Going Green By Efficiency: Efficient Windows, Roofing, Siding and Furnaces

Green Efficiency In Home Improvement

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A lot of talk these days focuses on the trend to go green. As the environment plays a bigger factor in our choices everyday—going green will only receive more attention and buzz. The following tips outline how to make your house or future remodel more in tune with going green and the environment.

Energy Efficient Windows

The biggest source of heat loss from any home is the openings to the outdoors—specifically doors and windows. Older single-pane windows are a major culprit in heat loss. Blinds, curtains or drapes reduce drafts, but double-pane windows provide an even better layer of insulation. Double-pane windows can reduce your energy usage by 10% or more.

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Roofs That Limit Energy Loss

Typical black-shingled roofs are not very energy efficient. In the summer they absorb the sun's heat and increase cooling bills. Changing to lighter shingles will reduce cooling bills by 10% or even double that in hotter climates.

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Energy Efficient Siding

Heat is not only lost through windows and doors, but poorly insulated walls can allow heat escape as well. Insulation within the walls goes a long way towards energy efficiency, but insulating outer siding helps too. Wood siding can insulate, but is not a green option. Synthetic siding, like crane board, is not only attractive, but extremely energy efficient.

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Increase Furnace Efficiency

Heating and cooling can be a homeowner's biggest expense, and furnaces are often the most energy greedy appliance. Furnaces built before 1994 are actually 20% less as efficient as newer furnaces, so simply upgrading can drop energy use.

Furnace Maintenance

Basic furnace maintenance is an easier and cheaper way to be energy efficient. Using a clean air filter will reduce the amount of energy your furnace uses, so filters ought to be replaced every month. Filters are inexpensive, and a year's supply should cost $20 and up depending on the quality, which is easily made back in energy savings.

Clean Furnace Ducts

Ensuring that furnace pipes and ducts are well insulated will also save on heating costs and energy use. Furnaces are often installed in cold, drafty areas like the garage or basement, and the ducts that run into the home lose lots of heat on their way. Wrapping those ducts in insulation allows more of the heat to reach the house and reduces the amount of work your furnace has to do.

Quick Home Walkthrough

Basic home maintenance will also increase furnace efficiency. Eliminating drafts from your home; which can come from the windows, doors or attic space will keep heat from escaping and reduces your furnace's work load.

There are other easy home improvement tips that will allow you to ease the work load of your furnace. Raising blinds on sunny days allows a free resource—the sun—to heat your home. Making sure the heating vents aren't blocked by furniture allows the heat to reach your entire home. Simply reversing the tilt of your ceiling fan blades will push the warm air that rises back into the room.

Lower the Thermostat

And don't forget that for every degree above 68° your thermostat is set, your heating bill and energy usage increases by 3-5%, and you can also save a ton of money by just lowering your thermostat during the day when no one is home, and at night when you sleep. Thermostat timers are available to turn your heat up or down at preset times.

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Going Green: The Bottom Line

At first glance, green home remodels can appear expensive. But when you consider the money you will be saving on bills plus possible tax rebates, not to mention the peace of mind that being environmentally friendly will bring, the change is completely worth it. Need help finding a green contractor.

"Green" topics have never been a hotter subject and energy efficient products are appearing everywhere, so now may be the time to start your own green remodeling project.

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