You can do many things in your home to reduce your future use of both energy and water. All are good to do from a green or conservation perspective. But… they all cost money and if you do them simply to save money, you may never recoup your initial investment.
When you’re doing a remodel you’ve ripped part of your house apart anyway (let’s say you’re doing a bathroom remodel), and that is the time to incorporate these strategies. The incremental cost of saving future energy and water is very small at this point, and the future pay off is huge.
A short list of ideas is:
- Add insulation, while the walls are open.
- Install “zone” heating such as under floor heating for your bathroom (if you install under floor heating, make sure you insulate under the heating element to keep as much heat as possible in the house).
- Seal all air gaps (with expanding foam), such as where wires and pipes protrude through the sub-floor or through studs, as well as where they are simply gaps of any type.
- Install energy efficient lighting, such as airtight recessed light cans and LED fixtures.
- Change single pane windows for double pane windows with Low E and high insulation.
- Install low low (Water Sense) fixtures (toilets, faucets, shower head, etc).
- Install a dual flush toilet (low flush for liquid waste, high flush for solid waste).
- Insulate your hot water pipes.
- Install a insulating jacket on your hot water heater.
- Install a small “point of use” tank less hot water heater.
A more complete list can be found here.
Water for Landscaping
Many people do not realize that for a standard suburban home, half of all the water the home uses is used to water the plants outside. Planting low water plants makes a big difference, and there are many plants varieties to choose from. The California Native Garden Foundation does a great job of providing information on low water gardens. They also conduct classes at a facility near downtown San Jose.
When you’re planning your next remodeling project, please contact us for a no obligation consultation.
Are there any exceptions to this rule?
In a manner of speaking, there is one, and it is…. Do not skimp on ventilation. Do not thing a bathroom exhaust fan consumes energy. Although it does, you need to move moist air from the bathroom into the attic as quickly as reasonably possible. Although it is wasteful to spend money on energy you don’t need, you NEED to keep your wettest room dry to prevent potential water damage.