Energy Efficiency Measures – The Costs
The costs associated with energy efficiency technology and its installation can vary depending on the size of the project and the quality of the equipment. Below is a brief overview of the average costs of some of the technology we have touched upon in this article.
Solar – The cost of solar panels in the US has fallen by around 13% over the last year and installation costs are just under $20,500, on average. The Federal Solar Tax Credit scheme can also help to reduce these costs, as qualifying solar energy projects can claim a tax credit of up to 30% of the project’s capital costs.
Wind Turbines – The indicative cost of a domestic or farm-scale, 2.5KW wind turbine system is around $17,000, and a system of this type would be capable of producing 4,400KWh of electricity each year.
LED Lighting – For a full LED lighting refit in your home, you could expect to pay under $300 for a small home, or up to $1000 for a large home – this figure includes installation and the lighting itself.
Heating system, ventilation, or air conditioning (HVAC) – The average cost of an HVAC system is around $7000, although this can rise to around $1000 for high-end systems, or drop to $5000 for smaller models.
What are the latest energy-efficient home ideas in California?
Californian homes are amongst the most energy-efficient in the country, taking advantage of technology that keeps energy usage low, or investing in renewable power technologies that produce low-carbon power throughout the year.
For properties that own a large amount of land, many owners have installed their own wind turbines and ground-mounted solar arrays that can produce energy 12 months a year, regardless of the weather. This can provide real energy freedom, with no reliance on the grid to cater for their energy needs – even more so for homes that have eradicated the use of gas.
Of course, not all homes have the space to install projects of this type but a combination of smaller improvements can still make a big difference. A full home renovation that converts to energy-efficient lighting, heating, ventilation, and insulation systems can be implemented at the same time as a home remodel. Giving your home not only a modern look but also a sustainable future.
Many modern homes also adopt rainwater technology to reduce water waste, this water can then be used to flush toilets, water the garden, and more. This rainwater harvesting method not only reduces your annual water bill, as rainwater is of course free and excess groundwater is avoided, but it also provides sustainable irrigation and can be used for a number of different purposes. Not only that but it is also very easy and affordable to install.
What are the most energy-efficient home designs right now?
Smart management systems are now common in homes across the country as they allow you to manage your energy usage at the tap of a button. This can even be done remotely using your smartphone to ensure the heating is switched off, or appliances on standby when they are not in use.
These smart-systems can be installed in each room and manage almost every aspect of the home, providing an easily accessible energy efficiency tool that is compatible with a range of appliances and heating systems.
Roof solar panels are also extremely popular across California, benefitting from the many hours of sunlight that are recorded throughout the year. The number of sunny days in California is why it is one of the best States to take advantage of a solar installation, offering a much better return on investment compared to other parts of the country.
Tips on how to make an old home more energy efficient
Below is our comprehensive list of ways to make your home more energy-efficient.
- Solar panels – both roof and ground-mounted
- Domestic wind turbines
- Energy-efficient heating, including biomass or wood burners.
- Improved wall insulation
- Improved roof insulation
- A Cool Roof
- Double or triple glazed windows and doors
- LED lighting
- Smart energy management systems
- Improved ventilation to reduce air-conditioning usage
- Investing in low-energy appliances
- Rainwater recycling systems
Installations such as new insulation, or an upgraded heating system can be intrusive and require numerous contractors to be involved, including plasterers and painters & decorators. However, a professional service can deliver most of the services above with extremely quick turnarounds and minimal disruption. Regardless, the long-term benefits of adding energy efficiency measures clearly far outweigh the short-term disruption of installing them.
Building an energy-efficient home from scratch
If you plan to build your own custom home then this provides a blank canvas and a fantastic opportunity to create a green home that utilizes as much energy efficiency technology as possible. Many existing homes may need significant remodeling work to implement similar measures, making the project less cost-effective.
Therefore, if you are in the market for a new home and you are keen to reduce your environmental impact, then investing in a new custom-built home may be less expensive. As well as this, you will be able to work with experts to deliver the perfect energy-efficient home design plan that will deliver long-term savings and provide a sustainable lifestyle for the entire family.
It is important to work with contractors who have experience in delivering both a custom home and implementing the latest energy efficiency measures. Undertaking such a project without the relevant experience and certification can result in an underwhelming end product, costly delays, or mistakes that need to be rectified at a later date. In addition, using a contractor that does not possess the correct certification and licensing could result in penalties being issued, delaying the project and potentially resulting in fines.
It is also very important to ensure that all of the correct permits have been obtained, as this can also result in costly delays, financial penalties, or the project being canceled altogether! Always double-check the home renovation energy requirements in your area or ask your contractor to confirm the requirements for you.
Energy-efficient home builders near me
SOD Home Group are specialist contractors based out of San Jose and have provided remodeling and renovation services since 2008, earning a glowing reputation across the State. SOD Home Group delivers both custom-built homes and the installation of energy efficiency measures in existing homes.
Assistance will be provided when obtaining permits and the initial planning stage, as well as offering design expertise. Each stage of the project can be managed and delivered, meaning you are not required to use multiple contractors, helping to simplify the entire process and reduce costs.