Find energy savings downstairs
Basement renovations offer the ideal time to tackle energy efficiency upgrades.
Whether your basement is home to a play area, laundry room or "man cave", renovating this space offers an opportunity to upgrade the often-overlooked elements of your home that ensure maximum energy efficiency for the whole house.
Of course, reducing the amount of energy you need to heat or cool your home will save you money and reduce your impact on climate change. But an energy-efficient basement comes with other benefits too.
Installing more basement insulation, including in the joist headers and along your foundation walls, will increase the comfort and livable space of your whole house, providing a good return on your investment with lower energy bills.
Improving energy efficiency in the basement also has health benefits. A poorly insulated basement can lead to more moisture problems in the walls and floors. Moisture can encourage the growth of mould or mildew on drywall, carpets and baseboards, affecting household air quality and potentially putting your health at risk.
Tackling a moisture problem could mean that you first need to redirect water sources away from your foundation and ensure adequate drainage. Outside walls might need to be waterproofed and additional or new insulation added if there has been a history of water damage.
For a finished basement floor, you may want something more comfortable and aesthetically pleasing than simple concrete, but beware! Installing wall-to-wall carpet over concrete can result in moisture buildup and mould growth, while your house will still lose heat through the concrete floor.
Instead, consider installing an insulated subfloor that will save on energy bills and increase comfort, particularly for bare feet.
A basement renovation is also a good time to assess your heating, cooling and hot water needs, and make sure you have right-sized, energy-efficient systems. Before you finish the basement, you’ll have full access to the ductwork, furnace area, electrical system, gas lines and outside walls. So consider upgrading your furnace, air-conditioning system or hot water tank with high-efficiency models or other options like heat pumps and on-demand hot water.
The other thing to consider in a basement reno is lighting and plug loads. Plan to install energy-saving fluorescents or LED house lights instead of halogen bulbs.
And with all the money you’ll save on your energy bills, you may opt to upgrade your electronics or appliances to Energy Star models, especially since that new insulation will add some additional soundproofing. Movie night, anyone?
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