When you are considering remodeling activities and the impact that those activities will have on the energy consumption of the home, a very good place to weigh the benefits of one activity over another is the Federal Energy Management Program.
Under this program there are a variety of things but the one I thought most interesting is the Technology Deployment. This focuses on market-driven technologies and creating market pull for new and underutilized technologies.
If you look at the Building Envelope section you will see what activities will give you a great impact on reducing your energy consumption. Activities such as using a cool roof or a green roof, installing window films or replacing older windows with high R value windows are rated so that the end user can identify which remodeling activities will give the biggest bang for the buck. You can also look at the Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning and see that commercial ground source heat pumps, for example, have a huge impact.
This in a wonderful way for consumers to get to the bottom line and be able to make smart choices when remodeling in order to reduce energy consumption especially in older homes.
It is also a great way to avoid being disappointed because you were told by some radio advertisement that installing new windows will cut your energy bill in half. You will be smarter than that!
Lucas Hamilton is Manager, Building Science Applications for CertainTeed