Adding Efficiency to an Older Home

by Connie Yost-Schwerdt 02/02/2020

Photo by Vivint Solar from Pexels

When your pocketbook determines you can’t afford a new, energy-efficient home, you can still satisfy your preferences by upgrading an older house. Try these options for improving energy efficiency in your home.

  1. Apply for the FHA’s Energy-Efficient Mortgage program. With an EEM, you can finance an already energy-efficient home or use funds for certified home improvements that promote responsible energy use. Contact your lender to see if your state participates in this federal program.

  2. Ask your utility provider for an energy audit. Most utilities offer this as a free service to customers. They’ll check for leakage around doors and windows, outlets and vent pipes and make suggestions for improvement, repair or replacement.

  3. Have your home inspector check your attic spaces. You'll gain knowledge about how deep your insulation should be to keep your house warm in the winter and cool in the summer.

  4. Hire an HVAC professional to inspect your furnace and air conditioning, ductwork, and airflow. If your ducts need cleaning, employ a service to handle that. Not only will you have improved circulation, but you'll also reduce allergens, and lower your energy costs.

  5. Trade out traditional toilets for low-flow models. Add aerators and flow restrictors to faucets and showerheads to reduce water consumption.

  6. Install solar-operated power vents to your attic to expel heat in the summer. Consider a solar-powered water heater too. And, if your roof can handle it, install solar panels to boost your electrical power. Many states offer rebates for solar panel installation, so check to see what’s available in your area.

  7. Install a programmable thermostat to help you conserve energy when you are away from home.

If you have a larger improvement budget, consider big-ticket items such as a geothermal heat pump, a residential wind turbine, or a fuel cell. You’ll find that on-going tax credits for these items can save you money over the years. If your municipal codes allow it, add a roof garden or mini-ecosystem to cover your existing roof. These systems retain moisture and insulate your home from heat or cold.

Your property specialist can help you determine which homes lend themselves to these upgrades. They'll introduce you to mortgage lenders that specialize in energy-efficient loan products.

About the Author
Author

Connie Yost-Schwerdt

Connie Schwerdt is a native of Pennsylvania. She attended college in Southern California. She has lived throughout the United States, including Hawaii and abroad over the years. She made her home in Hilton Head in the 1990’s.

What you should know about Connie is that, she believes wholeheartedly in the unique, personal nature of real estate. She is a real estate professional and has been a licensed for over 17 years in South Carolina, and is also licensed in Georgia. As a seasoned professional she understands that when she is working with buyers and sellers during the real estate process, the difference is in the details.

She has worked for National & Regional Builders selling new homes for 12 years. She excelled at assisting buyers from all over the United States and was the top producing agent for the builder here in Hilton Head, SC and Charlotte, NC. This has won her numerous awards. Connie moved from Builder Sales into General Brokerage in 2010.

She has extensive real estate background as well as in depth knowledge of local communities, home values and price trends. In Connie’s practice of Real Estate, she is known for her great customer service, her ability to quickly interpret her client’s needs & wants and her consistent communication with all parties involved in a transaction. She focuses on the long term when it comes to buying or selling, not the short term. She is extremely knowledgeable as to exactly what is essential to successfully completing a transaction. She is never content to do just enough, but rather compelled to exceed your expectations and foster a pleasant real estate experience.