Energy independence usually brings to mind wilderness-based, off-grid living. However, you don’t need to live in a yurt to embrace energy independence. Controlling your energy usage with solar, wind, and renewable energy resources is becoming more mainstream as homeowners join the urban off-grid movement.
There are several reasons for this change in attitude towards energy independence. Social awareness of the depletion of nonrenewable energy sources is on the rise. Also, public utilities are constantly increasing their rates for natural gas and peak electricity.
Incorporating Energy Independence into Your Remodel
Think of your home as an entire energy system. All the independent pieces work together to create a home that efficiently uses as few nonrenewable resources as possible.
Work Through Energy Independence Options with Your Architect and Designer
If energy independence is important to your home remodel goals, make sure you find an architect and designer that is familiar with incorporating renewable energy resources. They can help you find the best options for your project.
Find Products that Support Your Energy Goals
- Radiant Panel Heaters. This ceiling-mounted radiant panel heater works well in all rooms and spaces. It heats efficiently, without natural gas usage, or ductwork.
- Electric Radiant Floor Heating Systems. This type of floor heating system works by running a network of wires underneath the floor to deliver electric heat to the home.
- Hydronic Radiant Floor Heating Systems. These systems, which are less common than electric radiant flooring, use a series of pipes that carry hot water underneath the floor by means of a pump. While they are more expensive to install, hydronic heating systems are very efficient and offer significant cost savings in the long run.
- Zone Heating Systems. Non-zoned heating controls the temperature of the entire home, while a zone heating system allows you to adjust the temperature in different parts of the house. The result? Saved money and energy.
- Ductless Heating/Mini-Split Systems. Mini-split heat pumps provide flexibility and energy efficiency by heating and cooling individual rooms.
- Electric Fireplaces. Choose an energy-efficient electric fireplace to heat up to 400 square feet of space without gas or wood
- Induction Cooktops. Induction cooktops are far more energy-efficient than gas or traditional electric cooktops.
- Energy-Efficient Washers and Dryers. Use less precious water, and less electricity with a high-efficiency washing machine and clothes dryer.
- Pellet-Burning Stoves. Heat your home efficiently with a pellet stove that creates warmth with pellets made of recycled materials.
- Energy Star Appliances. Choose appliances for your home that are energy star certified.
The State of California issued a mandate that all new homes be built with solar electricity systems. After all, the Golden State is generally known for its great quantities of sunshine. Take advantage of this natural resource with solar architecture, including solar panel installation. Solar panels don’t have to be bulky and unattractive. There are many new designs available to harness the sun’s energy, without sacrificing the aesthetic of your home’s exterior.
Paying for Energy Independence
Energy-efficient home systems can be expensive. Fortunately, there are programs that help with the cost. Many utility companies offer incentives or rebates to adopt renewable energy. NOTE: These programs are constantly changing. We did our best to find the most recent cost-saving initiatives, but expiration dates or policy changes may affect these.
The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission currently offers rebates and/or incentives for the following:
- Free toilets for qualified applicants.
- A $100 rebate for the purchase and installation of a 2021-2022 Energy Star Most Efficient high-efficiency clothes washer.
- Funding from the GoSolarSF initiative for qualified solar panel installation.
- Rain barrel rebates to encourage rainwater harvesting.
- A gray water irrigation financial incentive program.
- Other incentives and rebates for solar panel installation.
- BayREN offers a $200 refund when you find out and report your Home Energy Score (HES).
Low, or No Interest Financing
The CaliforniaFIRST program developed a property assessed clean energy (PACE) finance program that allows homeowners to finance energy-efficient upgrades and pay the amount back on their property taxes. Renew Financial offers zero dollars down financing for PACE-qualified home improvement purchases.
GoGreen Energy Home Financing offers zero-fee, low-interest financing for homeowners and renters looking to make energy-efficient improvements.
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) offers a Residential Renewable Tax Credit through the end of 2023 for Solar Water Heat, Solar Photovoltaics, Biomass, Geothermal Heat Pumps, Wind (Small), and Fuel Cells using Renewable Fuels. Check EnergyStar for a full list of qualifying renewable products.
Creating a home that is comfortable, energy-efficient, and environmentally responsible requires a strategic approach. Our experienced team at Drafting Cafe Architects is here to help you navigate energy independence in your home remodel. Contact us today to start your green home renovation.