With the influx of summer heat on its way, homeowners will be looking to improve energy efficiency while reducing overall energy loss. This also decreases the carbon footprint of the home over time and will help save the homeowner money on energy bills.
What summer renovations should you suggest to your clients to help them go green while stashing more cash in their pockets? Some projects will pay off better than others and may even offer the client government or utility company incentives for their efforts.
Replace Windows and Doors
Weatherproofing with plastic over the windows and caulking gaps across wood surfaces will temporarily fix air leaks, but over time the problem gets worse. Windows account for about 10% to 15% of the power bill, and windows should be replaced every 15 to 30 years. Non-weatherized doors and windows are noticeable areas for drafts, and nearly 30% of energy loss may be attributed to these areas—not to mention they also may be letting in pests and other contaminants.
If door or window frames are warped or do not shut properly, it’s time to replace them. Let the client known that qualified Energy Star products may help reduce their power bill. Regardless, re-caulking and weather stripping is a good idea to help the client get by until an upgrade is possible.
Add Insulation and Seal Up Leaks
If the client’s home is drafty just about everywhere, it may be time to seal up the foundation and add new insulation. Start from the base of the house and work your way up. While the client will feel drafts throughout the home, the foundation and attic are the major players when it comes to energy loss.
Adding sealant in the basement, around the foundation, and in other vulnerable areas will prevent energy loss. A major issue is with a lack of proper insulation in the attic, where cellulose insulation will help decrease energy loss and air infiltration. The client could also receive generous funds from the electric company in the form of a rebate to help cover costs. The client should contact their utility company for more information about rebates.
Don’t Forget Floors and Walls
It’s easy to forget leaky walls and floors, but about 10% of energy loss occurs with uninsulated flooring. Caulked crown molding and baseboards help, along with the replacement of insulating gaskets behind light and electrical switches.
Remind clients that wall insulation doesn’t necessarily mean tearing out walls. Loose-fill insulation can be easily blown into home walls and floors without going Hulk on them.
An energy audit taken with infrared images by a technician will show the client points of energy loss. Duct leaks also may be assessed this way.
Choose the Right Cooling System
One system that will work best for cooling one home could be less efficient for another, and your client may be confused about which will get them the most for their money. The two major A/C methods are conventional cooling air systems and the ductless air systems, also known as mini splits.
Aging ducts account for at least 30% of energy consumed cooling the home, and it’s important that these ducts be sealed properly. Ductless systems have the benefit of reducing overall energy loss as no ducts are required.
Ductless systems work as a conduit to cool between the home and outdoors, to extract heat from the inside and push it out with a refrigerant system. The ductless system attaches to most areas so long as there is access to the outdoor unit. This system is perfect for when your client needs air where ducts won’t go, and smaller, older homes don’t have the space for sufficient duct work. For small, individual rooms, the client has control over the areas that need more or less cooling.
Summer is the perfect time to help your clients keep the cool air inside and reduce their energy bills before winter comes back around. While caulking leaks in vulnerable spaces will help the client get by, it may be necessary to replace windows and doors, seal up bigger leaks and fill in the insulation. The existing cooling system may not be the right choice for the home.
Energy-efficient solutions will help the client save more money on power bills over time, and they may be eligible for rebates or other incentives from utility companies. Clients should inquire with their energy providers before contracting out work with the company. These summer renovations will help your clients keep their cool and money in their pockets, which is a win for everyone.