Going Green / Sustainability
The Connelly Group is committed providing cost effective and comprehensive solutions for reducing energy bills and improving indoor comfort levels in an intelligent/creative manner that benefits our client's budget and the earth's natural resources while building structurally sound and eye pleasing finished projects that make owners go WOW.
Going Green Without Going Broke
With all the talk about rising energy costs, going green, and reducing carbon footprints on everyone's mind. An article for cost effective energy strategies around the house is a timely topic. I have seen many attempts by homeowners dealing with these issues over the years that make little or no financial sense. I was watching a show recently and the paper products people argued the green benefits of their products because they do not fill up the landfills with plastic. Than the plastic people argued the green benefits of their products because they do not cut down trees, listening to all this green talk has just become folly for marketing campaigns that are shaped by companies to gain results that favor their products. To find out more about going green we took two home energy audit courses recently and discovered that most things people do around the house make little financial sense.
Here are some common misconceptions that make little or no financial sense for homeowners of a typical house.
- Replacing Windows. It is more cost effective to seal/weather strip windows and doors plus install storm windows/doors than replace the windows as a typical house will save approximately $28 a year in utility bills and it can take 14-28 years to get a return on the investment.
- Replacing Appliances such as furnaces/dishwashers for energy star rated equipment. A high efficiency furnace cost approximately $6000 installed, a mid efficient furnace cost approximately $3500 installed, and the total energy savings per year for the energy star furnace is approximately $168. The $2500 difference divided by $168 takes close to 15 years just to break even.
- Tank-less Water Heaters. A traditional 40 gallon water heater is rated at 35,000 – 40,000 BTU's, it would take a tank-less water heater sized at 200,000 BTU's to provide similar amounts of hot water. A tank-less water heater at 200,000 BTU's saves approximately $2-$4 a month over a traditional water heater. The cost to install a 40 gallon water heater is approximately $600; the cost to install a tank-less water heater is approximately $2000 and would take approximately 41-83 years to break even.
Cost Effective Energy Saving Strategies Around the House
- Air Sealing the building envelope, weather stripping/caulking around windows/doors, sealing mechanical chases and other areas that plumbing/heating/electrical equipment penetrates flooring. Fire blocking between floor joists/framing in basements of older houses that have balloon framing and installing fire boxes over recessed lights in the attic area. Keep in mind that if a house is sealed to tight a heat recovery ventilator may have to be installed to help prevent indoor air quality issues.
- Ceiling/ Wall Insulation to 6 inches in ceilings, 90% of heat transfer is stopped in the first 6 inches of insulation and the cost to add additional insulation takes too long to recover the investment for the small difference the added insulation has on a home's energy bill. Insulating over attic hatches and pull down stairs and air sealing ceiling penetrations that separate the attic such as recessed lights/ceiling fans is very cost effective.
- Programmable Thermostats can reduce energy savings by programming settings to control temperatures while the occupants are sleeping or set times they are not home. It is recommended to not reduce/increase the temperatures by more than 10 degrees as a wide a temperature swing can negate energy saved as the equipment works longer to make up the difference.
- Keeping Water Heaters off Basement Floors. The basement floor is typically 55 degrees and draws heat off the water heater that constantly has to keep reheating the water.
I hope this information proves helpful as there are ways to Go Green without going Broke. To find out the best ways to button up your house The Connelly Group has a link on our website www.theconnellygroup.net that will allow homeowners to perform a free energy audit sponsored by the US Department of Energy, a copy of utility bills will be needed.
This is just one more example of The Connelly Group taking charge of the Construction Management and General Contracting Industries by providing clients with meaningful information to get the biggest bang for their energy buck.