There are two things that seem to be on everyone’s mind, nowadays. The desire to save money and the dream to make a difference on a large scale by limiting personal impact on the environment.
However, it often seems like those two things can’t go hand-in-hand. When you go to the grocery store, the healthier, more responsibly farmed food is far more expensive. When you go to buy a car, the car that creates fewer emissions is far more expensive. The list goes on and on.
What if we told you that there is one area where you can blend those two things together easily, though? Well, there is.
Your home consumes a ton of energy that is costing you money, and if you take the right steps, you can cut back and save substantial amounts each month, AND you’ll be doing the world a favor by using fewer non-renewable resources.
The best part is that you don’t even have to sacrifice any of the modern luxuries you probably love.
In the following guide, we’re going to go over the best home remodeling ideas you can integrate into your renovation plans to both save you money in the long run and cut back on your energy consumption. Then, we’ll go over some of the key points that you should be aware of when implementing these changes.
Let’s get started with the best energy-efficient home ideas for remodeling!
The Top Energy-Efficient Renovation Ideas
First, let’s talk about the things you can actually do to achieve the effects we’ve talked about. There are two big ones that you need to focus on the most, and the other things we’ll talk about will be great complementary additions.
1: Upgrade Your Windows to Energy Efficient JKR Energy Pro Windows
First and foremost, we’ll get the major renovation options out of the way. The best thing you can do to cut back on your energy usage and bills is to replace all your windows.
While you might think that your windows are the least of your problems, they actually play a big part in whether or not you’re able to maintain the temperature in your home effectively.
Many old windows are simple single-pane windows, or windows made with materials that don’t provide a lot of insulation. That means that, even if you have a great HVAC system, you lose a lot of the cool or hot air generated by that system through your windows; forcing the system to work harder and use more energy than it should have.
That’s a major problem in old homes and even newer homes that simply haven’t been touched in the last ten to twenty years. Glass technology has advanced a lot in a short period of time, and unfortunately, many homeowners haven’t caught up.
On the market today, your best bet is the windows we provide for our customers. These windows are double-pane and triple-pane windows designed to properly insulate your home and make it more energy-efficient.
That means that, when you use your HVAC system, the cold or hot air it generates will stay trapped inside; allowing the HVAC system to work less and even shut off a lot more often without sacrificing your ability to heat or cool your home.
Not only will your HVAC work less, but you’ll be able to live comfortably without it most of the time, too. Instead of having to kick on the air conditioner as soon as the season changes like everyone else, you might be able to enjoy another full month or two of great natural temperatures; saving even more money and energy while you’re at it.
Things to Know About Energy-Efficient Window Replacements:
Of course, there are a couple of things you should know about replacing your windows. Primarily, you should understand the costs, time commitment, and the extent of the renovation.
It’s not a cheap process, but it’s easily more affordable than many other energy-efficient options such as roof replacements.
You can expect to pay around $300 to $500 per window depending on the exact type of window your home requires and a few other factors that impact the installation process.
You should also have a full day set aside to get your windows replaced. Luckily, it’s not a “next-day” kind of service. You and the service provider will agree upon a date. It takes about 30 minutes for each window to be fully replaced, and you should allow for a short time buffer for prep work and cleanup. Depending on the size of the home, it can be a few hours or an all-day affair.
Finally, this isn’t something you only do in one room. When you get your windows replaced, you want to make sure you replace all your windows.
If you have 10 windows in your home, and you only get 2 living room windows replaced, that means you have 8 weak spots in your home’s insulation that will minimize any positive effects you experience. This is something you want to go all in for.
2: Replace Your Sliding Glass Doors with Energy-Efficient Glass
This is the same concept as having your windows replaced, but instead of windows, we’re talking about the sliding patio doors (or sliding glass doors), many people have in partial basements, backyard entryways, and similar areas.
That glass is essentially a big window, and like all your other windows, it’s probably old-fashioned glass that doesn’t insulate well.
This is less of a problem with sliding glass doors because you likely only have one in your home. Fully replacing your windows will create a noticeable effect even if you leave your glass doors alone.
However, plugging up this last major insulation weak spot is still optimal, as it maximizes the positive benefits you’ll get from the glass replacement.
Things to Know About Sliding Glass Door Replacements:
Luckily, a sliding glass door replacement isn’t going to be nearly as costly as a full window replacement. In fact, it’s a great idea to tack it on when you are getting your windows replaced just to get it all done at once, and you won’t notice the price increase too much. Other than that, it’s more or less the same process.
