Dear Mr. Energy,
My wife and I are renovating an older home and I am wondering if there is any way to get an existing structure rated “green” or “energy efficient,” etc. LEED and Energy Star only apply to new construction, right? That doesn’t make sense to me – isn’t reusing an existing structure the most “green” thing a homeowner can do?
–Renovating in Raleigh
Mr. Energy couldn’t agree with you more. Before he became an expert in energy efficiency, Mr. Energy renovated historic homes . He also lives with his family in a hundred-old house that was built from wood cut from trees on the property and has managed to weatherize it enough so that it could, were it new, qualify for an Energy Star rating. Plus, in his work as an energy auditor most of his customers are owners of already existing construction.
Isn’t the green mantra “reduce, reuse, recycle?”
Certainly renovating an existing structure reduces, reuses and recycles.
Up until a few months ago, most programs to certify a remodel required that the home be gutted to the studs and completely rebuilt. But now the NAHB (National Association of Home Builders) Green program, which is a nationally recognized program, can certify a remodel “green” without requiring a complete gut of the structure. Locally, Green Home Builders of the Triangle have a “green” rating that doesn’t require stripping your home to the studs.
Getting a “green” rating for you home will help you save money and resources, which will benefit your wallet, but should also add value to your home, especially as consciousness about energy efficiency increases.