There was a time when “Green Remodeling” was really something of an outlier. It often meant fewer choices, less comfort, and higher prices. Today, green remodeling is pretty much mainstream. There are all kinds of options and choices. Often environmentally conscious plans are more comfortable, and costs are in line with conventional methods. On top of that, green remodeling can protect the environment with a thoughtful plan. Let’s look at just a few things to consider for your next DeKalb-area remodeling project.
Those of us living in the DeKalb or Sycamore area are very well aware of the impact of extreme temperatures on home comfort. And while builders and remodelers have been insulating homes for many years, the materials and methods they use have improved dramatically. The thing about insulation is that it’s not a one-type-fits-all solution. Different parts of your home may require different insulation treatments. If you want your home to be warm in the winter and cool in the summer, you can’t afford to let insulation be an afterthought. Work with a design/build remodeler to plan out your insulation needs before construction begins. In addition to making your home more comfortable, you’ll also use less energy. And that’s easier on your wallet and on the environment.
Too often homeowners (and some remodelers) don’t think about the incredible impact home lighting has on the look and feel of a home. And they don’t think about the amount of energy that gets wasted, either. According to ENERGY STAR, lighting accounts for nearly 20 percent of an average home’s electricity use. In addition, almost 90 percent of the energy used in incandescent light bulbs goes toward generating heat. So leaving your lights on during a hot Sycamore summer day not only costs you money—it makes your house hotter! Then you have to spend more energy (and money) to cool it off.
According to the US Department of Energy, LED lights are 75 to 80 percent more efficient than incandescent bulbs. They're also 10 to 15 percent more efficient than CFL lights and the last a lot longer. An LED light will provide 25,000 hours of service compared to just 1,000 hours for incandescent bulbs and 10,000 hours for CFLs. The nice thing is that you can add more lighting for less. We're not just talking about making things brighter, but adding specific kinds of lighting for different needs, such as task lighting for specific areas, under cabinet lighting in your kitchen, and ambient (mood) lighting anywhere you need it. You'll spend less and get more. And using less electricity helps the environment (plus you won't throw out so many dead bulbs).
Another big use of energy comes from the use of everyday appliances. Using w ENERGY STAR rated appliances can ensure you'll get more efficient stoves, refrigerators, and dishwashers. Environmentally sound homes, however, are about more than just how much electricity you use. Think about your water use as well. WaterSense® toilets, faucets, and shower heads are water-saving products that meet the EPA’s specifications for efficiency and performance. Your laundry room is another place to save energy and water. If you install a front-loading washing machine it will use less water per cycle than a top-loading model.
In your kitchen, you can choose to install a convection oven (that uses a fan to circulate the heat) that will cook food 25 percent faster than conventional ovens. Even the type of refrigerator/freezer you choose makes a difference. Top-and-bottom refrigerator/freezer units work more efficiently than side-by-side models.
Smart home controls can also help you use less energy and make things easier on the environment. You can install systems to help you control lights, heat, cooling, water, and even security remotely. You don’t have to wonder if you left the lights on or forgot to turn down the thermostat. You can control those things from wherever you are.
The nice thing about environmentally sensitive remodeling is that—not only is it easier on the environment—it’s also easier on you and can make your home more comfortable! Contact us to chat about how we can make your DeKalb or Sycamore-area home more comfortable and energy efficient!