Facelifts and Deep Energy Retrofits
We love to give existing houses facelifts! Saving what we can of an existing home is perhaps the most 'green' thing we can do as architects and builders.
I drive around and see the potential in every small and tired house. I can't help it! Perhaps it is like a hairdresser instantly giving a client a make-over in their mind as they walk in the door. I see the many possibilities of composing beauty out of almost any house and I love doing it ~ it is one of the best parts of our job.
AND there is a great added benefit! If your house is in need of a curb appeal 'facelift' it probably means new windows or new siding or both...maybe a new entry porch and maybe a small addition are also on the agenda. All of these things offer the PERFECT opportunity for what is called a 'Deep Energy Retrofit'. Usually this entails re-insulating walls and roofs, and caulking around windows, doors, and other gaps, all of which is amazingly easy to do once the siding is off the house. And new windows will greatly enhance your energy efficiency if your existing windows are not up to modern specs.
So what better time to make your house really energy efficient than when you are doing a 'facelift'?
Once your home is tighter and better insulated, you can consider upgrading the HVAC system and maybe adding a solar PV system. We always tell our clients: the place to start is the building envelope. If the building envelope is super insulated and well sealed, then the size of your new HVAC system can be much smaller. Don't update your HVAC until you have addressed the leaky building envelope.