When you’re thinking about remodeling or even just updating your home, one of the big questions you’ll want to ask yourself is, “how green should I go?”
Because every remodeling project is as different as the family it’s for, there’s no simple answer. Some families want added square footage to accommodate a growing family. Others look at remodeling their empty nest to make their golden years more enjoyable. Updating a kitchen, revamping a bathroom, finishing the basement — all add value to your home and your lifestyle.
But no matter what your remodeling goals are, saving dollars month after month on your energy bills ought to be one of them, especially when you can do it with hardly any extra cost. And of course, there are lots of families that place energy efficiency and environmental stewardship close to the top of their list.
So, before you plan your remodeling project, look into these three options that can help you get a greener home.
The Home Energy Audit
By Erin Mathe, Xcel Energy
Homeowners are often unsure where to start when it comes to energy efficiency. Lights? Windows? Appliances? How much should you spend and when will you recoup your costs? Xcel Energy’s experts can help. A Standard Home Energy Audit includes a visit from a contracted energy expert who identifies energy efficiency opportunities and helps you develop a plan of action.
A Home Energy Audit begins with a review of your attic, insulation, doors, windows, furnace or boiler, appliances and more. It identifies energy waste from things like:
• Drafty windows
• Insufficient insulation
• Humidity problems
• Inefficient appliances
• Poor ventilation
• Inefficient heating and cooling systems
The Standard Audit (including Blower Door Test) usually takes about two or three hours and is conducted at a time convenient for you. Audit results may include recommendations for new appliances, or upgraded heating or cooling equipment. When you choose to make these improvements, Xcel Energy may be able to help you reduce your costs.
Xcel Energy offers three types of audits: a Home Walkthrough ($30), Standard Audit ($60) and Standard Audit with Infrared ($100). A Standard Audit or Standard Audit with Infrared is required to qualify for the Home Performance with ENERGY STAR® rebate program.
To schedule a Home Energy Audit, call 1-800-895-4999. Learn more at www.responsiblebynature.com.
Home Performance with ENERGY STAR®
By Erin Mathe, Xcel Energy
The Home Performance with ENERGY STAR® program is the perfect next step if you need to make multiple improvements to your home. Install three required improvements, choose at least two from the list of options, and get rebates for all of them.
Eligible energy-saving improvements include measures such as:
• Adding insulation
• Replacing your old furnace with new high-efficiency furnace
• Installing an ENERGY STAR®-certified thermostat
You save energy, get rebates for the work you’ve completed, and recoup the remaining cost in energy savings over time, all by making your whole house more energy efficient. A full list of energy saving measures and corresponding rebates is available at www.responsiblebynature.com.
MN Green Path Certification from BATC
This common-sense, affordable green certification program takes your project one step further down the Green Path. With every MN Green Path Certified Remodeling project, your commitment to an improved level of energy efficiency, indoor environmental quality, water and resource management is certified and documented with your own Green Path Home Performance Report (HPR).
The HPR will show you and any future homeowners the energy and green features that were built into your home during the remodeling process. If a blower door test was performed, the HPR will also include its Home Energy Rating System (HERS) score.
Research shows that homes with certified energy features sell more quickly and at a premium. And while you’re probably not thinking about resale yet, it’s just one more reason to consider MN Green Path Certification.
For more information about MN Green Path for Remodeling, visit them online at ParadeofHomes.org.
The 2013 Fall Parade of Homes Remodelers Showcase is sponsored by Marvin Windows and Doors.