Getting on Board With Energy Retrofitting Your Home

Getting on Board With Energy Retrofitting Your Home

Small Projects and Repairs
Solar Energy
By Dikran Seferian October 21, 2021

Over the past couple of years, working from home has become more popular than ever before. Since people have been spending more time at home, making it a healthy and sustainable living space has become more of a priority for our well-being as well the well-being of the environment. Taking some measures to retrofit your home will allow you to achieve that eco-friendly lifestyle. Not only is energy efficient living easier on the environment, but also on your wallet.

What is Energy Retrofitting

The concept of energy retrofitting (aka eco-retrofitting) basically involves taking the latest technologies in sustainable energy and adapting them to outdated systems. Experts in sustainability and eco-friendly solutions divide types of retrofitting into three levels. Each of these levels consists of different measures that help you achieve an energy-efficient and eco-friendly home.

Getting Familiar With Retrofitting Methods Is Important to Plan Ahead

Getting Familiar With Retrofitting Methods Is Important to Plan Ahead

Energy retrofitting solutions range from simple methods to advanced projects. Minor retrofitting includes simple measures like applying spray foam and caulking, enhancing insulation, and installing energy-saving lights. As simple as they are, these measures will significantly reduce the amount of energy consumed in your home. Taking a step further involves major retrofitting such as reglazing windows and doors, updating heating and cooling installations, as well as replacing faucets with low-flow or auto shut-off versions. To take energy efficiency to a whole new level, you can dive into deep retrofitting. Some examples, like adding windows to maximize daylight, interior reconfiguring, and opting for renewable energies, can bring forth exceptional results. There is another type of retrofitting known as structural retrofitting, which involves methods to stabilize your home’s infrastructure. That topic, however, somewhat differs from energy retrofitting.

Benefits of Energy Retrofitting

Benefits of energy retrofitting can be financial in regards to savings in energy and cost, as well as non-financial in terms of comfort and eco-friendliness. A lot of the benefits are also interconnected such that one leads to another, like a domino effect but in the positive sense — one solution creates another. For example, an insulated room will increase the efficiency of the central system.  This will in turn reduce energy consumption, leading to increased sustainability.

Increased Efficiency in Energy Consumption

Retrofitted systems produce better results with less energy. A room with multi-paned windows and insulated walls, for instance, can hold more temperature inside with less effort from the heating system. In other words, retrofitted systems work smart, not hard.

Lower Energy Costs

Increasing energy efficiency means fewer costs. The less energy your heating and cooling systems consume, the less dreadful your electric bill would look at the end of the month. As a result, both your wallet and the environment will be thanking you for adopting a sustainable lifestyle.

Eco-Energy Would Go Easier on Your Wallet

Eco-Energy Would Go Easier on Your Wallet

Reduced Maintenance Costs

Besides the direct costs prevented by retrofitting measures, some of the benefits can also be indirect. By improving insulation and other retrofitting practices, you can indirectly reduce or completely eliminate other expenses. For instance, properly insulating windows will not only increase efficiency but also prevent water damage to flooring due to unsealed window frames. Essentially, having a good insulation system can prevent unwanted maintenance costs.

Increased Sustainability

Energy-efficient living naturally leads to increased sustainability. Essentially, not only will you be cutting down on energy (and its costs), but also conserving more of it for the future. All in all, making your household a more sustainable living space can be quite rewarding in many ways.

Reduce Carbon Footprint

A sustainable lifestyle is an eco-friendly lifestyle. By taking measures to increase sustainability, you will simultaneously be reducing your carbon footprint. It’s essentially a win-win situation for both you and the environment. Statistics have shown that even minor eco-retrofits such as switching to energy-saving lights have reduced the carbon footprint by up to 24%.

Increased Comfort

Retrofits to increase comfort include enhancing your heating and cooling systems, installing insulation cladding on your home’s exterior, and blocking air leaks throughout the interior. Such measures essentially conserve heat in the winter and vice versa in the summer, making your home a more comfortable place. Getting rid of unwanted humidity and moisture with a proper central system can also improve the air quality inside your home.

Boost Your Home Value, By A Lot

Energy-efficient homes have been trending in the real estate market. Enhancing the central system and adding more windows may not only improve indoor comfort but also boost curb appeal and home value. Selling a house that’s practically self-sufficient is much easier than selling one that comes with a burden of energy and maintenance costs.

Energy Retrofitting Significantly Increases Your Home Value

Energy Retrofitting Significantly Increases Your Home Value

Methods of Retrofitting

Energy retrofitting your house is not as complex a task as it may seem. Most retrofits could even be considered DIY projects and won’t even take much time. Air-sealing windows, insulating walls, and other eco retrofits can be a piece of cake. Depending on the complexity, retrofitting may take from less than a day to a week. There are several ways you can retrofit an energy-efficient home, each of which will provide a series of benefits.

Upgrading Heating and Cooling Systems

Although effective, outdated systems like furnaces and boilers devour energy like there’s no tomorrow — which there won’t be if we don’t take any measures. Pairing a solar tank with a new boiler will allow the heating system to produce hot water more efficiently. As for the cooling systems, upgrading from an air conditioner to a central system can make a lot of difference. This will allow the air inside your home to be circulated more efficiently and more effectively.

Insulating the Walls, the Roof, and the Basement

Cavities and voids in walls make for poor insulation. Such openings can be detrimental to the heating or cooling systems. Filling these voids up with cellulose or Rockwool is an ideal method for a retrofit. An additional step is to insulate your siding with foam. As for the roof, air sealing the attic helps block unwanted cold drafts in the winter and keeps summer heat out of the house. If you’re considering incorporating your basement into your living space, you can maintain efficiency by connecting it to the central system. Neglected basements can be a haven for mold and bacteria due to high levels of humidity brought on by poor insulation. Properly insulating it with spray foam will solve that problem.

Insulating Your Basement Is an Important Stuff of Energy Retrofitting

Insulating Your Basement Is an Important Stuff of Energy Retrofitting

Upgrading Windows

No, not the computer operating system. Those old glass openings on the walls that invite both air and water in are not only detrimental to insulation but also incur maintenance costs. During the rainy season, water can leak through the window frames and onto the flooring, causing costly damage. Sealing the window frames with foam may very well prevent this issue. You can go a step further by reglazing the windows or modifying them to double or triple-pane. To maximize daylight, a popular and strategic method is to enlarge windows or add more fenestration.

Other Methods

Further steps include looking into renewable energies such as wind power, photovoltaics, and if you have access to a streaming water source, hydropower. The most common option is wind power. Investing in a wind turbine can be a great way to reduce your carbon footprint.

Wind Power Can Be an Important Part of Eco-Retrofitting

Wind Power Can Be an Important Part of Eco-Retrofitting

Retrofitting Costs

Of course, there are some costs involved in energy retrofitting. Such expenses, however, mainly have to do with installation, after which you can consider the project as an investment for life. While these costs are only for the short term, the investment itself will reduce long-term maintenance and energy costs.

Depending on the level, energy retrofitting can cost anywhere from $100 on average for minor retrofitting to over $50,000 for deep retrofitting. The benefits, however, outweigh these costs by far. Normally, you’d be paying a lot more in utilities throughout the years if you don’t lead an energy-efficient and eco-friendly life.


Written by
Dikran Seferian

Written by Dikran Seferian