3: Great Additional Options to Truly Boost Your Savings
Replacing your home’s glass, such as windows and sliding glass doors, are the two most valuable energy-efficient renovations you can make. Sure, there are bigger things. You can get your entire roof replaced, for example.
However, the savings provided versus the cost of those massive renovations don’t balance out nearly as favorably as they do with your home’s glass. You simply get a much bigger ROI with this method.
However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t other things you can do that will boost your results even further in conjunction with your windows without costing an arm and a leg.
Now, we can’t go into every tiny detail about the other changes, because we’re not in the industries that cover the changes we’re going to talk about.
So, you’ll want to research your options for each suggestion independently. These are all great ways to compound the benefits of your new windows, though.
1: Switch to Energy-Efficient HVAC Options
You probably noticed that a big part of why you can save money and energy with new windows is because your HVAC appliances won’t have to work as hard. In the summer, your AC can work less and shut off more, and the same is true for your heater during the winter. Well, you can compound that effect by investing in energy-efficient HVAC appliances, as well.
Energy-efficient HVAC appliances don’t work as well when your home just leaks all their hard work into the great outdoors anyway, but once you take care of that insulation issue with your windows, they can be a tremendous money saver every month.
They consume less electricity and natural gas to provide the same temperature-controlling effects, and when combined with energy-efficient windows, they don’t need to turn on even remotely as much.
This should be one of your first investments after you get the replacements we’ve mentioned in the first half of this guide. If you use window or floor units, it’s a cheap upgrade to make, and you can find great options at your local big box store or HVAC service company.
2: Replace the Insulation Seals on the Doors
Your windows and other glass home features are the main culprits of insulation issues unless your home is damaged, but there is another very common issue that causes insulation issues. Your doors can have ineffective seals.
If the seals that surround your doors are old, they’re likely a bit worn and allowing air to enter or escape; even if you can’t feel the draft in a noticeable way. This is especially true if you live in an older home and have never changed those seals. Like window glass technology, seal technology has advanced a lot over the past decade as well.
This is one of the cheapest and easiest energy-efficient home upgrades that you can do yourself or hire a professional without committing to any major expenses, and it helps seal up what is hopefully the last couple of weak spots in your home’s insulation system.
3: Switch to Hardwood Doors
The material your entryway doors are made of is also something you should look at. If you’re putting a lot of money into replacing your windows and upgrading your doors’ seals, then you might as well look at the doors themselves, as well.
Steel and aluminum doors don’t tend to have very good insulation properties, and the same is true for cheap wooden doors that aren’t made from solid hardwood. However, solid hardwood can help insulate your entryways just as effectively as new Energy Pro windows can.
Of course, this isn’t as necessary, because you only have two doors, and the seals are usually the main cause of insulation issues, but taking the time to switch to hardwood doors in conjunction with replacing your windows and seals will give you a nice boost without adding too much of an expense to your budget.
4: Use Energy-Efficient Window Covers
If you follow our advice and upgrade all your windows, you’ll automatically see a major boost in your home’s energy efficiency without taking further steps. However, a very easy way to boost those benefits even further is to equip your windows with energy-efficient window covers.
Even though upgrading your windows will help insulate the air temperature you create with your HVAC system and other appliances, the light will get in.
In the summer months, when you’re dealing with a lot of sunlight and harsh temperatures, having subpar window coverings will allow sunlight to heat up your home and push your air conditioner even harder. You can negate many of the positive effects of your window upgrade that way.
By installing certified energy-efficient window covers, which are just like the shades and blinds you’re used to, you’ll be able to control the effect that natural lighting has on your home. That’s not just important for maintaining the temperature you want, either.
Normal blinds and shades keep some light out, but cellular shades designed to block out light and heat will let you create an unparalleled sense of ambiance, as well.
This is probably the cheapest additional upgrade you could make, too. Even high-end energy-efficient cellular shades are fairly cheap, and they’re easy to install on your own.
How Much Would These Renovations Cost?
In the long term, the cost of these energy-efficient home ideas for renovations isn’t too much of a concern, because you’ll quickly save enough money to make up for it. We’ll talk about that soon. However, we know the upfront cost of implementing everything we’ve talked about can be a bit high for some people. So, how much are you actually looking at?
For the window replacements and the sliding glass door alternatives, assuming you live in an average-sized home with fairly standard windows, you should expect to pay around $5000 to $7000. The price can go up or down depending on how many windows you have.
