SHARE

5 Ways to Improve Homeowners' Energy Efficiency Outdoors

Posted by Josh Weiss-Roessler on September 29, 2014
5 Ways to Improve Homeowners' Energy Efficiency Outdoors Adding an awning on the exterior of your window can help block mid-day sun.

When most people think about ways to save energy in their home, their minds first go to insulation. It makes sense that homeowners would want to focus on insulation—after all, when you minimize air leaks, you can cut down on your use of central heating and cooling units, resulting in tangible savings on the next utility bill.

However, insulating a home’s interior isn’t the only way to provide great energy savings. As a home energy professional, you should talk to homeowners about exterior methods of saving energy that they may not have considered yet. Here are a few subjects to bring up.

Energy-efficient windows. If the homeowner you’re working with lives in an older house, they may want to completely replace their windows in favor of something with a higher energy rating. New windows can be strategically placed to maximize solar heating in the winter and minimize it in the summer. Homeowners should work with a professional and use a site plan to determine where their windows will be most effective. In regions with a long cooling season, homeowners can also add a highly-reflective film to east- and west-facing windows in order to block some of the sun’s heat.

Overhangs. One exterior window treatment that homeowners often overlook is the roof overhang. Overhangs work best over south-facing windows because they can help block the sun during the summer and, if oriented properly, let in sunlight during the winter. Overhangs work best for houses that are currently under construction or undergoing major renovations, as a number of passive solar design factors (including latitude, window size, and illumination levels) will need to be taken into account. Existing homes may still benefit from awnings or lattice-type panels, however.

Geothermal heat pumps. This type of heat pump uses underground pipes to capture ground heat—which remains fairly consistent year round—in order to warm the house in the winter and cool it in the summer. One thing you’ll need to be sure to explain to homeowners about this project is that there’s a relatively high up-front cost: because of all the piping that needs to be buried deep in the ground, homeowners can expect to pay $15,000 to $20,000 for the installation. However, a geothermal heat pump can make up for it relatively quickly by saving anywhere between 30 and 70% on home heating and cooling bills.

Exterior doors. While caulking and weatherstripping can help reduce air leaks for exterior doors in older homes, some homeowners may find it’s a better investment simply to replace their doors with newer, more energy-efficient ones. Talk to homeowners about choosing a door with a steel skin, polyurethane foam insulation core, and magnetic stripping as weather stripping. This is one of the most energy-efficient types of exterior doors and, if installed correctly, it won’t require any additional weatherstripping.

Cool roofs. Homeowners in regions with long cooling seasons can benefit from a cool roof, which will reflect sunlight and absorb less heat in order to reduce air conditioning needs. The good news for homeowners is that they don’t necessarily need to replace their entire roof to get these benefits; while some people do choose to install new reflective tiles or shingles, it’s also possible to use a reflective paint on an existing roof. When talking to homeowners, be sure to mention that the benefits of a cool roof extend beyond savings on their cooling bill; because the roof is retaining less heat, it is likely to have a longer life and fewer repair needs.

There are, of course, many ways that homeowners can save energy inside their home as well, but don’t neglect to discuss the exterior features that will help reduce energy usage. Energy saving needs to take the entire house—inside and out—into account.

 

Josh Weiss-Roessler is freelance writer who often covers topics related to home construction, improvement, and renovation. He’s also co-owner of WR Writing, a content marketing service that helps businesses, including many construction and renovation companies, to find new leads through blogs, social media, and web content.

Comments
Add a new blog comment!

Enter your comments in the box below:

(Please note that all blog entries and comments are subject to review prior to posting.)

 

While we will do our best to monitor all comments and blog posts for accuracy and relevancy, Home Energy is not responsible for content posted by our readers or third parties. Home Energy reserves the right to edit or remove comments or blog posts that do not meet our community guidelines.

