How to Renovate Energy-Efficiently? 6 Common Mistakes to Avoid

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Many governments establish special funds to support the energy-efficient renovation. Even without using those government funds, the energy-efficient renovation helps keep you home warm and lit, while using much less energy.  

It is the right time to get started with your energy-efficient renovation project. But beware of mistakes that could be costly. Let’s review some of the most common mistakes so that you can avoid them in your own project.

Your house functions as an energy system in its own right. All elements of the house (or apartment, for the sake of this example): the structure of the building, the ventilation, heating, air conditioning, and insulation systems are energy flows that interact with each other.

All of the above elements have a direct impact on the performance of your home. A new heating system, double glazed doors, and windows will improve your house’s energy flows to achieve a more sustainable habitat.

Improving the energy efficiency of your home can save you money in the long term. In addition, the energy efficiency of buildings has become a major challenge in combating climate change and protecting the environment.

Read also: How to decrease the impact of construction on the environment? – in this article. And, How to avoid wasting time on a renovation project? – in this article.

Common mistakes with energy-efficient renovation

Error #1: be satisfied with the energy performance diagnostics

The EPD (energy performance diagnostics) informs the house owner about future energy consumption. In many countries, the EPD has been required and is usually a part of the package of sales documents. 

This document makes it possible to estimate future work and other repairs that could be necessary for the house. However, the recommendations contained in this document are usually not detailed enough to help achieve the status of an energy-efficient building. The energy-efficient status usually confirmed with a special label of compliance.

To benefit from this energy-efficient status, the best approach is to contact a specialized design office which, for a few hundred euros, will identify the jobs that need to be done and their priority. This will prevent you from starting your own energy renovation project, which may happen to be either too expensive or inefficient.

Such a specialized design office will guide you in your project. It will normally start by carrying out an energy audit. This energy audit of your house will allow you to identify the strengths and weaknesses of the house, calculate the heating capacity required for your comfort, heat losses and the work that needs to be done to compensate or correct energy losses. 

The design office’s recommendations will tell you what renovations to do in your home. Above all, the audit will allow you to accurately estimate the budget needed for renovations and the energy savings you could achieve.

It makes good sense to hire professionals for the most complicated parts of your construction or renovation project.

Read also: Why hire an architect for a renovation project? How much does it cost? – in this article. And, How not to waste time and resources on a renovation project? – in this article.

Error #2: wanting to do the work by yourself

With the growing popularity of programs and tutorials on home renovations, it is easy to fall into the craze for do-it-yourself (DIY). Owners may be tempted to take their tools and try to make energy-efficient renovation on their own.

However, there are some repairs that you should never do yourself as a cost-saving measure. This is the case, for example, for insulation work. Even if installing insulation seems easy at first glance, doing this work yourself is usually a mistake.

To improve the energy performance of your home, it is essential to use qualified professionals to obtain quotes for renovation work. Indeed, poor control of insulation and waterproofing could be counterproductive.

In addition, in many countries, there are tax credits for energy-efficient renovation. Such tax credits allow benefiting from a variable tax credit rate depending on the work carried out. Assistance for energy renovation is often also available. However, the work must be carried out by a competent and qualified professional with a recognized qualification.

Error #3: Do not take advantage of financial aid for energy renovation

Many governments have put in place financial to help your energy renovation project to benefit from such aid. With this move, governments wish to encourage households to be concerned about the energy efficiency of their housing, which, in turn, is also beneficial to the environment.

Various mechanisms exist to date and depend on the country of your residence. Here are a few sample mechanisms that are in place in France:

  • The income tax credit makes it possible to obtain a reduction in income tax. The taxpayer can thus deduct the cost of the work on a taxable basis at a rate of 30%. The amount is capped at 8,000 euros for people living alone and 16,000 euros for couples. 
  • The eco-loan at zero interest rate is another advantageous aid for individuals who wish to take out a loan for their energy-saving renovation project. The total cost of such loan can be up to 30,000 euros. 
  • Other aids such as the energy bonus, the heating boost or the Anah’s aids can save you a lot on your budget.

Error #4: Sacrifice existing insulation

Older houses often have more advantageous thermal properties than buildings of the 1960s and 1970s. Made of materials such as stone, they often have higher thermal inertia, which ensures a cool interior in summer. Similarly, in winter, when the house is well heated, it’s stone walls will be able to store the heat better and release it for much longer.

In addition, in an old house, the thermal bridges that cause heat loss are often less important. So, many older houses may have energy characteristics, which would be a pity to ignore with a poorly planned and diagnosed energy renovation.

Error #5: Renovate in the wrong order

To successfully renovate your home for energy efficiency, it is recommended to prioritize the jobs to be done. As the budget is often limited, it is, therefore, necessary to use the audit previously carried out to identify which job to start with.

Roof insulation is generally the main element of an excessively high energy bill. Other work such as the replacement of a boiler can be carried out before the thermal insulation of the walls, for example. This allows you to choose a model adapted to your house and avoid additional purchase and consumption costs.

Similarly, if you want to install solar panels, consider doing this work before insulating the roof from the inside. Other steps of renovation are also essential, such as the installation of a mechanical ventilation system to renew the air and evacuate moisture.

It will be also easier to benefit from government financial aid if you follow a specific order in your project. To obtain the various aids, you will have to make your request before signing your quotes and starting your work. In addition, it is required to respect deadlines to close your various project steps once the work is completed.

Being supported by a professional in this project will be very useful. As you will not be alone in building your application file and obtaining all the financial assistance to which you are entitled.

Error #6: Forget the ventilation

Installing proper ventilation of the house and making sure that the structure is waterproof is essential. However, it is not uncommon to think of insulation but to forget ventilation. Constant ventilation of the living areas is essential to renew the indoor air and eliminate pollutants. In many countries installing a proper house/apartment ventilation system is even a legal obligation.

A double-flow CMV (controlled mechanical ventilation) system balances the incoming and outgoing flows to ensure proper ventilation of the indoor areas. In a renovation project, a single-flow CMV will be the easiest solution to implement in order to obtain a satisfactory cost/benefit result. This system also avoids significant moisture problems. Thus, insulation and ventilation are inseparable for good thermal comfort.

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