Ask the Expert: How do I make an existing home green?
ProudGreenHome: What are easy ways to retrofit an existing home to include green features?
In my experience, when people consider a green remodel, they often start with a focus on energy-efficient upgrades. Their energy bills are often double or triple what newer, well-built homes are and they're looking for ways to make those energy prices come down. If you look at all the resources it takes to produce the electricity to keep the light bulb burning or heater running, it's astonishing and proves it's a good place to start making changes.
Even though the desire to make energy improvements may exist, it's often hard to know where to start. That's why we suggest having a Home Energy Rater come to your home to perform a series of tests to find the "trouble spots" of your home. Based on the results of the tests, they'll make a prioritized list of the biggest energy hogs in your home. Most often we see the following items make that list of items that need upgrading/replacing:
- Windows and doors
- AC units and ducts
- Insulation in the roof, walls and crawlspace
- Sealing around windows and doors
Another approach to incorporating green features is to make incremental changes to your home. When a light bulb burns out, replace it with an LED or CFL bulb. When your hot water heater goes out, consider upgrading to a tankless or solar hot water unit. When your toilet finally bites the dust, opt for a high-efficiency, dual-flush toilet to take its place.
Whether you're looking to venture into a whole-house remodel or to simply incorporate small changes along the way, any action you take to make your home more efficient & sustainable will not only improve your well being, but will also be an encouraging message to those around you to follow in step.
Heather Ferrier Laminack Representing the fourth generation of the Ferrier Companies, Heather Ferrier Laminack functions as the marketing manager for Texas-based green home builder Ferrier Custom Homes, utilizing her passion for sustainable building practices and her first-hand experience of green building techniques.