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Energy Efficiency for Older Homes
We so often take for granted how lucky we are to have things like precisely controlled temperature in our homes. Back in the day, people relied heavily on their clothing to control their temperature, because without modern insulation and vapour barriers in their homes, moisture and air inside the house moved effortlessly between outside and inside.
Owning an older home can be a real luxury – discovering the little quirks in a home’s design from that time, benefitting from larger room sizes, and just knowing you are living in a home that has history can feel really special. But consideration must be taken when it comes to keeping your homes original features intact while keeping you are your family comfortable, and enhancing the energy efficiency in your home. After all, everyone has heard the rumours about how high energy bills can be for an older home. But why sacrifice your dreams of enjoying your little piece of history? The important thing to do is to have a professional conduct an energy assessment of your home and help guide you on the steps to take to increase your homes energy efficiency.
How to Maximize Your Historic Home’s Original Energy Saving Features – the Need for an Energy Audit
The truth is the older homes boast inherently sustainable features. Out of sheer necessity, these houses were designed typically to be highly compatible with their environments. Prior to the 20th century, many homeowners could not depend on comprehensive and/or fully automated, mechanized, controlled ventilation, cooling and heating systems. They simply didn’t exist. Rather, older homes incorporated several manual or passive features that responded greatly to the need for ventilation, cooling and heating. For instance, trees were planted strategically to offer summer shade. Furthermore, windows had functional exterior and/or interior shutters to adjust their solar heat gain.
Energy assessments offer the best way of identifying air leaks within your older home. It will be worth it to hire a professional energy auditor to conduct a comprehensive assessment – especially now when there are rebates not just on energy related renovations but also on the energy assessment itself. When a certified auditor conducts such an assessment, the expert goes beyond identifying the obvious energy upgrades. They will create a roadmap of how best and where to initiate improvements in your older home.
The following are some of the tips to ensure your historic home is energy efficient:
- Update insulation (or add insulation to areas that were previously neglected)
- Seal, seal and seal!
- Add a programmable thermostat
- Upgrade the HVAC system
- Upgrade the water heater
As with any home – there is room for improvement when it comes to energy efficiency. And your pocketbook will benefit in the long term with decreased monthly bills. Just make sure that when you are making your improvements, you’re giving your historic home the special consideration it deserves.