Deep Energy Retrofits Are Key to Our Energy Transition
Energy conservation is on the minds of many people today. It's not a secret that alternative forms of energy are gaining ground in the marketplace, and for a good reason. One of the most effective ways to control consumption is by looking into the possibility of energy retrofits for older structures.
In fact, what's known as a deep energy refit has the potential to move the country's transition to be more efficient with our resources forward at a faster pace. Here's what you need to know about this type of building improvement and what it can mean for you personally as well as the nation as a whole.
What's Meant By a Retrofit?
What do people mean when they talk about deep energy retrofits? Essentially, this approach involves evaluating a structure, then identifying what can be done to make it more energy efficient.
The process of a deep retrofit can involve several elements. One has to do with making repairs to the structure itself and making the building sound more. Another has to do with upgrading some of the structure's elements, such as replacing older windows with newer ones that are more energy efficient. Finally, the process may involve removing the old HVAC system and duct work in favor of installing something new that's capable of heating and cooling the space while consuming less energy.
The type of repairs retrofits and upgrades needed will vary from one building to the next. A lot depends on when the building was constructed, and the standards that were applied at the time. Any renovations since then also factor into what comes next. Some deep retrofits may require a minimum of changes and upgrades, while others may be more complex.
Options For Deep Energy Retrofits
What sort of options do you have for energy-efficient retrofits? There are several points to ponder. Decisions are best made with the input of a contractor who is well-versed in how retrofits work. Make sure the following is considered for inclusion:
*New Insulation: this may involve removing older insulation that is no longer working or does not meet current building standards.
- Window and Door Replacement: investing in new windows that include glass with better energy ratings will make a difference. The same is true for exterior doors that have seen better days. A side benefit is that new windows and doors are likely to enhance the structure's curb appeal.
- Heating and Cooling Replacement: this can involve more than replacing the actual unit. You may also need to replace all of the ductwork. If renovations or additions occurred in years past, there may be the need to reconfigure the layout of the duct system.
- Roof Replacement: Depending on what materials are used for the roof and how much insulation is included, a retrofit may involve a complete replacement.
There are other elements that may be involved with a truly deep energy retrofit. Your best bet is to have the building audited by a professional who is trained to identify anything that impacts energy consumption. The information from the audit will make it easier for you and a licensed contractor to decide what will be included in the retrofit.
The Personal Benefits of Energy Retrofits For Homeowners
What's in it for you if you decide to make these types of improvements to the home? You'll find that home energy retrofits can provide quite a few advantages. Here are some examples to consider:
- Your energy bills are likely to reduce. That's because less energy is consumed after the retrofit is completed. Lower energy consumption leads to lower monthly energy bills and more money that you can save or put toward some purchases that are wanted or needed.
- The end of hot and cold spots in the home. The latest generation of heating and cooling solutions are made to keep a uniform temperature throughout the home. That means saying goodbye to hallways that are warmer or cooler than the rest of the place. Newer windows also mean that you can stand closer and not feel chilled in winter or warmer in summer.
- Increase the value of the home. The day will come when you decide to sell the property. At that time, you'll find that the retrofit has added something to the overall value. See this as a way to save money while you live there and possibly enjoy more financial returns later on.
- Earn tax breaks for a year or more. There are federal and state tax breaks associated with deep energy retrofits. They don't necessarily apply for a single year. You may find that it's possible to claim some breaks for two to four years, depending on where you live.
There may be additional benefits that you will enjoy. A contractor can point those out, allowing you to get a better idea of what to expect once the work is completed.
How Retrofitting Benefits Commercial Property Owners
Homeowners aren't the only ones who will benefit from building retrofits. If you own commercial or industrial property, there are advantages to take into consideration. Here are a few examples.
- Cutting Monthly Costs for Energy: simply put, it will take less energy to heat and cool the facility. Thanks to that, the utility costs incurred each month are likely to lessen. That leaves more money that you can allocate to other business essentials, including product development, marketing, and equipment upgrades.
- More Comfort For Your Employees: While you like the idea of providing employees with a more comfortable work environment, there's a measurable benefit to keep in mind. When employees are not distracted by temperature conditions, it's easier to focus on assigned tasks. That means employees get more done each workday. Think of how that will have a positive effect on productivity.
- Reputation Enhancement. Making it known that your facility is now retrofitted will do a lot to enhance the reputation of the entity. That's because it indicates genuine concern for the environment, the people who work in the building, and the community in general.
- Possible Breaks on Property Insurance Costs: At least some of the work done as part of the retrofitting is likely to enhance the overall safety and stability of the building. Your business insurance provider is likely to look upon that favorably since it could minimize the potential for one or more covered events to take place.
You may find other advantages that come with having your commercial space retrofitted. Dig into the possibilities, and it won't be long until you see why this is a strategy that works on more than one level.
The Impact of Deep Retrofitting on The Planet
Now you have some idea of what deep retrofitting accomplishes for property owners. How about the planet in general? You may be surprised at what making use of the best practice for home energy retrofits will do.
One of the key benefits is reducing the number of emissions found around the globe. This is related to the reduced amount of energy that must be consumed for residential and commercial purposes. Regardless of the energy source used, lower consumption will mean less waste and considerably fewer contaminants released into the air, the ground, and the water supply.
Another important outcome of profound energy retrofitting is expanding the usage of sustainable energy sources. Many retrofits involve installing systems that can run on solar energy, wind energy, and other emerging options. As they become, more prominent, reliance on fossil fuels lessens, which in turn helps to slow practices like strip mining.
Deep retrofitting also benefits the planet in terms of being able to recover from much of the damage done since the advent of the Industrial Age. It may be possible to reclaim the land that's currently unusable slowly. When this happens, the potential to restore forests, cultivate more acreage for growing crops and provide more balance to the ecology increases.
The bottom line is that retrofitting is not just about making things better for property owners. It's also about ensuring the planet will be around long enough to support humanity for a long time to come.
Why Now Instead of Later?
This all sounds great, but is there really any urgency to look into energy efficiency retrofits right now? Whether from a personal perspective or from a global one, the answer is yes.
Beginning now means you will soon be enjoying the benefits that come from owning a more energy-efficient structure. That means cutting waste, trimming costs, and ending up with more disposable income or revenue. None of that happens until after the work is done.
In global terms, it means slowing the damage that humans are currently doing to the planet. With enough participation, it's possible to begin reversing some of that damage. Think of it as an investment that results in a world where your children, grandchildren, and the generations that follow will have a world that they can enjoy to the fullest.
Whether you're a homeowner or the owner of some kind of commercial or industrial property, there's no doubt that retrofitting, including HVAC retrofits, will make a positive difference. From saving money to taking advantage of rebates and tax breaks to protecting the environment for future generations, there's a lot to be gained. Call a contractor today and start drafting a plan; retrofitting your property may be easier than you thought possible.