Remodeling is a great opportunity to “green” your home. It’s just another reminder that you don’t have to build a completely new home to make it environmentally conscious and efficient. Take for example an article in the Journal of Light Construction yesterday. It discussed how the decision to replace siding on a 120-year-old home in Massachusetts turned into an opportunity to add insulation to the home and make it more thermally (and there for energy) efficient. At the beginning of this job, with the help of an infrared camera, contractors discovered there was virtually no insulation in the walls. This meant that all the heat was escaping out into the wild during winter and that the cool air was doing the same in summer. The contractors also did a blower door test to reaffirm where the leakages of air were occurring. To fix these problems, they first packed the inside of the walls with cellulose insulation. They also filled voids around windows and doors with spray foam, sealing the perimeters of these openings with flashing. They then added rigid foam insulation to the exterior of the house before the application of siding. All of this new insulation cut the air flow out of the house in half. This remodeling didn’t include air sealing the attic or foundations which would decrease the airflow even more. The owners chose to have HardiePlank installed in place of their old cedar shingles. Hardie is a fiber cement board that, unlike wood, doesn’t rot and therefore will not need to be replaced as frequently. It’s a little more expensive upfront, but since it doesn’t require much maintenance, it’s a good investment for the exterior of your home which faces all the elements during all seasons of the year.
Remember, repairs and remodel jobs done to your home are sustainable! They demonstrate that we as stewards of our homes care for and manage those homes (a most treasured resource) wisely, ensuring their continuance in the future.