Energy efficiency is one of the hottest topics these days - as it should be, because global warming and some of the other negative consequences from rapid industrialization and globalization are starting to materialize more and more. These days, extreme weather, droughts, floods, hurricanes, and other natural disasters are becoming the norm. However, there are some ways to help reduce and reverse the affects we’ve had on the atmosphere. One of those ways starts at home. Living more efficiently can greatly contribute to reductions in our collective carbon footprint. Yet, if you are living in an older home, these contributions might be a little harder, because older homes weren’t built with efficiency in mind. So, should you build a green home or retrofit your current one?
Older homes were built with materials that are less than efficient than today’s materials. These include thin walls, porous wood and shaky foundations – the builders of many of these homes weren’t thinking of a world that was rapidly growing and getting warmer by the minute. This is especially the case in homes that were built more than sixty years ago. Essentially, these homes are like energy vortexes. Retrofitting can do a great a job at making the home more energy efficient, but not completely energy efficient and it can also can be costly.
Retrofitting an older home can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. Many people don’t have this available cash on hand. Retrofitting requires a complete gutting of an older home and includes re-insulating the home and adding new appliances. When all is said and done, your home will retain heat and energy better, but the home is still over 60 years old, so energy leaks are still going to continue to be a problem. What is the next best alternative? The alternative is tearing down the home and building a green one.
A green home can actually be even more affordable to build than retrofitting your old one. You might also save more money in the long run. This is because from top to bottom a green home follows incredibly stringent standards when it comes to energy efficiency. Also, in order to build a green home, contractors need to be certified to build them. Also, you have much greener appliances – from the stove you cook on to the HVAC system that runs throughout the home. Many of these appliances are also Energy Star rated, which is the standard when it comes to rating how energy efficient different appliances are. Why choose Energy Star? By installing appliances with energy star, you can save money on your utilities and you can keep your carbon footprint at a minimum.
Lastly, when you are deciding whether or not to retrofit your older home or tear it down and build a green one, you also have to look at other factors too. Is your home historical, or does it have some historical significance? You might want retrofit an older home, just to maintain it’s craftsmanship and details. By installing new energy efficiency appliances, you can enjoy the old with the new.