A home renovation project is the perfect opportunity to improve your home’s energy efficiency. Whether you’re building an extension, adding a second storey or renovating an existing home, there are plenty of ways you can enhance your energy efficiency and reduce your carbon footprint and your power bills.
So, let’s have a look at some of the easiest ways to improve your home energy efficiency.
- Think Insulation
Quality insulation will reduce thermal transfer through your home’s roof and walls. Heat naturally flows to where it is cooler until an even temperature has been established. So, in winter the heat will try to flow into the cooler, unheated areas of your home or outside. This means your heating system has a lot more work to do to keep the house warm.
Insulation works to reduce this heat transfer by providing millions of tiny air pockets within a material that is a poor conductor of heat. When the heat from your home meets this insulation material, it is contained in the air pockets rather than conducted outside, allowing your home to retain its warmth.
If your home isn’t well insulated, your heating and cooling systems will have to work a lot harder to maintain a temperature, and that will cost you big money in terms of power bills.
A renovation, especially an extension project, is a great opportunity to update your insulation. There’s even a range of sustainable insulation materials that will save you money while being good for the environment.
- Stop Draughts
Draughts can be a real problem when it comes to heating and cooling your home. Even a well insulated home can have problems with draughts. All it takes is a poorly sealed door or window for a draught to get in, which makes your HVAC system work harder than it needs to. Ensuring your doors and windows are sealed and properly weather stripped is a quick and easy addition to any renovation project.
- Glazed and Tinted Windows
A substantial proportion of your home’s heat is lost through your windows, having a massive effect on your home’s thermal performance. Up to 40% of a home’s heating energy can be lost, and up to 87% of its heat gained, through windows.
Double or triple glazing your windows will dramatically reduce the amount of heat lost and gained through your windows and significantly lower your reliance on heating in winter and air conditioning in summer.
Window tinting can also help to reduce cooling costs in summer by reducing the amount of long wavelength infrared heat that can pass through the window. When it comes to window tinting, you should bear in mind that darker tinting will block out more natural light, which could increase your reliance on electrical lighting.
- Make use of Passive Heating/Cooling
If you’re renovating, you may also want to consider how you can best use your outdoor areas to contribute to your home’s energy efficiency. Incorporating passive solar principles is probably the most cost effective way to improve thermal performance and reduce energy costs.
Strategically planting plants and trees can be a great way to reduce thermal radiation from the sun. Plant trees that will protect your home from the sun in summer, but will shed their leaves in winter. This will reduce thermal radiation from the sun hitting your house in summer, while allowing light and sun in during winter.
You’ll want to protect any north-facing doors and windows from summer sun. A well placed pergola or verandah can shade these areas. Alternatively, you can plant strategically. Low-growing grasses and shrubs are effective at reflecting heat and glare.
- Invest in Solar
There’s no better way to improve energy efficiency than by going solar. Use your renovation project to install solar panels to supplement your electrical supply. You could also consider a solar hot water system for your home or swimming pool, if you have one.
There are also various government incentives for converting to renewable energy, which are worth exploring if you’re considering solar power.
- Upgrade Light Bulbs and Fixtures
LED lights use about 75% less electricity and last up to 25 times longer than traditional incandescent light bulbs. So switching over to LED light bulbs is an absolutely no brainer. Some wiring, fixtures and dimmer switches may not be suitable for LED lights, however. So wherever you’re doing your renovations, make sure you factor in the most energy efficient lighting fixtures for your purposes.
- Be Smart with Extensions
If you’re planning an extension, talk to your builder and get their recommendations on energy efficiency options. An experienced extension builder will be able to provide you with a range of insights into design, fitout and material options that will make your renovated or extended area as eco-friendly and cost effective as possible.
There’s lots of ways you can make your house energy efficient, whether you’re completing a big or small renovation. Get ready to enjoy an environmentally friendly home that also saves you money.