This topic is of growing concern as energy costs continue to climb, and the average homeowner is becoming more focused on indoor air quality and home comfort. Retrofitting an existing home poses many challenges that are much harder to overcome when compared to the ‘clean slate’ that exists when we are able to design and build a new home from scratch. The most challenging aspects are improving air tightness around existing features and providing continuous insulation across existing building layers. Renovating an existing home to be high-performance requires careful planning and consideration of a variety of factors. Here are some steps to follow when renovating a home to be high-performance:
1. Assess the current state of the home: Before beginning any renovation work, it’s important to assess the current state of the home, including its insulation, air sealing, HVAC systems, appliances, and lighting. This will help to identify areas of improvement and guide the renovation process. A ‘blower door test’ is a common method used to establish the existing home’s air tightness levels.
2. Improve insulation and air sealing: Improving insulation and air sealing can help to reduce energy consumption and improve indoor comfort. Consider adding insulation to the exterior, wall cavities, floors, and ceilings, and sealing any gaps or cracks that allow air to leak in or out of the home.
3. Upgrade HVAC systems: Upgrading HVAC systems to more energy-efficient models can help to reduce energy consumption and improve indoor comfort. Consider options such as high-efficiency hybrid furnaces, air source heat pumps, as well as smart thermostats and energy management systems.
4. Replace appliances and lighting: Replacing old, inefficient appliances and lighting with energy-efficient models can help to reduce energy consumption and lower utility bills. Look for appliances and lighting that have earned energy certifications, which indicates that they meet strict energy efficiency standards.
5. Consider renewable energy systems: Adding renewable energy systems, such as solar panels or geothermal heating and cooling, can help to reduce reliance on traditional energy sources and promote sustainability. Make sure to properly size and design these systems to meet the energy needs of the home.
6. Incorporate smart technology: Smart technology can help to optimize energy use, improve indoor comfort, and promote sustainability. Consider options such as smart thermostats, lighting and shading systems, and home automation systems.
7. Focus on indoor air quality: Indoor air quality can have a significant impact on health and well-being. Consider options such as high-quality air filtration systems, natural ventilation strategies, and low toxicity building materials.
8. Monitor and maintain the high-performance features: Once the renovation is complete, it’s important to monitor and maintain the high-performance features to ensure that they continue to function effectively. Regular inspections and maintenance can help to identify and address any issues before they become more serious.
By following these steps, you can renovate your home to be high-performance, which will help to reduce energy consumption, improve indoor comfort, and promote sustainability.
Contact us today to get started on your next High Performance project.