So you’ve decided to remodel something. Congratulations! While the next few days, weeks or months will be filled with dust, phone calls and tripping over things, you’ll eventually walk into that gleaming new space of yours and sigh with satisfaction. While it can be exciting to dog ear pages in Architectural Digest Magazine and borrow all of your sister’s Restoration Hardware catalogues, there’s an opportunity you could be missing while you agonize over whether oil rubbed bronze fixtures look vintage enough for the midcentury French theme you have your heart set on: designing for energy efficiency.
Sure, the whole point of remodeling is to make your space uniquely yours, but for most people it’s also about maximizing the potential resale value of the property. By designing a room to be energy smart, you’ll get the best of both worlds: energy and cost savings for as long as you own your home, and a nice boost in resale value, too.
In the Kitchen
If you’re getting ready to overhaul those Kelly green laminate countertops and banish the floral wallpaper forever, make sure to take a look at your appliances, too. Energy Star rated refrigerators, ovens, cook tops and dishwashers can make a big dent in your energy use. In terms of lighting, there are many CFL and LED bulb styles that will fit almost any recessed can, fixture or lamp.
In the Bathroom
That avocado sink seemed like such a good idea 40 years ago, right? Tastes aren’t the only thing that’s changed. Sinks, showerheads and toilets are all available now with low flow technology to help significantly reduce your water use. If you’re keeping a sink or showerhead in place, special aerators are available to help reduce the amount of water used. And as we mentioned above, there are many CFL and LED bulb styles that will fit almost any recessed can, fixture or lamp. There’s even a new natural light style bulb ideal for applying makeup.
On the Exterior
If you’re getting ready to break out the paint, think about the bigger picture. If the siding is looking tired, the roof and windows might need a little extra TLC, too. New roofing products offer heat barriers and deflectors. New window products on the market boast a layer of inert gas between panes to reduce heat transfer or offer a convenient mini blind feature to block the sun without gathering dust. While these jobs can be a big investment, they’ll greatly improve the value and comfort level of your home. If you’re working with a general contractor, negotiate a new layer of attic insulation into the price they quote to help sweeten the deal (and the savings!).
Have you undertaken a big remodel job recently? Did you design with energy savings in mind? If so, tell us what you did.