Recent Blogs
5 Ways to Improve Homeowners' Energy Efficiency Outdoors

5 Ways to Improve Homeowners' Energy Efficiency Outdoors

Josh Weiss-Roessler

When most people think about ways to save energy in their home, their minds first go to insulation. It makes sense that homeowners would want to focus on insulation—after all, when you minimize air leaks, you can cut down on your use of central heating and cooling units, resulting in tangible savings on the next utility bill. [continue reading]

"Cool Smart" Program Celebrates 10th Anniversary

Lisa Rinkus

A dozen Northeast companies received COOL SMART awards during the New England Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA) golf tournament this month. Sponsored by the Massachusetts/Rhode Island COOL SMART program, these awards honor contractors for energy efficiency practices, leadership, and quality installation of heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems. The annual golf event, held in Stow, Mass., attracts approximately 150 participants throughout the region. [continue reading]

ORNL Researchers Develop 'Autotune' Software to Make it Quicker, Easier, and Cheaper to Model Energy Use of Buildings

ORNL Researchers Develop 'Autotune' Software to Make it Quicker, Easier, and Cheaper to Model Energy Use of Buildings

Katie Jones

There are many ways to save energy in residential and commercial buildings. There are products that use less energy for lighting, heating, and cooling; materials that better insulate and seal building envelopes; and architectural and engineering designs that lower utility bills through efficient use of space and renewable energy. In fact, experts specify up to 3,000 parameters when modeling a building’s energy use. Building Energy Modeling (BEM) uses computer simulations to estimate energy use ... [continue reading]

Aeroseal Acquires Comfort Institute

Aeroseal Acquires Comfort Institute

Brad Brenner

Aeroseal LLC, the owner and licensee of aeroseal duct sealing technology has acquired Comfort Institute (CI), a leading provider of home performance equipment and training for the HVAC industry. The acquisition combines the two organization’s expertise to create an authoritative outlet for home performance training and ongoing professional support. [continue reading]

Some Highlights from the NASCSP Annual Training Conference, 2014

Some Highlights from the NASCSP Annual Training Conference, 2014

Jim Gunshinan

The National Association for State Community Services Programs (NASCSP) met in Raleigh, North Carolina, for its annual training conference. Here are some personal highlights:   • Raleigh, North Carolina, is a beautiful town but hard to take in from the 6th floor of my hotel room. All I saw were trees and a clump of tall buildings downtown. That’s why the city is called “City of Oaks”.   • At one ... [continue reading]

Energy Star Promotes LEDs with Facts and Fun

Energy Star Promotes LEDs with Facts and Fun

Christel Ghattas on behalf of Energy Star

What do fortune tellers, couch potatoes, and amateur make-up artists have in common? They’re all hopelessly in the dark about the life-changing benefits of LED bulbs – until they learn to look for the ENERGY STAR.   That’s the premise of three quirky, irreverent new spots promoting LED lighting from EPA’s ENERGY STAR program. LEDs are quickly gaining steam as an alternative to incandescent and CFL lighting, but 70% of ... [continue reading]

Shower Customers With Energy Savings This Energy Action Month

Shower Customers With Energy Savings This Energy Action Month

Karen Wirth

You probably know that October is Energy Action Month, the perfect opportunity for home performance contractors to promote direct install measures and start the conversation about energy savings opportunities. What you might not realize is that October is also the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) WaterSense® program’s Shower Better month, and a great time to unite water savings and product performance with your home energy efficiency efforts. [continue reading]

How Your Refrigerator Has Kept Its Cool Over 40 Years of Efficiency Improvements

How Your Refrigerator Has Kept Its Cool Over 40 Years of Efficiency Improvements

Marianne DiMascio

One of the great inventions of our time—the modern refrigerator—will get an efficiency makeover when new national efficiency standards go into effect on September 15, reducing the energy use of most refrigerators and freezers by about 20-25%. The new standards take effect 100 years after the first modern refrigerators were mass-produced for general use. Before that time, consumers used iceboxes (literally boxes with ice) to keep their food cold, but food safety was ... [continue reading]

Rob Nicely, Warrior for Sustainability

Rob Nicely, Warrior for Sustainability

Tom White

I was first impressed by Rob Nicely when I heard him speak these words to an audience of builders, designers, and building scientists: "We’re the warriors of sustainability...We already know everything we need to know to build sustainable buildings—the question is, Can we internalize it into our culture and incorporate that learning into our practices?" [continue reading]

There's Still Time: The 9th Annual North American Passive House Conference Kicks Off!

There's Still Time: The 9th Annual North American Passive House Conference Kicks Off!

Michael Knezovich

Passive building principles produce fantastically energy efficient and resilient buildings – and they provide one of the best paths to net zero. Passive building is quickly gaining adoption as a mainstream design method and energy standard. [continue reading]

Earn BPI CEU credits
HEP
Home Performance with EnergyStar
Email Newsletter

Home Energy E-Newsletter

Sign up for our free monthly
E-Newsletter!

Harness the power of
HOME PERFORMANCE!

Get the Home Energy
e-newsletter

FREE!

SUBSCRIBE

NOW!