By Andy Meredith
It’s probably no surprise that the houses we renovate and remodel weren’t originally built with the word “green” in mind, unless it was referring to a shade tree or the color of the paint. Back in those days, homes were cooled with open windows, high ceilings, and fans, and they were heated with fireplaces, stoves, and blankets.
Today, of course, our buyers want to know that they aren’t going to spend a fortune on heating in the winter and air conditioning in the summer. They want to rest easy knowing that their house isn’t going to give them a huge carbon footprint, so we’ve had to get pretty creative on occasion to help them out without ruining the look and feel of the houses we renovate.
Replace the Windows
Candis and I used to go back and forth about this, but old glass windows usually need to be replaced anyway and getting exact replacements is just as expensive as updating them with more energy-efficient windows. Adding insulated windows that are fitted well into their frames and don’t let in drafts or leak out air-conditioned air will go a long way towards making a home more environmentally sound. These windows look beautiful, and they make the house a lot more energy efficient. It’s a win-win to me.
Insulate the Attic
If the attic isn’t finished, you can easily add a layer of insulation that will keep the house cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. If you’re not tearing out all of the outside-facing walls, you probably aren’t going to reinsulate the whole house, but you can add this much insulation to make it that much more energy efficient. You can also look into inexpensive ways to add insulation wherever possible, even if you can’t do the whole house.
Install a Smart Thermostat
If you aren’t going to add new insulation throughout the house, you might want to install a smart thermostat that heats and cools different zones of the house at different times and can be turned on and off remotely with a smartphone. Smart thermostats are getting more and more common, and one of these can give you a cool modern upgrade to make the house a lot more energy efficient without actually changing its structure.
Install Energy-Efficient Appliances
You’ll also save your buyers money on their utility bills by installing energy-efficient appliances. A new refrigerator and a more efficient oven will go a long way toward reducing energy bills each month, but you can do even more by installing a tankless water heater.
Most of the houses we renovate need new water heaters anyway, so we go with one of the newer tankless versions that use less water and less energy for heat. They give our buyers almost endless amounts of hot water for showers, washing dishes, and laundry, and they’re more eco-friendly and energy efficient than the old-style water heaters. They’re not that expensive, either.
The more of these eco-friendly details you add to your renovations, the more your buyers will be interested in them. Buyers love old homes, but they don’t love the giant bills that come with heating and cooling them. Add these energy-efficient features, and you’ll notice a big difference in how many people want to buy your homes. Plus, you won’t really spend any more on renovating, and in some areas you can actually save money. Going green is an all-around good choice.