Uncertain times in the economy make you think about what choices to make with your money – would it be wiser to invest or save now? Based on the forecast of the Competition Authority, it can be assumed that energy prices will remain high in 2023 as well. Consequently, Coop Bank’s recommendation is to invest in making your home more energy efficient, which in the long run will also lead to significant savings.
In order to start improving the energy efficiency of the home, a detailed renovation or repair plan should first be established. If you ask an expert for help, it is easier to assess both which works to start with will provide the greatest energy savings, as well as the budget that must be taken into account. We invited the help of construction expert Uku Vigel, who gave five recommendations for making the home more energy efficient:
- Changing windows
The win for the heat retention of the house, which comes with changing the windows, is significant – warm air does not leave the room and cold outside air does not enter the room in winter. In order to really benefit from the replacement of windows, preference should be given to windows with lower thermal transmittance. For example, triple-glazed windows have lower thermal transmittance than double-glazed windows.
If you are going to change the windows, it is also worth thinking about whether the windows should be openable and how they should open so that maintenance is convenient. In addition to heat retention, soundproofing is also important when choosing windows.
- Roof replacement and attic insulation
Roof replacement is usually one of the first jobs undertaken when renovating a home. The reason is simple: a holey and old roof does not keep heat or water. Insufficient insulation of the roof and attic is also one of the main causes of high heating bills. A poorly insulated roof is easy to spot in winter: an uninsulated roof is free of snow and long icicles hang from the edge of the roof. The more snow on the roof and the fewer icicles on the edge of the roof, the better the roof keeps warm.
There are several ways to insulate the roof – it is worth consulting a specialist to find the most suitable solution for your house. When changing the roof, you should also think about whether the new roof changes the exterior of the house or not. If the new roof is completely different from the old one, a building permit and project are also required.
The conditions for the roof are also affected by whether there are already living spaces under the roof or whether you want to use the attic as a living space in the future. In this case, the attic must also be insulated and skylights installed immediately. Adding heating and windows later is already considerably more expensive.
- Insulation of the facade
If the windows and roof do not let the heat out, the facade of the house should also be evaluated. A poorly insulated or outdated facade lets valuable heat out of the house and significantly reduces energy efficiency.
In the case of the facade, the heat retention of the house must be determined first: a poorly insulated house can be recognized, for example, by the fact that excessive moisture is generated in the room. In this case, it should be investigated where the moisture gets into the room and the heat gets out – whether the leak is the eaves, plinth or window units.
Regardless of the construction material of the house, the facade is mostly insulated from the outside. For example, stone buildings should not be insulated from the inside, because when insulating from the inside, moisture forms on the wall behind the insulation. This leads to the risk of mold and fungal damage, which harm both the house and its inhabitants. When insulating the facade, you should also consider the ventilation system, which, in addition to energy efficiency, significantly improves the indoor climate of the house.
4. Changing the heating system
Changing your home’s heating system to a modern one is one of the main ways to save energy. However, this work should only be undertaken when you are convinced of the heat retention of the windows, roof and facade of your home. Otherwise, changing the heating system may not pay off.
Due to the increase in the price of gas, many homeowners are currently looking for alternatives to gas heating, which has previously been considered one of the more affordable types of heating. The one you choose must be suitable for a specific home and really help you save on energy costs – for example, it can be an air-to-water heat pump, ground source heat pump, pellet-heated boiler, etc.
When planning to change the heating system, it is wise to order an expert assessment first, so that you can get an overview of the current situation and know how much of the existing one needs to be changed or replaced. Changing the heating system requires a building permit, and the construction or heating system project must be followed during installation. In addition to this, a construction notification must also be made and a use permit must be obtained after installation.
Changing the heating system is quite an expensive undertaking, but it pays off in the long run. The real savings can only be seen after a couple of years, but you will already feel the difference in the current maintenance costs, because the new systems are also much more durable.
- Use of renewable energy
The introduction of renewable energy makes it possible to disconnect simpler and less electricity-consuming household appliances from the main electricity grid. For example, a television, dishwasher and refrigerator, and why not a water boiler, can run on electricity from renewable energy.
It is especially good to use renewable energy in your summer home, where you don’t spend as much time as at home and you want to save on electricity bills. One of the most common options is to install solar panels on the roof of a home or summer home. Today’s solar panels are so smart that shadows and other disturbing factors do not interfere with their work. The payback period of solar panels can be quite long, but their big advantage is that you don’t have to purchase energy from the grid with grid fees and excise duties.
Before starting to replace the windows, roof and heating system, a project plan should be drawn up, the preparation of which is worth asking for advice from specialists. Investments in the energy efficiency of the home should not be postponed, because the prices of energy sources and building materials are rising rapidly. Coop Pank’s small loan helps to spread expenses over a longer period.
Source: Lääne Elu by online.le.ee.
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