Making A Historic Home Green: Increasing The Environmental Friendliness Of Older Homes
While most modern homes are designed to be generally friendly towards the environment – older homes, on the other hand, often need some tuning up in order to be considered a green home. Older homes often have a classic look and feel to them which gives them their personality and therefore a lot of added value, something you do not want to tarnish or change in any way. Thankfully, with today’s technology it is possible to make your house more environmentally friendly without losing the personality which makes that house your home. The following suggestions are just a few ways that homeowners can non-invasively turn their classic homes into environmentally friendly masterpieces.
Many old homes lack proper (or any) insulation. This can lead to your air conditioner working overtime on those steamy summer days and your furnace working harder than it should during long winter nights. If your insulation is lacking, and if your walls have any sort of cavity allowing insulation to be placed without reconstruction – spend the money! Insulation will pay itself off with the cash you save on electric/gas bills. Blow-in insulation is relatively cheap and easy to install in your existing walls.
Test it Out
There are some earth friendly companies who will come into your house and run infrared scans in every room which show exactly where heat is entering or escaping. If you have one of these energy audits done, you will probably find that many of your windows are problems – not properly sealed off from the outside world. Getting this fixed helps your electric bill the same way that insulation does. You may even need to replace an old door or two, or at the very least, add some caulking/sealants to block air from getting in or out.
Lights, Camera, Action!
Many people are guilty of using highly inefficient and bad for the environment lighting sources. To remedy this, replace all of your old incandescent with a much cleaner CFL bulb. CFL bulbs will use a third of the electricity over their lifetime, which more than offsets their slightly higher purchase price. Additionally, led bulbs are a bright, cheap and green alternative to normal lighting sources.
Out with the Old, in with the New
Take out (and recycle) your old appliances which are only fractionally as energy efficient as new Energy Star certified models. Also, that old furnace which has been churning away in your basement year after year – replace it with a new high-efficiency model. Your house will get warmer quicker all the while using less electricity/gas which keeps money in your pocket and protects the environment. Depending on your location, new furnaces may even qualify you for a tax break. If replacing the entire unit isn’t in your deck of cards, at least put in new air filters in your heating and cooling machines to keep their efficiency running at peak levels.
Try a Smart Thermostat
Everything is going high tech these days, even your thermostat. New units, like the Nest thermostat offer programmable heating and cooling settings so your house can be at the requested temperature right when you get home. This way your cooling and heating units get a break while you’re off at work, and will fire up just in time for the commute home. Smart thermostats generally cost less than 100 dollars, can be installed by just about anyone and offer huge long term money and energy saving benefits. Once your new thermostat is set up, program it just a few degrees cooler or warmer than you normally like it to save even more. Sleeping with an extra blanket has never hurt anyone!