Custom Home Builders VA:What can I do to increase the energy efficiency of my current home?
Most advisers agree that energy prices are going to continue to go up. If you look at the possibility of further devaluation of the dollar combined with the possibility of draconian energy legislation, the opportunity of extraordinary escalation of energy prices exists.
Many Americans are living in homes larger than they need. Homes that were built for size rather than quality.
In my opinion, getting prepared for high energy costs is a critical component of any preparedness strategy.
First do all the conventional things to make your home as energy efficient as possible.
Add insulation, upgrade windows and doors (while you are doing this it is an excellent opportunity to upgrade your security), change light bulbs, upgrade appliances, install water heater blankets. If the plumbing pipes have relatively short runs it is very likely that a propane fired tank-less water heater would make sense.
Secondly, consider your heating system. This is an intensive area of energy for many homes.
We recommend wood-fired outdoor boilers where feasible. These units circulate hot water and can be used for many heating applications including home heat, domestic hot water, greenhouse radiant heat and swimming pools, to name a few.
If you have a heat pump, a propane furnace installed with the heat pump is a very good combination. This allows for an energy efficient propane furnace to do the heating when the heat pump is out of its operating range. While there are very efficient and comfortable heat pumps, the back-up heating strips on heat pumps are very energy intensive. Propane is still primarily produced in the United States.
Also, we have had very good experiences with geo-thermal. While it is still electric based, it provides an excellent source of heating in mild climates and is incredibly energy efficient.
We always recommend some alternate options in heating, so there is some source of heat in the event of grid failures. For example, if you have a geo-thermal heating system, install a wood stove as the back-up.
There are a number of structural changes or modifications which could result in much greater energy efficiency. These would include adding a vestibule or windbreak if you have children or go in and out of the house a good bit. You might be able to earth berm part of the north side of your house, or add a solar room to the south side of the home, just to name a few possibilities.