For the sake of simplicity, assume the sliding glass doors count as two windows, but prices will vary slightly.
If you switch to mounted or floor-based cooling solutions, you’ll probably need another $1000 to purchase the units, but they last for years if treated properly. We assume your home has a central heating unit.
The energy-efficient shades we mentioned would only cost a couple hundred to outfit the entire home, and the door seals would be less than $100 even if you used the best materials possible.
Overall, you’re looking at roughly $10,000 if you choose all high-end options. Don’t let that number scare you off, though.
How Much Can You Save with These Upgrades?
That last estimate for a full renovation might seem staggering, but in the long term, it can really pay off.
First, you have to consider the main upgrade. Assuming you have old, single-pane, windows, you can save $500 per year with that upgrade alone. That’s assuming you live like the average American and don’t practice an energy-efficient routine such as turning electronics off, limiting shower time, etc. In 20 years, the windows would pay for everything without making any other changes, but that’s not the only money-saving change you made.
Energy-efficient air conditioners alone use 30% less energy than a normal central air unit. That’s a 30% cut to your bill, too. That’s not including heating. On top of that, your upgraded windows will make you use those appliances even less. So, that 30% figure is closer to 50% or more when you factor in that those appliances will be off more often instead of running all the time.
New door seals, new entryway doors, and energy-efficient shades can add a little bit of savings, too. They’re usually not too noticeable on their own, but when you combine them all with the major changes we suggested, the savings add up.
When you add it all up and think about the long term, you can easily pay off this entire major renovation in less than 7 years just with the savings you’ve earned. Considering all these changes increase the effectiveness of each other, and that number goes even lower.
Then, you have to consider that the materials used to make these changes last more than a decade at the very least with proper care. The savings alone can pay off this renovation and then put a substantial amount of your income back in your pocket without you having to do anything else, and that’s all assuming you don’t adopt other major energy-saving habits.
The initial investment for energy-efficient windows and accessories seems high, but it’s actually a great investment with a long-term ROI you’re sure to notice.
Do These Upgrades Really Help the Environment?
We’ve talked a lot about money throughout this guide, because the savings are extremely noticeable, but as people become more conscious about the additional benefits of eco-friendly windows and other home upgrades, we realize that a big part of the motivation to make energy-efficient changes is actually a little less selfish.
Luckily, there is plenty of evidence that making changes like we’ve described here will have a positive impact; especially if people start to implement these changes in mass.
When you insulate your home more effectively and cut back on your appliance usage, you use fewer resources. You’ll burn less natural gas conserve electricity, and create a little less demand for the production of those things.
As such, the power plants that supply those resources don’t have to use the destructive manufacturing means necessary to create those resources. On your own, the impact isn’t too significant, but it adds up.
A lot of people are already making this change and creating a meaningful impact, but as more people such as yourself hop on board, the benefits just keep multiplying.
What to Expect from These Renovations
Most of the processes we’ve talked about are extremely simple. Outside of the glass installations, you can do everything else on your own.
Resealing your doors is a simple task you can get right with just a few minutes of browsing YouTube, switching to energy-efficient mounted air conditioners is as easy as plugging them in, and using proper energy-efficient shades is just like hanging up any other window covers unless you go with a motorized unit, and that’s as simple as attaching brackets to the wall.
The most important part of the process, which requires legitimate professional help, is getting new windows and sliding glass doors installed.
It also tends to take the most effort. In general, you’ll need to research companies in your area capable of offering the best energy-efficient windows possible, contact a few, narrow your selection down to the best option, and then contact them to get a quote and set a date for the project. Then, you have to make sure you’re available for the day to give the team access and generally oversee things.
Luckily, you’re not doing anything hands-on beyond potentially moving your pets to safe areas and ensuring your private items are out of sight. Your main job is to make sure everyone gets access to the areas they need to perform the installations.
For the most part, this is a lot less time-consuming, requires almost no physical effort, and the majority of it can be done with just a few hours of work.
Where to Get Help with Your Energy-Efficient Renovation
This concludes the list of our energy-efficient home ideas for remodeling, so if you’re ready to save money and do a good deed while you’re at it, you don’t just have to pull the trigger on initiating the project; you have to make sure you have the right team on your side, as well.
Most of the things we talked about can be done on your own, but when you go to replace your windows and sliding glass doors, you need the #1-rated team for the job with a reputation for excellence. Contact us whenever you’re ready for a home remodeling project, and we’ll take care of all your window-related problems, providing you with an energy-efficient home to enjoy for years to come!