6 Ways to Ensure Your Basement is Energy Efficient
It’s easy to think of a new basement as simply an aesthetic addition to your home, but don’t forget that an energy-efficient basement contributes greatly to the overall energy savings in a home. Whether you’re just starting a basement finish project, or remodeling an existing basement, finding ways to maximize energy efficiency can help reduce both your monthly energy bills and your carbon footprint–it’s easier than you may think!
Here are 6 steps you can take to maximize the energy efficiency of your basement:
1. Install energy-efficient windows
Builders and contractors may install low quality windows in the basement to save money, but that decision ends up being costly for homeowners. Low-end windows let cold in and heat out (and the reverse during the summer). This causes the HVAC system to work harder all year long, wasting energy and raising your utility bills. Cheaper windows also tend to have wood or metal frames that promote mold growth and rust. For safety and security, as well as energy efficiency, do not skimp on the quality of basement windows.
2. Choose the right lighting
Install energy-efficient lighting to offset the amount of light needed in basements with little natural light. Use energy-efficient compact fluorescent lightbulbs (CFLs). They may cost more upfront, but save money over their lifetime with lower energy costs and long life (fewer replacements compared to standard incandescent bulbs.)
3. Properly insulate
Proper insulation is key to keeping energy costs in check. Be sure the insulation is the right thickness and length. Keep an airspace between the exterior wall and the insulation using a vapor barrier, which prevents moisture from building up in the wall. Insulate all the way to ground to prevent drafts from leaking out across the floor.
4. Install warm flooring
The installation of high-quality flooring over an insulated subfloor creates a thermal break between the flooring and the cold concrete, creating a comfortable surface while also preventing mold and mildew. A warm floor can keep the basement feeling less chilly underfoot, and reduce heating needs in winter.
5. Upgrade with Energy Star appliances
When adding appliances in the basement, choose models with the Energy Star label for maximum energy efficiency and savings. Have any new heating and cooling units professionally installed because improper installation reduces efficiency and potentially the life of the equipment.
6. Hire a professional contractor
A qualified contractor for your basement finishing or remodel can ensure that all aspects of the project are done with an eye toward saving energy. From making sure gaps and cracks are sealed, to installing the correct insulation, lighting and appliances, you can prevent missteps that will cost you money down the road.