Tag Archives: energy efficiency

Energy Efficiency Can Factor Into Any Home Renovation Project

Many homeowners today are becoming more interested in energy efficiency, both for its environmental appeal and for the substantial savings it can provide on monthly energy expenses. Here are some ways you can combine energy efficiency and home renovation during your next renovation project.

Kitchens

  • Replace current appliances with energy-efficient models: Energy Star-certified appliances are certified by the government to be as efficient as possible. Use these types of appliances in your kitchen remodel.
  • Install low-flow fixtures: Low-flow faucets and aerators will reduce the amount of hot water used, but they still provide plenty of water for necessary tasks in the kitchen.
  • Use an induction range:  Induction ranges use significantly less energy than traditional gas or electric cooking stoves.

Bathrooms

  • Install low-flow fixtures: Again, low-flow showerheads, toilets, and faucets can decrease the amount of water used to save energy.
  • Use a non-standard toilet: You could also install a different type of toilet, such as a composting toilet or dual-flush model.

Whole-House

  • Increase insulation: Add more insulation to the walls, ceilings, floors, and other areas of the home. Insulation resists the flow of heat and can significantly cut energy bills.
  • Install new lighting: Put in low-energy LED lighting or replace current incandescent bulbs with CFL lighting.
  • Put in efficient windows: Install high-efficiency windows that are well-sealed and have energy-saving features such as low-e glass, double-pane construction, or internal blinds to block sunlight.
  • Improve seal: Make sure any potential air leaks in the structure of your home are well sealed with caulking or other appropriate material.
As a general contractor in Newton, MA, Sage Builders LLC helps Boston-area homeowners design, build, and renovate some of the area’s finest homes. Contact us today for more information on energy efficiency and home renovation and for ways to successfully combine them in your next residential project. Photo via Sage Builders LLC

6 Reasons to Consider Using Solar Energy at Home

The addition of a solar power system to your Boston area home offers multiple benefits — from reduced electrical costs to improved indoor comfort. But homeowners who aren’t familiar with solar may shy away from this renewable option without truly looking into it. Here are six compelling reasons why using solar energy at home makes sense. Continue reading

How a Kitchen Renovation Can Be Both Luxurious and Energy Efficient

Often the goal of a kitchen renovation is to improve the aesthetic appeal of the area by adding space, improving functionality and installing better appliances. When planning a kitchen renovation, take steps to ensure that the space will be luxurious and pleasing while also being energy efficient.
  • wood kitchen cabinetsInvest in energy-efficient appliances: Replace existing kitchen appliances with newer and more energy-efficient models. High-efficiency refrigerators, dishwashers, ovens and other standard kitchen equipment use much less electricity and hot water than older versions. Look for the Energy Star label on new appliances. This designation indicates that the equipment is government tested and certified to be as energy efficient as possible. Ask your contractor about the benefits of using induction cooktops, compact dishwashers and thermal cookware.
  • Look for smaller appliances: While looking for energy-efficient appliances, consider whether you could get the same results from a smaller version. If you’re typically not using refrigerator space or dishwasher drawers to their fullest, that could be a sign that a smaller appliance would work for you.
  • Replace kitchen lighting: Wherever possible, design your kitchen renovation to take advantage of natural lighting sources. Include skylights, picture windows and dormers in your plans. Replace incandescent light bulbs with energy-saving light-emitting diodes (LEDs) to reduce energy usage even further.
  • Install low-flow faucets: Low-flow faucets provide plenty of water for kitchen use while reducing overall water flow and waste. Replace standard faucets and aerators at your sink with low-flow models and save water in general and part of the energy it takes to produce hot water.
As a general contractor in Newton, MA, Sage Builders LLC works with residential customers on renovation projects that are both energy efficient and luxurious. Contact us today for more information on how we can help you save energy through a well-planned kitchen renovation. Image via Shutterstock.com

Put Federal Tax Credits for Energy Efficient Home Improvements to Good Use

By improving the energy efficiency of your home, you’ll make your living environment more comfortable and save money on your ongoing energy expenses. There are several federal tax credits for energy efficient home improvements for which you may qualify.

energy efficient homeFederal Residential Renewable Energy Tax Credits

By investing in renewable energy sources for your home and installing certain types of high-efficiency heating and cooling equipment, you can qualify for a substantial credit on your individual income taxes. Federal residential renewable energy tax credits, sometimes called energy efficient property credits or residential energy credits, can be applied directly to your personal income taxes for the year in which the equipment was installed. The credits cover the following types of energy-generation or HVAC systems:
  • Solar-powered electricity generation
  • Solar-powered water heating
  • Small wind energy generation
  • Fuel cells using renewable fuels
  • Geothermal heat pumps
The tax credit for these systems amounts to 30 percent of the cost of the equipment and installation of the system. There’s no maximum limit on the amount of the credit. Equipment must be put into use on or before December 31, 2016. Even equipment that was installed years ago can qualify for the credit, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. For example, solar electric systems, solar water heating systems and fuel cells installed after January 1, 2006 qualify. Wind energy systems and geothermal heat pumps installed after January 1, 2008 qualify. Contact your tax professional for specifics. Claim your energy-efficiency federal tax credits for the appropriate year using IRS Form 5695. A general contractor in Newton, MA, Sage Builders, LLC provides top-quality residential design/build, construction and consulting services to Boston-area homeowners. Contact us today for more information on tax credits for energy efficient home improvements and for the equipment that can qualify you for the maximum available credits. Image via Shutterstock.com

Smart Technology: How Home Automation Can Lead to Greater Energy Efficiency

smart home technologyIn recent years, technology has evolved to the point where the majority of systems, appliances, and equipment in an entire home can be controlled from a single computer or mobile device. These types of “smart homes” have made it extremely easy for homeowners to enjoy the benefits of technology, including precise operational control that saves energy and money. Smart home technology and energy efficiency are a natural combination in the most technologically advanced homes of today. Continue reading

A New Home Addition Provides the Perfect Time to Use Green Practices

green home additionIf the new year brings plans for an addition to your Massachusetts home, you have the perfect opportunity to apply green practices to make the new space more energy efficient. With the proper application of green materials and technologies, you can improve your home’s energy efficiency, boost indoor air quality, and increase overall comfort while also saving energy and money. Here are a few easy ways you can take advantage of the benefits of a green home addition. Continue reading

How to Choose the Right Energy Saving Light Bulb for Each Fixture in Your Newton MA Home

energy saving light bulbsChoosing light bulbs is no longer a simple matter of buying a preferred brand with the right wattage. New types of energy saving light bulbs give you a wide choice of lighting types that reduce energy usage while providing all the illumination you need for every fixture in your home. Here are some of the most common energy saving light bulbs with information on where they can be the most useful. Continue reading