NYC and NJ Home Improvement: Making Your Home More Energy Efficient
April 5, 2010
Just about everyone these days is concerned about ways to lower their electricity and gas bills—whether you live in a 2 bedroom on the Upper East Side or a sprawling ranch in Bergen County, NJ. And as the fuel crisis is coinciding with the housing crisis in this country, more and more people are remodeling their homes rather than moving to another location. These New Jersey and New York City home improvement projects provide the perfect opportunity to not only give your home a fresher look, but also offer a chance to save money on long term utility costs with energy efficient building strategies.
Seal Your Home’s Thermal Envelope
The first and most important step in making sure you’re home is efficient is to ensure that you have a tight seal around your home—also called the thermal envelope–aren’t merely leaking heated or cooled air to the outside. Make sure doors and windows are properly sealed. Depending on the age of your windows, this may mean replacing windows with newer more energy efficient models.
Adding spay-in insulation to traditionally inaccessible areas like attics and crawl spaces can reduce energy use by 15-20%; spray-in insulation can fill in small gaps and cracks that are oftentimes invisible to the eye.
Use Alternative Energy Sources
No one likes the idea of relying on fossil fuels anymore: they leave a massive carbon footprint and prices are still skyrocketing. Luckily, there are several sources of alternative energy open to suburban homeowners such as solar heat New Jersey geothermal heating and cooling, and wind energy.
In the past, many homeowners resisted installing NY solar panels because they were quite expensive and inefficient but newer solar technology has made this infinite resource much more accessible to home.
NJ Geothermal technology is an even more accessible and reliable source of energy for heating and cooling. NYC Geo-thermal heating and cooling technology uses the ground, rather than outside air, to provide heating and cooling. The process is relatively simple: pipes or coils are installed beside your home in one of four ground loop styles—vertical, horizontal, slinky and pond. A liquid is then piped through the loop to pick up heat from the ground during the winter or to deliver heat to the ground in summer.
Another developing source of alternative energy is wind power. It used to be that wind energy only came from massive wind turbines, but residential-scale wind turbines are starting to appear on the market and may be a viable option for some suburbanites. This newer generation of wind turbines, which convert wind power into electricity, are quiet, durable and can connect to your home’s power grid. You’ll need to investigate your area’s zoning restrictions first, since regulations vary from state to state.
Install Energy Efficient Appliances
Installing energy efficient appliances can dramatically reduce the amount of energy you use and therefore lower your monthly bills.
Newer Energy Star energy efficient refrigerators can reduce your energy use by 10%. These newer energy efficient refrigerators have better insulation and more efficient compressors, as well as more precise temperature and defrost mechanisms, but some are more efficient than others. In general, a top freezer model uses 10-25% less energy than side-by-side models and forgo the automatic ice-maker since it can increase your fridge’s energy use by 14-20%.
Water and energy efficient dishwashers can likewise make quite an impact on your energy bills: an Energy Star qualified dishwasher could save you up to $30 a year in utility costs. These dishwashers use less energy and less water—which is as good for the environment as it is for your wallet.