How to Make Your Home More Enegry Efficient and Eco Friendly

With the winter looming just around the corner, your home’s energy efficiency starts to weigh heavily not only in terms of being green from the environmental, personal, and social perspective, but it is becoming increasingly important because of very high heating costs.

In this guide I am going to present some fairly easy to implement ideas on how to increase your home’s energy efficiency on a budget.

Home Insulation Ideas

If your home was built before 1970s, then it is very likely that it does not have sufficient levels of insulation, which results in unnecessary heat loss. Many states now offer some very attractive home insulation programs, grants and rebates. For instance, the state of Massachusetts, my home state, provides a 75% tax credit rebate on energy efficient insulation up to $2000.00 (year 2011).

There are many similar programs in other states, and taking advantage of similar energy efficient insulation rebate programs will put money back in your pocket, and reduce your heating and cooling costs. Additionally, it will also increase the saleability of your home, reduce the chance of your heating pipes bursting in the winter, reduce cold air drafts, and make your home a more comfortable place for you and your family.



Attic Insulation

Going back to older homes built before 1970s, if you happen to live in one, chances are that your loft or attic insulation is not sufficiently insulated and ventilated. This is a common reason for ice dams on the roof in the winter and costly roof, walls, and insulation damages that may not necessarily be covered by homeowners insurance.

You can better insulate your attic by locating air leaks, and applying a caulk sealant to stop the unwanted air leaks. You can feel for these air leaks with your hand, or buy a special tool for detecting thermal leaks in your home at your local home improvement store. Another alternative would be having a professional home energy audit performed in your house, which would give you a complete report outlining locations where energy loss due to insufficient insulation and air leaks occurs.



You can then follow up on recommendations of the home energy audit report, and have a contractor insulate and seal poorly insulated, and poorly sealed areas in your house for you. If you are into DIY and want to save some money, you can tackle these issues yourself with the help of specialty sealants, and attic insulation bats.

Having a sufficiently insulated and properly ventilated attic will help prevent ice dams on your roof. Being prepared for cold storms with a properly insulated home can save a ton of money and headaches from having to deal with busted pipes and ice dams damage in the winter. Trust me on this!

If you plan on having a new roof installed any time soon, then consider replacing the old one with an energy efficient metal roofing system, which will help reduce your cooling costs in the summer, and help stop ice dams in the winter.

Insulating Walls

You can have your walls insulated with a blown in insulation, or you can have more insulation put in, if you are planning to install new siding on your house some time in the near future. Obviously, blown insulation is much easier and less costly than ripping apart your sheet rock to install a cavity wall insulation, but if you are doing a complete remodel of certain rooms in your home, and you are taking off old sheet rock, then you can have your wall cavities insulated during this time. Although, in all honesty ripping off your old sheet rock, or plaster and installing a new one is a messy and expensive way to do it.


Simple Way to Insulate Windows for the Winter

If you do not quite have the money to replace your old windows with energy efficient ones, then you can install a special film over them.This will reduce the cold air drafts, keep your rooms warmer and save money on reduced heating bills.

If you have already implemented all of the above measures, and are ready for the next step, consider replacing your old oil burner with an energy efficient gas heating system. Once again, there may be some good rebates available when you choose to upgrade your heating system with a 92 to 96% energy efficient gas burner. The cost of gas is less than the cost of oil, and having an energy efficient burner will further reduce your heating costs in the winter. You can also install energy efficient gas-powered hot water burners to reduce the cost of heating water in your home.

Other energy efficient modifications to consider include: LED lighting, low flow faucets, shower heads and dual flush toilets that will conserve water year round.



Metal Roofing Prices

As environmental awareness continues to grow in America, many homeowners are starting to embrace green building technologies to make their homes greener and more energy efficient. In light of this trend, metal roofing, which is one of the most energy efficient and green roofing materials, is continuing to gain popularity and market share.

Metal roofing is a high-end material that provides a beautiful and reliable alternative to conventional asphalt shingles. When homeowners consider getting a new roof for their home, the first thing they focus on is metal roofing prices vs. conventional roof cost.

According to the Remodeling Magazine, the national average price for a new standing-seam metal roof installed on a 30 squares home is around $42,000, while the same roof outfited with asphalt shingles costs $22,500. The roofing job includes complete tear-off and removal of the old roof.

Metal Roof



 

Based on these numbers, metal roofing costs are nearly double the cost you would normally pay for the installation of an asphalt shingle roof. Clearly, metal roofs are more expensive than their energy inefficient and environmentally unfriendly, petroleum based counterparts. Despite such a drastic difference in cost, metal roofing has been steadily gaining popularity and is now one of the fastest growing roofing products in America. So, what is it that makes metal roofing such an attractive option for homeowners?

The answer is in the reliability and longevity that metal roofs offer. Modern metal roofs are expected to last for many decades. While an asphalt shingle roof averages less than 20 years of service life, a professionally installed metal roof can last well over 50 years.

Metal roofing has an impeccable track record for longevity and reliability that dates back to the early 19th century, when zinc roofs became very popular in Europe. Zinc roofs perform extremely well, lasting in many cases over 100 years. In fact, many zinc metal roofs installed in Paris in the beginning of the last century are still protecting the rooftops of the city today.



 

Metal roofing offers many different styles and material options to the building owners, such as zinc and aluminum coated steel roofing as well as high – end zinc and copper roofing. Style-wise, metal roofs can be made available in the traditional profiles, such as factory stamped metal shingles, metal shakes, and tiles. Modern profiles, such as standing-seam, corrugated steel panels, and custom built profiles are also available.

Metal roofs are fully recyclable when it is time to replace them. Many metal roofing systems available on the market today contain over 30 percent of post consumer recycled metal content. Metal roofs are available in a great variety of colors, with many options approved and rated by the Energy Star and Cool Roof Rating Council. Cool metal roofing can provide energy savings of up to 35% in the summer.

A metal roof can make your home beautiful and more energy efficient, save money on air conditioning costs, and qualify for green building tax credits from the government. When shopping for a new metal roof, make sure that you only hire experienced roofing contractors who have strong references, portfolios of their work and can offer sound advice about the products they install.