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Save Energy: 7 Ways to Retrofit Your Home

Exterior home improvement
Can your home generate energy or help you reduce your energy bills?

It’s summertime, and the energy bills are climbing. It’s wintertime, and the heat is on high. No matter what the season, you don’t need to be at the mercy of high energy use. Take your home energy use into your own hands and make exterior home improvements that will make your home energy-savvy both inside and out.

1. Pay Attention to the Sun

In the winter, the sun can help warm up a cool living room in the morning. In the summer, that same sunshine can make the living room unbearably hot by noon. When you’re thinking about exterior home improvements, start with the patterns of the sun. Consider how you can modify them to reduce your heating or cooling budget inside your home.

2. Add Shade

Shade that shifts throughout the seasons is an excellent way to modify the energy that’s coming into your home. If you have a living room that receives too much direct sunlight in the summer months, add an awning that you can extend in the summer and retract in the winter. You can also use plants to do the same job: deciduous shade trees or vine-covered trellises will provide shade and reduce air conditioning costs in the summer and allow sunlight through to warm your home during the winter months. If you add a tree or a trellis, make sure that it won’t influence your home’s foundation or drainage.

3. Use Natural Ventilation

At the beginning of the last century, people made do without summer air conditioning. What did they do instead? Some of their home modifications were based on smart interior design, such as hallways that ran through the house, encouraging air flow in the summer. Others were based on where the interior and exterior meet: the windows. They had homes with windows placed strategically to encourage air to flow across the home, and they added windows that would open on the top to encourage heat to move out.

4. Watch Your Air Flow

While you can use ventilation to intentionally move hot air out and cool air in during the summer months, during any season, you want to ensure that your home does not contain unintentional leaks. Do a blower door test and see where air is leaking out of and into your home. You may need to change windows and doors that are leaky or repair cracks. Make sure that you control the air that’s moving into your home, and you’ll control how much you’re spending on heating and cooling.

Exterior home improvement
Trees, trellises, and awnings can provide shade for a home.

5. Insulate Your Home

Insulation keeps your home’s temperature consistent. In the summer, your house stays cooler, and in the winter, it remains warmer. While insulation is often an interior project, it’s often less disruptive to your home life to add it to the outside. An exterior retrofit to add insulation stabilizes the energy you use for heating and cooling, and it also provides you with an opportunity to change the look of your home.

6. Add an Energy Source

Your home can be an energy factory. From ground source heat pumps to solar power, home scale energy generation is becoming easier, more efficient, and less expensive. New solar shingles are flat, blend into your roof, and can generate 60 watts per solar shingle. As energy generation technologies continue to improve, it’s worthwhile to look at the energy potential of your wind, water, sunshine, and soil.

7. Go to the Pros

Before you begin your renovation, consult with an energy audit company that can give you a sense of where you can improve, both indoors and out. Work with local installers to see how your home can generate energy and how simple home improvements could change the way you use energy, particularly in the summer and winter months. Their ideas can help you create a plan for your unique property.

Are you looking at ways to reduce your energy bill this summer? Harry Helmet is here to help. From solar shingles to awnings, we can help you develop strategies to reduce your energy use. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.

Written by Del Thebaud

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