Old Home, New Efficiency: Minimizing the Carbon Footprint of Your Existing Home

by Jan Kennemer 12/05/2021

Photo by Jessica Bryant from Pexels

If you've recently purchased a home that was built long ago, prepare to make a few upgrades in the name of comfort. From upgrading windows and doors to replacing worn-out appliances, these are the improvements that easily pay for themselves over time. Best of all - they'll boost the way your vintage home performs in both summer and winter.

Replace an Outdated Furnace with Zoned HVAC

If your home is still heated by its original oil-burning furnace, it's time to consider upgrading to a much more efficient HVAC system. A vintage furnace may still bring heat into your home, but there is a good chance you're losing efficiency through leaky ductwork. You may also be constantly heating and cooling areas of the home whether you spend a lot of time in them or not. Switching to a zoned HVAC system not only pays for itself over time, but it keeps you more comfortable where you need it.

Zoned heat and air lets you adjust how much conditioned air flows to specific areas of your home. If you spend little time in the master bedroom throughout the day, for example, you can set the thermostat lower in just that room to conserve energy. You can also crank up your air conditioning on hot days without freezing the rest of the house.

The average cost of installing zoned HVAC is between $2,500 and 3,500, according to Homeguide. It's a small price to pay for a reliable, energy-saving system that consistently lowers your utility bill and handles the temperature and humidity inside your home year-round.

Invest in New Energy-Star-Rated Appliances

You'd be surprised to learn how pricey it is to run an old hot water heater or power a refrigerator that was built in the 1990s. You may think using existing appliances will save you money, but they'll end up costing you in the long run.

Most new appliances are engineered to run between 19 and 65 percent more efficiently than they did in the 90s. Over time that's hundreds of dollars in additional energy costs you'll incur by not replacing vintage models. And when you do decide to upgrade, choose models that have an Energy-Star rating. These are backed by the U.S. government and guaranteed to run efficiently and to lessen your home's carbon footprint.

Consider Replacement Windows and Doors

While you can caulk and use weather stripping to seal leaks around aging windows and doors, it's better to replace them altogether if you have the budget. Windows that offer features such as double-paned glass, double glazing and low emissivity are highly energy efficient. They're designed to keep out the worst of the summer sun's rays in summer, while keeping conditioned air inside your home year-round.

If you make even a single upgrade a year to your existing home, you can slowly lessen the amount of energy you use. Your spaces will stay warmer in winter and cooler during the most sizzling days of summer for comfortable living all year round.

About the Author

Jan Kennemer

Jan will show you how you can live close to Washington, DC – by public transit and/or highway – and still enjoy all the many amenities and friendliness of a quiet community. Jan is a life-long resident of Arlington, Va. So, she is very familiar with northern Virginia …Arlington, Falls Church, Alexandria and close-in Fairfax. She knows where to find those little out-of the-way places where you will still get excellent value and a home that meets your needs. As a Realtor® for over 20 years, Jan has developed a customized system for marketing and selling properties which includes the latest technologies combined with tried and true practices. She has received special training in working with first time buyers, repeat buyers and seniors. She is a certified VHDA trainer and is certified as a Senior Real Estate Specialist (SRES©). Jan is also a certified e-Pro. She gets results you want – the best price in the shortest time. Jan is dedicated to helping clients satisfy their needs and wants while providing them with a strong investment for the future. She is readily available to provide explanations and information. She won’t push you into making an uncomfortable choice. Jan helps you to fully understand the transaction, so that you can always make an informed decision based on facts and figures.