How to Make An Old House Greener

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Are you buying an old house – or do you already own one? Here are several ways you can make your old house greener and more energy-efficient.

Modern, energy-efficient homes are great, but they can be costly, and what if, like me, you love old houses? Or maybe you already live in an old house, and want to know how you can make it greener? After all, drafty windows and doors, insufficient insulation, and other issues often make old homes incredibly inefficient.

Luckily, there are a number of things you can do to make even a really old house greener and more eco-friendly. Some of these will involve changes to your existing habits, while others are reasonably affordable renovations that will save you a lot of money on energy costs in the long run.

Whether you’re buying an older home, or simply updating your current one, here are a few ways to make your old house greener:

1. Replace your energy wants with energy needs. This is the most important change you can make. It is much simpler to use less energy than it is to replace energy with a cheaper or more environmentally friendly source. Ask yourself if you really need television sets, computers, large and small appliances and other gadgets that, on an everyday basis, drive up your energy costs….

2. Replace light bulbs. Changing out old incandescent light bulbs for CFL or LED bulbs will save more money and use less energy than you may imagine. Sure, you may pay a little more up front, but the overall savings will more than make up for the initial cost….

3. Eliminate drippy water sources. From runny faucets to toilets and showers that waste gallon upon gallon of water, there are plenty of efficient replacements that will conserve water and cost less. According to the EPA, toilets are the source of, on average, 30 percent of a home’s annual water consumption. Using a WaterSense toilet, for example, can save nearly 13,000 gallons of water per year….

4. Swap out your windows and doors. Drafts create significantly higher heating and cooling bills than you need to pay…. Replacing single pane windows with EnergyStar-qualified windows can result in significant savings, but even the best windows can’t do as good of a job as better planning…. If possible, reconfigure the windows of your house or choose a home with windows primarily on the south side….

5. Shore up hidden drafts. Adding insulation and caulking can reduce costs, too. According to the EPA, common places where drafts tend to hide are:

>> Between foundation and rim joists
>> Crawl spaces
>> ……………………………………..
>> Chimney flue
>> Electrical and gas service entrances
>> Cable TV and phone line service entrances
>> Window AC units
>> ………………………………………
>> Mail chutes
>> Electric outlets
>> Where dryer vents pass through walls
>> Under the garage door
>> Around door and window frames
……………………………………………

6. Work it out in the attic. Many older houses are seriously lacking in insulation, and adding either blanket insulation or blown-in insulation to the attic and walls could save you hundreds of dollars each year. Actual savings will depend on the type of insulation and how much you add…. If installed properly, the EPA says, the addition of insulation can reduce energy costs by as much as 50 percent in some cases, and make your house more comfortable….

7. Make systemic changes to your energy consumption. If you have a bigger budget, there is quite a bit you can do to see long-term savings. Replacing an old furnace with a new, more efficient one; replacing appliances with EnergyStar-rated versions; adding solar panels; installing a geothermal system; installing on-demand hot water heaters; zoning your HVAC system; and replacing poorly insulated plaster walls with well-insulated ones can be costly, but the long-term paybacks and kindness to the environment often make these changes worthwhile. Depending upon the state you live in, you may even qualify for rebates and tax credits for making some of these changes.

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Check out the full article at ElephantJournal.com

 

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