Question

I have a 1922 rowhouse in Washington, DC. What can I do to make her more "green?"

Asked by Susannah
Washington, DC

I'm on a budget (federal employee).... 1. the back side of the house with florida rooms on the first and second floors, faces south with full sun exposure 2. the heat is a closed water radiant system 3. original windows and doors on the front half of the house 4. old refrigerator and dishwasher 5. no central air conditioning -- use window units

Answer

Start small, begin by replacing all of your light bulbs with compact fluorescent or LED fixtures. This will reduce the amount energy being consumed. If your budget allows replace your old appliances with energy star appliances to reduce energy consumption as well. Next if you cannot afford replacement windows consider installing storm windows to reduce heat loss through leaking window frames. Your closed loop radiant heat system is a great candidate to introduce solar hot water as a supplement heat source. By installing a solar hot water collector on the roof and a heat transfer appliance prior to the boiler, you will reduce the amount of gas/oil consumed by the boiler system by pre-heating the water. The efficiency of the system can be further enhanced by adding hot water storage tanks. For air conditioning, since you do not have any existing duct work, I would recommend looking into a mini split VRV system manufactured by Daikin. They can be installed with out the installation of duct work and are highly efficient. Remember you don’t have to always go to the extreme, since every little bit will help.

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