lake norman real estate

Remodeling or Buying a Lake Norman Home? Granite is Great, But Think Energy Efficiency!

Lake Norman Green Homes

Like it or not, most homeowners and home buyers, whether in Lake Norman or elsewhere in the U.S. think of a house as an investment, not just a home.  In the short term, I counsel prospective sellers to make their properties move-in ready since most buyers these days are not willing to do much in the way of remodeling or even painting of their new home.

There is no doubt, however, that the future of housing construction, once it is back in full force, will focus on energy efficiency, sustainable resources and other “green” components of a home.  Other cities in the country, from Portland Oregon to Austin Texas to Asheville NC, are way ahead of Lake Norman in their focus and incorporation of energy efficiency and construction of “high performance” homes.  It only stands to reason that the Lake Norman real estate market and Lake Norman home builders will be greatly impacted in the future by these growing global housing trends.

So why not get yourself one step ahead of the game as we wait for the economy to improve?  Here are some great thoughts and statistics from a recent article on the Green Building Advisor website:

  • Investing in energy efficiency upgrades in your home should be included in your investment portfolio and future planning
  • The average annual increase in energy prices (of all kinds) has been 6.33%
  • The Consumer Price Index has only risen at an annual rate of 1.54% (Used to determine annual Social Security increases)
  • Energy prices increase faster than Social Security payouts
  • Drastically reducing energy demand can be an important hedge

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lake norman real estate

Lake Norman Real Estate: How “Green” is your home?

Solar Panels on Lake Norman Home

 The more I study about “green”, energy efficiency and “high performance homes” the more ways I have discovered for making serious upgrades to existing homes.  While you may not be able to attain a LEED  rating for your Lake Norman home, you can make significant improvements today!  

 Evaluating the Existing Structure

The very first thing a homeowner should do is hire a professional to evaluate your home in the following four areas:

  • The Thermal Envelope
  • The Moisture Barrier
  • Mechanical Systems
  • Structural Defects

The Thermal Envelope

Basically, this assessment involves testing the drywall, ceilings and floors for leaks using such methods as the blower door test which depressurizes your house and calculates how much air leakage there is and where.  Common solutions include sealing cracks and gaps and leaks in the air barrier by caulking or adding spray foam insulation.  Leaks in the thermal envelope allow conditioned air to leak out and allow excess humidity to leak in or out depending on the time of year.

One consideration, especially if you are remodeling, would be to essentially relocate you thermal envelope by sealing the crawlspace and the attic.

The Moisture Barrier

The moisture barrier includes everything that keeps water from getting into your home.  The tester will check roofing, flashing, gutters, downspouts, siding, windows, doors and the foundation/crawlspace.

Mechanical Systems

Testers will evaluate the efficiency and effectiveness of  the existing mechanical systems to make sure that the existing systems adequately condition your home.  HVAC sytsems will be checked to make sure they were installed correctly and operating properly. A duct blaster test can be done to check for leakage in ducting which is a significant cause of ineffective heating and cooling of homes.

Structural Defects

The most common cause of structural defects is water which can be the cause of rot, settling, mold and damage to the interior.

Home Audits, Ratings and Evaluations

There are various levels of evaluations you can have done to your home from having a HERS (Home Energy Rating System) rating, an energy audit or a comprehensive evaluation including all four categories above.

To find a certified North Carolina (HERS) home energy rater:  North Carolina Energy Star Homes Website

If you are building a home or planning efficiency upgrades,  Southern Energy Management is one of a growing number of companies t0 “Energy efficiency design, consulting and verification for  buildings of all types and sizes.”  They also do Energy Star evaluations and offer “customized efficiency plans/programs for builders and developers”.  They are available for the greater Lake Norman area.

Want to have a little fun?  You can go to the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) website and use their Household Emissions Calculator to get a “rough… estimate of your personal or family’s greenhouse gas emissions.”

Finally, the National Association of Home Builders provides a “Green Scoring Tool” on their website to help educate homeowners and give them ideas on how to work with their builder to improve their green score.

Whether you are building a new home in our Lake Norman area, remodeling your existing home or merely looking to learn more about how to make your current home more energy efficient, now is a great time to learn more about “green” housing!


Lake Norman Real Estate’s Business of the Week:  Think Green Recycle 

Lake Norman Real Estate:  How to Harvest the Rain!

Lake Norman Real Estate:  The Woodlands at Davidson

The Preserve at Robbins Park in Lake Norman:  Not Your Ordinary Community