Q: We had new roofing and windows installed last winter, but would like to ensure that our home is as energy efficient as possible. What advice do you have?
So you’ve installed new roofing and windows and now you’re just waiting for the energy savings to start piling up, right? Of course you are!
These products are vital in keeping your home energy-efficient and your utility bills down. The unfortunate truth, though, is that these two products are not the end of the road when it comes to making your home energy efficient.
Homeowners often do not consider their Home Energy Score, a national rating system developed by the U.S. Department of Energy. This rating system takes into account a home’s structure, heating, cooling, and hot water systems. The idea is built around how the temperatures of the interior and exterior of your home interact with your windows, doors, and walls and determine its energy efficiency.
At Coastal Windows & Exteriors, we believe in taking the Whole-Home Approach. We look at the home as an entire package that needs to work in uniform in order to function properly. A term people generally associate with this is the Thermal Envelope, and that’s the first part of determining what your Home Energy Score is.
The Thermal Envelope
The Thermal Envelope is how your home holds the controlled air inside against the external air attempting to breach your internal and external walls, windows, exterior doors, and roofing. At Coastal Windows & Exteriors we only utilize products that get you the closest to completely sealing your thermal envelope:
We utilize Exterior Portfolio’s Vinyl Craneboard Solid Core Siding. Craneboard is an insulated siding that blocks a large portion of heat or cold air from passing through your exterior and interior walls. Many types of siding are just the exterior hard shell that gives basic protection and aesthetic and don’t provide the extra energy efficiency. Our lifetime siding goes above and beyond, providing a wood grain look (if that’s your preferred style) while providing maximum energy efficiency and helping keep down the energy bills.
Here in New England, we exclusively use the Soft-Lite Element line for our customers. Windows need to be sealed as well as they can in order to provide the energy efficiency to help your home’s overall energy bills. In production, it’s been determined that the more a human handles the window in the building process, the more likely the window is to be faulty. Soft-Lite eliminates human interaction in production almost entirely to assure the best quality windows – the best seals you’ll find. Assure the best energy efficiency for your home in New England.
Doors are very similar to windows in their need to seal a space that opens and closes, and this is most important for your exterior doors, as they cover a large area for breach in your home. For our Boston entry doors we use the ProVia line, offering both fiberglass and steel options that look like real wood. In energy efficiency they come packed with…
- Glass packages and weather stripping created to keep the cold air or heat from transferring between planes
- Foam filled core greatly increases energy efficiency
- Heavy duty extruded threshold that does not warp or rot – provides excellent energy efficiency
The roof is one of the most vital parts of the Thermal Envelope, and that’s because it sits on top of everything else in your home. You can have the best air sealing around all of your walls (the siding, doors, and windows), but if the top of your home is letting out air, it can be very costly for you. This bodes especially true for the winter months when heat rises. You want to make sure the envelope is sealed and all of your heat doesn’t just escape naturally moving up. Our vendors GAF Roofing make sure to provide a full roofing system that protects your roof in multiple ways. There are multiple layers that go down to ensure a roof where the shingles last a lifetime and your home has a final seal on it that won’t let air escape.
The Less Obvious
You might be wondering how you find out your Home Energy Score in combination with your current Thermal Envelope. To do this, you want to get a Home Energy Audit – a team of trained assessors with the right equipment come gauge how your home is using energy – which you can go here to set one up! Setting up a Home Energy Audit is the next step in…
- Making your home more comfortable
- Lowering your utility costs
- Making your home more environmentally friendly
- Establishing which projects you need to undertake to achieve maximum energy efficiency and ROI
After a Home Energy Audit, you’re going to be looking at your options with the information they’ve give you. In addition to the large home renovations in the Thermal Envelope, here are the pain points that you might need to address:
It might seem simple, but good insulation in your home is going to keep it cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter, while cutting down your electricity/gas bill. Insulation mainly plays a role in your…
There are different types of insulation that control the energy in your home a certain way, and they should be installed by a certified contractor. Without proper insulation, the heat or cold air in your home can filter through the walls and ceilings in your home much easier, regardless of the nice energy efficient windows or doors you just purchased. Make sure your home is insulated correctly to ensure the best return on all other energy efficient investments.
HVAC – Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning
Up to half of the energy in your home goes toward Heating and Cooling. This is the system that brings everything together when looking at your Home Energy Score and Thermal Envelope. An efficient HVAC system is going to make sure the air currents in your home are running to the places they should in the most efficient ways possible. The expense is small compared to some of the larger renovation projects you might be considering, and a Home Energy Audit can be a good way to judge what your next steps should be with it. You can look at getting an estimate on a new system here.
Another great way to help cut down or eliminate some energy bills is to consider solar for your roof. Solar energy is a very common practice in New England, and it’s also a green energy source that is mutually beneficial. Get an estimate on the solar panels for your roof and take that first step toward a greener home.
This might not be something you consider when thinking about energy costs, but lighting can really make a different. The energy consumption and heat lighting can put out might be pulling harder at your energy bills than you thought. It’s also fun to consider different types of options. It’s best to have a professional come to your home to see what your current lighting is doing and go over some of the possible options if you choose to go new.
Electric Window Shades
This is a bit of a new idea for most people, but it’s one that can help control the heat coming into your home. Natural light coming in can add great atmosphere to the home and an overall more pleasing aesthetic, but it can also bring in several degrees if in the middle of the day with the sun beaming down. Having electric window shades that you can program on a timer to close during those hours no one is home, while not having to hassle with closing them and opening them before and after work, can greatly affect your energy bills.
While not directly affecting your energy bills, we include tree service into our Whole Home Approach because it can increase the aesthetic and overall curb appeal of your home. While just one piece of landscaping, keeping a specific tree tame or clearing an open area for your new windows and siding to shine through can make all of the difference.
The Complete Package
There isn’t a perfect first step in achieving the most energy efficient home. It’s best to go with whatever possibly needs the most work done outside of just energy concerns, and we’re happy to take that into account when you go forward with your Home Energy Audit. This is the best place to start if you’re unsure of which move to make next. Our partners will be happy to break down what your priorities need to be to reach that complete home you’re looking for. Every aspect is important, so let us know today what you’d like to get started with and the home renovation projects you want to get underway!