Deep energy remodeling fares on the extreme end of cost and effort when it comes to making homes more energy efficient but can achieve dramatic energy savings. The process typically involves resealing the building envelope, super-insulating, upgrading systems including HVAC overhaul, and installing energy generation capacity such as solar photovoltaic (PV) panels.
1. Worth the Cost and Disruption
a. How long will you own the home?
b. How much disruption can you tolerate?c. Will the remodel meet an immediate or temporary need?
d. How will this remodel ultimately affect your lifestyle?
e. What is your life stage?
2. Plan Your Perfect Project
a. Envision the finished project
b. Use online sources: Houzz, Pinterest, design software, magazines
c. Research products and design choices.
3. Set Your Budget
a. Ballpark the costs and how much you can spend.
b. Identify funding sources: cash, loan, HELOC.
c. Get quotes from contractors.
d. Plan for cost overruns: add 15%–20% to bid.
e. Is it still affordable?
f. Prioritize and trim the project to fit the budget.
4. Chose Your Team
a. Meet the lead architect and contractor before you hire the firm.
b. Ask to see their recent work.
c. Check references.
d. Look online for peer reviews of contractors.
5. Map Out Your Schedule
a. Remodeling rules of thumb: Kitchen: 3–6 months
b. Bathroom: 2–3 months
c. Room addition: 1–2 months
d. Allow time for ordering materials and obtaining permits
6. Get Your Paperwork In Order
a. Contractor’s responsibilities: license, bond, liability insurance, work contract, permits.
b. Homeowner’s responsibilities: homeowner’s insurance, obtain everything in writing, don’t start without a contract, confirm that the contractor has obtained permits, make sure subcontractors are paid
7. Plan For Problems
a. Have a rock-solid contract
b. Designate a project point person both from your side and the contractor’s
c. Make a list of what could go wrong and a come up with a plan B
d. Schedule down time
e. Establish rules for workers: parking, smoking, storing gear, designated bathroom
8. Keep Your Project On Track
a. Avoid allowances—specify everything upfront
b. Establish good communication
c. Keep a project journal
d. Track all changes in writing
e. Check the work
f. Pay only for completed work
Seal Your Envelope
A smart first step in creating a high-performance home is upgrading the insulation, especially for older homes. Not only will upgrading insulation immediately reduce energy costs, it will also improve the efficiency and performance of the other home systems. The initial phase assesses the current insulation of the home. This can be done as part of a whole house energy audit. A professional Looks for
Where the home is, and is not, properly insulated. What the insulation is made of. The insulation's thermal resistance, or R-value, and thickness. It is best to speak with a professional to determine what best suits you needs ( WGBM)
Recommended Insulation by State
The Department of Energy (DOE) provides a guide to proper insulation for the different climates across the US. Click the link below to see Michigan's recommended R-values and the variety of materials to choose from.
Sustatinably sourced materials have become competitively priced with those found in conventional homes. Some exciting options perfect for Michigan weather include: Mineral Wool, Loose-fill Cellulose, even Fiberglass is typically 50% recycled material with some as high as 70-90%
Windows and Doors
Energy efficiency of doors, windows, and skylights are rated on the same factors: U-factor, solar heat gain co-efficient (SHGC), and air leakage. Models with several layers of glass, low-emissivity coatings, and/or low-conductivity gases between the glass panes are a good investment, especially in extreme climates. ENERGY STAR® rates windows and doors on U-factor and SHGC. The National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) labeling provides additional information.
There are three basic choices: steel, fiberglass, or wood. Steel and fiberglass doors typically have more insulating value than wood doors, but the most important is the seal around the door frame. Most modern glass doors with metal frames have a thermal break, or a plastic insulator between the interior and exterior parts of the frame. This excludes sliders however because the glass is still a poor insulator.
Low E windows
Low-emissivity (low-e) windows are a great green choice for replacement windows. Low-e windows are coated with a microscopically thin layer of metal oxide that reduces infrared radiation transfer from a warm pane of glass to a cool plane, thus lowering the U-value of the window.
In hot climates, the low-e coating should be applied on the outside surface of the window.
For cold climates, the low-e coating should be applied to the inside surface of the window.
Sun facing windows to allow more natural light to let natural light in. When properly positioned, they let in the winter sun to heat your home while the sun is at a lower angle in the sky.
Complete replacement of all windows around the home can be expensive but Window and door replacements are also very popular in the market for homebuyers. The NAR 2021 REALTORS® and Sustainability Report shows that a whopping 87% clients consider windows, doors, and siding a very important or somewhat important feature of a home.
Vinyl windows av $22,500 with 71% ROI and for wooden windows the average is $35,000 with 57% ROI. Replacing windows can definitely have a positive impact on energy bills, but it would take several decades for the savings to offset the initial cost. The good news is that new windows recover nearly 70% of value on resale. Replacing your front entry door typically recoups 65% of the costs.
Some of the signs that doors and windows need replacement include:
Single glazing, Rotting sills and frames,
Jammed sashes and broken parts,
Water penetration around the frame,
Condensation between layers of insulated glass
Gaps in sashes, frames, and dividers
Here are some of the best websites for ideas and self-discovery of trending and cost saving resource efficiency measures.
Website by Realtors for homeowners and buyers. Search Through loads of Green living and home improvement trends and articles. Or click on the Your Money section for Save On Utilities.
Home design and Remodeling
Provided by Department of Energy. Provides detail guides for Energy efficient home designs and styles. As well as Landscaping, Windows and doors. Be sure to click the links in each section for more information.
U.S. Green Building Council's Green Home Guide
Emphasis on LEED homes loads of articles around range of renovations and green topics.
Home Innovation Labs.
Market trends for new construction and remodeling features and all sorts of other materials. Articles are more technical and provide in-depth insight. The site also provides cost estimates on common improvements and expected rates of return.
The first indication that a water heater is due for replacement is the age of the appliance. The average lifespan of a water heater is about 10 years. Other telltale signs include: Rusty water, Rumbling noises, Water leakage around the heater, and No hot water. Many local building codes now require you to upgrade the following: Water heater mount, size or type of venting system, Drain pan underneath the heater, and Supply pipes.