2022 Boise Idaho Real Estate Blog

Home Remodels, Retrofits Are Key To An Energy-Efficient Future

Main Boise Home Builder
Industry research indicates that even the most aggressive efficiency goals for new homes won?t make a dent in overall energy consumption.

Instead, remodeling and retrofitting the nation’s older homes is by far the more efficient solution.

Federal Department of Energy estimates that about 21 percent of the energy we use is consumed by homes: for heating, cooling and electrical appliances, from stoves and refrigerators to televisions, computers and other small appliances.  
The vast majority of America’s homes were built before 1990, long before modern energy codes were created. According to the 2007 American Community Survey conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau, the total number of housing units in the U.S. was 127,895,430. 74.1% or 94,801,618 were built before 1990. 13.9% or 17,828,183 were built between 1990 and 2000. 8.6% or 11,046,721 were built between 2000 and 2004. And 3.3% or 4,218,908 were built after 2005. 
According to government data, the homes built before 2000 represent 88% of the total number of homes in the U.S. and consume 19.59% of the total energy we use or 90.6% of the energy consumed by homes. The homes built between 1990 and 2000 represent 13.9% of the total number of homes in the U.S. and consume 2.52% of the total energy we use or 11.7% of the energy consumed by homes. Homes built after 2000 represent 11.9% of the total number of homes in the U.S. and account for 2.02% of the total energy consumed or 9.3% of the energy consumed by homes. The homes built before 1990 represent 74.1% of the total number of homes in the U.S. and consume 17% of the total energy we use or 78.9% of the energy consumed by homes.
So the greatest energy savings can be achieved by making changes to existing housing, particularly homes built before 1990, which are less energy efficient than today’s new homes. We can’t solve the problem by tearing down all our inefficient housing stock and replacing it with new and we don’t need to. We simply need to make some significant improvements to our existing homes.
According to a study conducted for the California Homebuilding Foundation last fall, seventy percent of the greenhouse gas emissions related to single-family envelope energy consumption can be attributed to homes built before 1983. Further, the study demonstrated that spending $10,000 retrofitting a 1960s home could save 8.5 tons of carbon, a cost of $588 to $1,176 per ton depending on tax credits and incentives. On the other hand, increasing the energy efficiency of a new home 35 percent over current state requirements would cost about $5,000 and would reduce emissions by 1.1 tons at a cost of $4,545 per ton. Simple arithmetic demonstrates how retrofitting existing homes with energy-efficient features is four to eight times more carbon- and cost-efficient than adding further energy-efficiency requirements to new housing.
We’re no longer talking about just putting on sweaters or lowering the thermostat. We’re talking about creating energy through efficiency measures. These measures include sealing and conditioning crawl spaces, sealing leaks in the building envelope, adding insulation, sealing duct work, installing high-efficiency heating and cooling equipment, replacing incandescent fixtures with compact fluorescents or LED lights, and possibly replacing older windows with newer energy-efficient windows.
Want to learn more, visit the Building America and Systems Engineering pages on our website, www.chuckmillerconstruction.com
Chuck Miller GMB   CGB CGP   MIRM   CMP   MCSP   CSP
President / Builder – Chuck Miller Construction Inc.
(208) 229-2553
Posted by Chuck Miller at 2/3/2009 1:11:00 AM

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