Tag Archives: energy efficient home

A Spring Home Maintenance Checklist for Newton, MA Homeowners

The return of warmer weather to the Boston area brings with it the need for springtime home maintenance. Here is a brief eco-friendly spring maintenance checklist you can use to ensure your home stays comfortable this spring and summer.
  • Clean gutters and downspouts: Make sure the gutters and downspouts on your home are cleaned of leaves, sticks, mud, or other obstructions that could interfere with the rainwater drainage.
  • Check roof for damage: Have the roof inspected for any signs of damage that occurred over the winter. Damage here could result in air and energy loss or water leaks. Have any damage repaired immediately.
  • Have preventive maintenance performed on HVAC equipment: Contact your HVAC service provider for a preventive maintenance tune-up and inspection on your heat pump or air conditioner. Preventive maintenance ensures that the system works at its highest level of efficiency and lowest possible cost while consuming the least amount of energy.
  • Clean or replace cooling system air filter: Make sure the air filter in your cooling system is clean and fresh. Air filters contribute not only to indoor air quality but to cooling system efficiency and effectiveness.
  • Clean HVAC components: Outdoor HVAC units should be cleaned to ensure there are no accumulations of mud, leaves, sticks, grass, or other debris that would interfere with air flow. Internal components, including coils, should be cleaned to ensure proper operation and heat transfer.
  • Make seasonal changes at the thermostat: Ensure the programmable thermostat controlling your HVAC system is set to provide cooling and that temperature settings are appropriate for the increasingly warm weather.
Sage Builders LLC is a general contractor in Newton, MA, serving Boston-area homeowners with expert residential design, construction, and renovation services. Contact us today for more information on tasks you can add to your eco-friendly spring maintenance checklist.

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.


  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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

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