Ask the energy advisor

Make sure you remodel right

Posted on Mar 08 2020 in Noble REMC
Energy Advisor

Spring is just around the corner. 

It has been a wet, gray winter, and I’m sure a lot of projects were already put on hold from the amount of rain we had in the fall. So, let’s talk remodeling. 

Electric co-ops are known to put a lot of effort into helping members build new homes with energy efficiency in mind, but what a lot of members don’t realize is, a remodel or an addition can play just as big a role in energy consumption as building a new home. Often, remodels can create more problems than they remedy. 

When adding onto or gutting an existing home, it is crucial the contractor, or homeowner general contractor, understands the home is one large system. Remodeling presents a different sort of complication than building from scratch. 

Often an existing home is riddled with areas of air infiltration and exfiltration that rob your home of heating and cooling energy. When the home was built, the common response to these areas would be, “A home has to breathe.” 

My how times have changed! 

It’s more than likely we didn’t have the materials available to us then, as we have today, to stop air flow, moisture and control the amount of fresh air your home takes in. Not only do we have the materials and equipment to do this today, but the codes have become far more stringent when it comes to air sealing techniques, insulation levels and regulated fresh air.

I’ve performed several audits on homes that were remodeled recently, and unfortunately, they created larger consumers of energy than before the remodel and none of them added square footage to their existing home. 

It boils down to types of insulation, air sealing, proper insulation placement and moisture management. As your energy advisor, I would much rather have a conversation and home visit with you before and during your remodel. That way, I can give you advice and ideas before the work is completed, work that could result in your bills increasing and your comfort level decreasing, if not done right.

If you have a remodel or an addition on the horizon, feel free to contact me for ideas and advice on energy efficiency.