10 renovation ideas for an energy-efficient home

June 30, 2015

If you are planning to renovate your home, why not consider ways to make it more energy efficient and environmentally sustainable. Start by considering how these 10 renovation ideas could be applied in your house.

10 renovation ideas for an energy-efficient home

Top considerations for energy efficiency

  1. Consider whether you can change the allocation of space within your house in order to group rooms with similar uses. Can you bring wet areas closer together? Can you move living areas to the south side of the house?
  2. Look at your options for improving insulation. Depending on the extent of the renovations you are planning, your options may be limited. Plan for maximum effect with minimum upheaval – the roof is a good place to begin. Carefully select the right type of insulation for your local climate and house.
  3. Think about adding new windows to let more light and heat in. Could you open up the southeastern side of the house to let in the morning sun or add a south-facing clerestory window or skylight at the back of the house to introduce light and heat into dark rooms?  Adding larger windows to the south side of your home will increase natural light and passive heating.
  4. Consider adding a small room, such as a porch or laundry room, between external doors and the outside. This will create an air lock, preventing heat loss in winter and heat gain in summer.
  5. Consider whether or not it would work for you to add doors between living areas and sleeping areas so that these zones can be heated and cooled separately. Seal off the bottom of a staircase to prevent heat rising to upper floors while they're not in use.
  6. Check doors, windows and other external openings for drafts and close any gaps using draft excluders or weather strips.
  7. If draft-proofing windows does not fix them, install energy-efficient frames and glazing. Think about installing double glazing if you live in a cold climate, and fit heavy curtains and pelmets to minimize heat loss.
  8. Examine how you can make your heating more efficient. Can you have gas piped to rooms that need it? If you live in a cold area, could you easily install a natural gas, zoned central heating system? This works best if you have sufficient space under the floor for a furnace and ducts (underfloor ducts are more efficient than ceiling ducts); if you don't, a reverse-cycle system may work better.
  9. Consider installing grid-linked solar panels to generate electricity from the sun. You'll reduce your power bills – possibly to zero – and cut your greenhouse gas emissions significantly. Just make sure your house has a sturdy, south-facing roof to support the panels.
  10. Redesign your garden to use plants to improve your home's energy efficiency. On the south side of the house, use a pergola to block the summer sun, or plant low-growing grasses and shrubs to reduce reflected heat and glare. Plant deciduous trees on the east and west sides to exclude the sun in summer but admit it in winter.

Renovating your home to make it more energy efficient is a great way to save on heating and energy bills, and you'll also be helping the environment!

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