Go Green! in Home Building and Remodeling; Energy Efficiency and Cost Savings Benefit Homeowners

WASHINGTON, D.C. – June 1, 2015 – (RealEstateRama) — Building and remodeling to energy efficiency standards and codes benefits homeowners and the environment is the focus during this fourth week of Building Safety Month.

“Green practices in home building and remodeling have come a long way in offering homeowners improved energy and water efficiencies which means lower utility bills, greater comfort and quality,” said Bureau of Construction Codes Director Irvin J. Poke. “Homes built today are 100 percent more energy efficient than homes built in the 1970s.”

Poke said it’s a good idea to have an energy audit to determine how much energy and water your home currently consumes and make improvements from there. He emphasized that building green doesn’t always mean starting from scratch or spending a lot of money.

“There are so many options to make homes more energy efficient that will add value to one of life’s biggest investments,” Poke said. “Changing out HVAC systems, upgrading insulation, adding natural daylight, switching out shower heads, faucets and toilets to lower flow versions are all green improvements that can bring significant energy and cost savings.

For new builds or existing homes:

Choose energy-efficient, sustainable building materials
Roofing materials should reflect, not trap the heat; install lighter-colored shingles or solar panels if shingles are exposed to sunlight for several hours during the day.
Incorporate whole-house ventilation and ceiling fans; install or replace exhaust fans in bathrooms and kitchens and make sure they vent to the outside.
Use eco-friendly adhesives, sealants, paints, coatings and floor coverings that emit low levels of volatile organic compounds (VOC).
Have your home tested for radon and lead-based paint.
Heating and cooling uses more energy and drains more energy dollars than any other system in the home. Approximately 43 percent of utility bills are for heating and cooling.

Here are ways to save on energy bills.

Install a new high efficiency heating and cooling system.
Tune up your existing heating and air conditioning (AC) units if you’re not ready to replace. Neglect is the number one cause of furnace or AC wasted energy or breakdown.
Regularly change the filters in the heating and cooling system. Dirty filters can cost up to $5 a month extra, overwork the equipment and result in dirtier indoor air.
Install a programmable thermostat. For every degree you adjust your thermostat you could save up to three percent on your heating or cooling bill.
Replace windows to see a savings between 7-24 percent of the household heating and air conditioning costs.
Install more insulation in walls and attics; seal air leaks.
Green plumbing upgrades can help lower operating costs and that also means higher efficiency, less energy and lower utility bills. The average home, retrofitted with water-efficient fixtures, can save 30,000 gallons of water per year:

Install high efficiency dual flush toilets; faucets and shower heads that can cut water usage by two thirds.
Replace an old water heater with a new energy efficient unit.
About asbestos –If you are planning to remodel or if your home has damaged drywall and insulation that is falling apart consider having your home inspected for asbestos by a trained and accredited asbestos professional who knows what to look for and will take samples for analysis. Do not try taking samples yourself. There may be increased health risks if fibers are released and incorrect sampling can be more hazardous than leaving the material alone. Generally, you can’t tell whether a material contains asbestos simply by looking at it, unless it is labeled. If in doubt, treat the material as if it contains asbestos and leave it alone. If building materials in your home aren’t damaged and won’t be disturbed by a remodel, you do not need to have your home tested for asbestos.

LARA’s Bureau of Construction Codes works to ensure that the built environment and the systems within are sound, safe, and sanitary; the public’s health, safety, and welfare is protected; and that, through a coordinated program of code compliance, investigation and training, there is consistent application of standards. For more information, go to the Bureau of Construction Codes website at www.michigan.gov/bcc.

Contact: Jeannie Vogel 517-373-9280

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