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Eco-friendly Exterior Home Improvement Tips

Fran Beaulieu

June 22, 2023

Home improvement isn't just about boosting curb appeal—it's also a chance to do your part for the planet. By incorporating eco-friendly aspects into your exterior home renovations, you can promote sustainability, save on energy, and ultimately, reduce living costs. This blog offers a rundown on eco-friendly improvements for various exterior components including windows, siding, roofing, doors, decks, skylights, and gutters.

Windows

Begin your eco-friendly journey with the right windows. Consider replacing old windows with energy-efficient models. Opt for windows with double or triple glazing that include Low E argon gas glass packages, which can significantly reduce heat loss during winter and heat gain in summer, effectively cutting down on your energy consumption.

When choosing window materials, both wood, fiberglass and vinyl options are excellent. Traditional wood windows provide natural insulation and can be sourced sustainably. On the other hand, vinyl and fiberglass windows require less maintenance and are becoming increasingly eco-friendly, thanks to advancements in production methods.

Siding

In terms of siding, wood and vinyl are both good choices for eco-friendly options. Responsibly sourced wood siding is not only visually appealing but is also biodegradable. Ensure it is properly treated to withstand weather changes and pests, to help extend its lifespan.

Alternatively, vinyl siding is a modern and low-maintenance choice. This durable and recyclable material doesn't need painting, marking it as an eco-friendly choice that conserves resources over time. Generally if the Vinyl siding is installed correctly the homeowner could get a lifespan of up to 50 years or more before they need to replace their vinyl siding.

Roofing

The roof is an essential part of your home's energy efficiency. If it's time to replace your roof due to age or damage, consider using the latest in roofing technology. Modern roofing systems are designed to offer optimal insulation, reflect heat, and resist weather damage, all of which can significantly reduce your home's energy requirements. Plus, many of these advanced roofing materials are designed to last longer, decreasing the frequency of replacements and the associated waste.

Entry Doors

Your choice of doors can significantly impact your home's heat loss or gain. Traditional wood doors are well-known for their excellent insulation. If you're considering other options, fiberglass and steel doors are known for their energy efficiency. Fiberglass doors are durable, provide good insulation, and can imitate the look of real wood. They can also come pre painted from the factory and can have composite jambs to help the doors last longer. Steel doors, have similar qualities and insulation features to the fiberglass doors, but they do not generally come with all of the bells and whistles that the fiberglass doors come with. . Regardless of your choice, make sure your doors are well-sealed with proper weather stripping to prevent drafts and enhance your home's energy efficiency.

Decks

When it comes to decking, there are several eco-friendly materials available. Composite decking, made from a blend of wood fibers and plastic, doesn't require painting or staining. Moreover, it often uses recycled materials in its production, marking it as a sustainable choice.

A fully PVC deck board is made using all plastic and has the longest life of any type of deck board with a life expectancy of up to 50 years. This results in an eco-friendly decision because the deck boards have more than double the life of a composite of wood deck board with no maintenance.

Wood is another appealing option for eco-friendly decking. When selecting wood for your deck, consider using pressure-treated wood. This type of wood is resistant to decay and pests, which gives it a longer lifespan and reduces the need for replacements. As a result, it's a durable option that can save resources over time. Other good wood deck board options are Ipe, or cedar deck boards. Lastly one could use fir which is generally used for tongue and groove style porch floors. These products do last a very long time for non pressure treated boards however they can be expensive and still require maintenance.

Skylights

Skylights can help reduce your energy consumption by allowing more natural light into your home. As with windows, choose skylights with double or triple glazing. Consider options with built-in shades or blinds to control the amount of sunlight that enters your home. Replacing an old drafty or inefficient skylight with a new highly efficient skylight can make a massive difference in energy savings. This is why the federal government put into place a solar tax credit that is used to entice homeowners to replace their old leaky skylights with new more energy efficient skylights that are powered by a small solar panel located at the bottom of the skylight. With this solar tax credit program the government is offering the homeowner a 26% tax credit on the entire cost of the project. This not only can save the homeowner money as an upfront cost, but also help with making their home more energy efficient which will save them money on their bills as well.

Gutters

For gutters, think about installing gutter guards. These devices prevent leaves and debris from blocking your gutters, reducing the need for frequent cleaning and water usage. They also help prolong the lifespan of your gutters by preventing rust and corrosion. Plus, by preventing stagnant water in clogged gutters, they can help prevent pests like mosquitoes from breeding, contributing to a healthier home environment.

Remember, regular maintenance is key to eco-friendly home improvements. It extends the life of your home's exterior elements, reducing the need for replacements and minimizing waste. Regular inspections of your home's exterior and promptly addressing any issues can prevent larger, more wasteful repairs in the future.

Implementing eco-friendly improvements is not only about benefiting the environment. It can also enhance your home's aesthetic appeal, improve its energy efficiency, and contribute to substantial cost savings. By choosing eco-friendly materials and designs, and ensuring regular maintenance, you can transform your home into a more sustainable and comfortable living space.

At the end of the day, the benefits of eco-friendly home improvements extend far beyond individual households. These practices contribute to broader efforts to reduce our carbon footprint, preserve natural resources, and build a more sustainable future for our planet. Therefore, as you plan your next home improvement project, consider how you can incorporate these eco-friendly tips and tricks to make a positive impact.

 

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