(Statepoint) The updates you make in fall can prepare your home for the long winter months ahead, helping you stay more comfortable all season while reducing your energy bills and other expenditures. Here are some home improvements to consider, as well as tips and insights for making the most of these upgrades:
• Select insulated siding: Did you know that most wall insulation is placed only between the studs? Since wall studs represent up to 25% of the wall surface of an average home, that’s like having one side of your home with no insulation at all! Check out siding that provides continuous insulation, such as CedarMAX insulated vinyl siding from ProVia, which is not only one of the most energy-efficient exterior claddings on the market, but offers enhanced curb appeal and durability.
• Improve windows and sliding glass doors: New windows can make a substantial impact on your overall energy efficiency, if you select wisely. To identify the most energy-efficient windows for your home, refer to the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) climate zone map, which divides the country into four regions. For each region, the agency provides recommended values for the two major characteristics that affect the energy efficiency of vinyl windows: the U-Factor (which measures the window’s insulating value) and the Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (which represents the amount of heat from the sun that passes through the glass). Learn the specs of any windows you’re interested in before making a purchase to ensure they’re a good fit for your region.
Wherever you live, make sure the windows and sliding patio doors have been independently tested to meet strict EPA energy efficiency standards, and check to see that the windows are ENERGY STAR Certified. The ecoLite, Aspect, Endure and Aeris lines from ProVia all offer comfort and energy efficiency, as well as optional upgrades that can help make an additional dent in your energy bill or add aesthetic appeal. Some lines come standard with ComforTech Warm Edge Glazing, a high-tech glass package that measurably improves thermal performance for less heat loss, warmer glass temperatures and reduced interior condensation. Finally, be sure any new products are delivering their full value with a proper installation that eliminates drafts.
• Seek further savings: Did you know that by installing energy efficient products, you may be eligible to receive an energy tax credit? When purchasing products for your home, consider shopping with companies that are clear about the status of their products, as well as provide needed documentation certifying your eligibility.
• Pass it on: Environmental stewardship is a valuable lesson to impart to the next generation. While you make energy-saving updates to your home, consider checking out free resources that can help your children understand why this matters. For example, the “Sammy the Star” ENERGY STAR Educational Program, found at provia.com/energy-star, teaches children about the importance of saving energy.
Energy savings and environmental protection go hand-in-hand. This fall, consider home upgrades that prioritize both.