Don’t be put off by the high price tags when it comes to energy efficiency. Energy-efficient heating systems and ENERGY STAR® qualified appliances may cost more to install, but will save you money over time. (Plus, they’re good for the environment!) Remember: the most economical house is the one you can afford to live in for many years to come.
Most new homes look great from the outside, but to make sure that your home is truly energy efficient, it’s important to look “behind the walls.” Most experts agree that structural elements, electrical, plumbing, and a tight, well-insulated envelope are critical to your home’s value, energy performance and longevity. This includes the framing package, foundation, insulation, plumbing, wiring, windows and doors. These components are difficult and costly to repair or replace and they impact your energy bills and the initial cost of your heating and cooling systems.
Recycled construction materials like steel, pressed straw paneling, and sawdust and cement composites are not only earth friendly, but they can also help take a significant bite out of costs. Browse architectural salvage warehouses for items like light and plumbing fixtures, fireplace mantels and other assorted architectural treasures.
You’ll find that by combining yesterday’s character with today’s convenience, you’re not only being environmentally responsible, but you’ll see how quickly the savings add up in your pocket. Andersen® 100 Series products are made with our Fibrex® composite material. It’s composed of 40 percent reclaimed wood fiber by weight, most of which is created during the manufacture of Andersen wood windows.
Light fixtures, wall coverings, appliances and flooring are all easy-to-upgrade features that it is tempting to allocate a lot of your budget to. Although important, these short-term expenses are easily replaceable. Allocate more of your budget to some of the bigger, more long-term expenses.
If your budget is tight, consider opting for door hardware, faucets or light fixtures from your local home improvement store. Items like these can be easily changed, and you can always upgrade later on.
While you can postpone frills like fancy chandeliers early on, it doesn’t pay to be cheap when it comes to features that can’t be easily changed. Invest your home-building dollars in quality budget items like Andersen windows and patio doors and other construction materials that are ENERGY STAR® qualified and that will bear the test of time.
Good windows contribute to both the comfort and beauty of your home and are key to controlling heat loss and gain, as well as air leakage. They’re also highly visible from the street, contributing to the curb appeal, and serve as a decorative element from the interior. By selecting heating, cooling and water-heating equipment that is correctly sized and that meets ENERGY STAR® requirements, you’ll save up front and over the long term. Correctly sized heating and cooling systems will also improve the overall comfort of your home.
In addition to the long-term energy savings you’ll enjoy, take advantage of financial incentives that lower your initial investment. Many utilities provide financial incentives for purchasing ENERGY STAR qualified windows and doors. Look for local rebates and other promotions in your area. Also, claim federal tax credits for installing ENERGY STAR qualified windows and doors, or by making other certain energy efficiency improvements to your home.