Green Home Renovation

Larry Summer has actually seen need for energy-efficient windows leap 400 percent in the previous 12 years.

As co-owner of K&H Windows and Exteriors in Arvada, Colorado, he works with house owners every day seeking to cut their energy expenses without minimizing comfort.
" With the high rising energy expenses, saving energy is on everyone's mind," he stated.
Throughout the house renovation and landscaping markets, companies are concentrating on conserving energy and water as they work to update area homes.

Kimberly Neal, co-owner of Elkhorn Heating and Air Conditioning in Lakewood, stated more customers every year are looking for energy cost savings in their HVAC systems.

Nationally, homeowners in 2015 conserved $12 billion on their electric costs by changing to energy effective products, according to Energy Star, a federal government program that rates and promotes energy-efficient items. The cost savings in greenhouse gas emissions are estimated to equal the emissions of 23 million cars.
When considering energy savings, summer said windows are often the ideal place to begin.

" One of the least effective locations of any house is the windows," he said. "You have insulation in walls, but in many windows there isn't really anything."

He said house owners can save 25 to 40 percent on their energy expenses year-round by changing windows with energy-efficient double- and triple-pane windows and vinyl frames.
To be sure, energy-efficient windows are considerably more expensive. Some approximate it can take up to 20 years to get back the cost of replacing windows. Nevertheless, Summer stated the added comfort deserves the extra expense.

Another way to minimize energy bills is adding insulation. Most homeowners install vinyl siding for its low upkeep, it has an included benefit when insulation is positioned behind the brand-new siding.

" A quality siding product with great insulation can make a considerable distinction," said Mark Woodward, owner of Advance Exteriors in Golden.

Woodward's company focuses on siding and energy-efficient windows. He said sets up more double- and triple-pane windows each year - generally for the energy savings.

" That's 99 percent of the factor individuals do these types of tasks," Woodward stated.
Neal, of Elkhorn Heating and Air Conditioning, said the next action for homeowners after insulating windows and walls is to update the HVAC systems and water heaters.

She stated up until about five years earlier, homeowners usually waited until their heaters and air conditioning system were broken in the past buying a replacement. Now people understand they can begin saving cash by working however changing an aging system.
" More individuals are fixing furnaces prior to they totally die," Neal said. "There are a lot of heating systems out there in the 40 to 60 percent effective variety."


To name a few ingenious energy-efficient products, Elkhorn sells dual-fuel heating systems that use electricity for heating down to about 35 degrees. Gas starts at lower temperature levels, however with moderate temperatures the majority of the time in Colorado, she stated the efficient electric system is adequate many of the time.

Her firm also sells Rinnai tankless hot water heater that save gas by just warming water when required instead of continuously heating a tank of water.

Lastly she suggests developing custom heating and cooling zones in the house. These systems save energy by heating only portions of the house that are in use.

Elkhorn will have working displays of a zoning system at the Colorado Home and Garden Show.

House owners can likewise take their conservation principles outside. Homeowners can make outdoor modifications to save water. Dan Lee, owner of Black Forest Landscape Design Studio in Arvada, specializes in renovating backyards to minimize water usage.

He suggests hardy shrubs, Xeriscaping and other concepts for replacing thirsty sod. Especially on sloped areas that deal with a lot of overflow and harsh sunshine.

" We can save thousands of gallons on south-facing hills by terracing, putting in a nice rock wall and some plants," he stated.

Jason Lee of New Creation Hardscapes in Arvada, stated house owners can definitely save water by replacing water-intensive yards with concrete or stone outdoor patios.

" If some are concerned that would definitely be a choice," he stated.

Doug Ratcliffe of Colorado Water Features in Arvada stated the waterfalls and other moving-water landscapes he installs are not normally considered conservation procedures. He said market analysis shows water usage is usually reduced when water features are installed.

" Even though there is a high evaporation rate in Colorado, exactly what the industry says is that it still uses less water than if the exact same location is grass," Ratcliffe stated.

Throughout the home remodeling market, water and energy savings are on the rise. Woodward, of Advance Exteriors, said he doesn't expect the pattern to reverse anytime quickly. more helpful hints

" Anything we can do to minimize energy costs is huge and is just getting larger," he said. "Gone are the days of inexpensive energy and they aren't coming back."

- The Consumer Federation of America has 10 methods to cut home energy expenses at www.buyenergyefficient.org.

- Perform a free online energy audit on your home at http://hes.lbl.gov/
- Find lists of energy-saving tips on the federal Department of Energy Web site at www1.eere.energy.gov/ consumer/tips/.
- The National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden has information about renewable resource choices for property owners, in addition to regional workshops and other events, at www.nrel.gov.
- Xcel Energy has info about conserving energy for both house owners and organisations at www.xcelenergy.com.
- Energy Star, a federal program that rates and promotes energy-efficient products, has an extensive Web site, www.energystar.gov.

This story was initially released in the Golden Transcript.

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