1) Improve the insulation in your house
Switching to renewable sources of energy is a great idea. However, if your house has poor insulation, you defeat your own efforts of living a more eco-friendly lifestyle because you will be wasting a lot energy trying to keep your living space at a comfortable and consistent temperature. Insulating your house is crucial when you are upgrading your home because up to 40 percent of heat loss in a house is due to poor insulation.
Insulation can be added to the space between the walls and to your loft. The insulation can be sheep’s wool or insulation foam that expands. For the initial investment of your insulation, you will benefit from an annual saving in energy costs every year. It will only take a couple of years for you to recoup the cost of your initial investment.
Georgian home renovation with modern features
Upgrading older homes, like this Georgian house, takes special consideration. Adding insulation to the roof and installing a central heating system are two upgrades that will bring an old house up to modern standards.
If walls are not hollow, insulating them becomes tricky. You can apply a thermal lining to the inside of the walls. On the outside, you can add a layer of insulation to the walls, then apply a layer of plaster over it.
With heritage houses, you also must be mindful that the old walls need to breathe so there won’t be any issues with dampness. There are helpful guides in teaching you how to apply insulation to an older house.
The project costs can differ greatly. If you want a good ballpark figure, contact the National Insulation Association.
2) Use double or triple pane windows
You can lose more than 10 percent of your home’s energy through your windows. Therefore, you should take measures to reduce this loss.
Installing triple-paned windows would be the ideal solution. These are available in stylish designs that look stunning in any home.
A double-paned or triple-paned window will slow down the transfer of temperature through the glass. If the space between the panes is filled with argon or other types of inert gas, you can improve the insulation properties even more.
Low-e glass on windows has a coating that reflects heat and can improve your windows’ insulating performance. Learning more about windows that are energy efficient will give you the best options.
3) Install solar panels
Solar panels can generate electricity and heat up your water. There are government programs that provide financial incentives to offset some of your cost.
PV, or solar photovoltaic systems, turn UV rays into electricity. You do not even need the sun to shine directly on the system. It can absorb sunlight through the clouds. Just install it on your roof or the side of your house facing within 90 degrees of south.
Some model homes are fitted with eco-friendly features that can provide you with some inspirations about your own home improvement projects. These homes are built to showcase various environmentally friendly solutions to common house problems.
You can get ideas about different types of eco-friendly windows, home insulation, and how to combat excessive dampness around the house.
Touring these types of model homes will give you many ideas on how you can tackle your renovation projects.
Water in your house can be heated by using an evacuated tube collector system or a flat plate system. Solar energy is collected to heat up your water.
Always check local building codes to see if permits are required.
4) Explore natural ways to heat your home
Using natural methods to provide heat to your home is sustainable and good for the environment.
In addition to solar energy solutions, there are alternatives provided by heat pumps and biomass energy systems that use wood and agricultural waste as fuel.
Geothermal heat pumps
Geothermal heat pumps transfer heat to and from the ground. The temperature of the earth remains constant throughout the seasons. The system concentrates this heat into usable energy and maximizes the natural warmth generated in the ground.
The heat pumps consist of pipes that are buried beneath the ground that pull heat from the earth and direct it to your home’s heating and hot water systems. Just keep in mind that there will be considerable digging into your yard for the system to be put in place.
Air-source heat pumps collect heat from the environment. These can be installed on your roof or on an outside wall. They operate in a similar way as geothermal heat pumps.
Biomass systems burn wood or logs that generate heat for your hot water and to warm up your house. The boiler does take up a bit of space. Setting up a utility room for this would be ideal.
You can have one stove that can generate enough heat for one room and have a boiler to provide hot water for your household.
Click here to find out more about keeping your heating efficient.
5) Use recycled materials for building
Use building materials from other demolition projects for your renovations. This is a great way to save these materials from going to waste.
You can find reclaimed materials from local remodeling projects or demolition sites. The building industry knows that there is value in reclaimed materials, so old buildings are taken apart carefully in order to preserve the quality of the materials that are resold on the market.
Other places where you can find useful reclaimed materials are salvage places where you can find things like old stones and bricks, vintage building parts, as well as high-end materials.
If you are restoring a heritage home and want to retain its original look, using reclaimed materials would be a good approach. You can find things that are no longer made anymore that would work perfectly for your vintage house.
6) Use eco-friendly paints and finishes
When you are getting ready to apply paint or a new finish, opt for products that are environmentally friendly.
Eco-friendly paints use oils and resins from plants and are water-soluble. The color pigments come from plant dyes and minerals.
There are eco-friendly products that you can use to clean and prep walls. Varnishes and wood finishing products also have green options. Wall coverings can be made from cotton, wool, and other natural materials.
7) Floor heating systems
Radiant heating beneath your floor is a nice alternative to conventional heating systems. If you are redoing your floors, this is something you can consider.
A network of pipes is installed beneath your floor throughout your house that circulates hot water, which in turn warms up your floor. The heat rises up into the living space, thus warming up the rooms. This system can easily connect with other heating systems like heat pumps and solar panels.