but then, that’s home improvement for ya.
The pyramid originated with Minnesota Power.
If you are interested in this topic, don’t scan — be sure to read through Martin’s entire story. In particular, note: Solar cells are now improved and have pushed ‘windows’ to the top of the pyramid. Martin says that replacing windows is “unlikely to be cost effective” overall. He does points out:
In a heating climate, the installation of low-e storm windows is more cost-effective than installing new replacement windows.
Windows are a big interest of mine — as in, I’m in the camp working to counter the greedy marketing onslaught that wants people to replace perfectly good windows with new windows today. I will say, in addition to the overall concern that such replacements are not environmentally/energy -justifiable, I tend to believe our old, slow-growth-wood windows will last much longer than many of the windows being built today. Another reason to go slow if and think this one through if you are contemplating the window-replacement issue. Martin has more advice on windows on his blog, and does the site he blogs on, Green Building Advisor. Lots of homework required on this big-ticket-expenditure, if you want to do it for whatever reason. Note: Old windows may have been painted with lead paint and there may be other concerns; get your own properly licensed professional to assess what you have and to make informed decisions. For more info and links see our Be Safe/Renovate Safe page.
- Also see Martin’s story, Stupid Energy Savings Tips, in which he debunks numerous claims made by the ill-informed all over the internets.
Also please note: Martin’s story has been updated — although the Pyramid has not — to reflect improvements in photovoltaic / solar technology. I’m not sure I see where Martin would put PV’s on the pyramid now… but lower, it seems. Even so, I think a key point of this whole thing is not to get too juiced too fast about “sexy solar cells” as some sort of be all end all fixit silver bullet. There seem to be many more, very boring but very effective issues you can tend to first — and it sounds like the key is to get assessments first, then build a plan.
More stories about environmental issues and remodeling:
- Our Be Safe / Renovate Safe Page
- Remodel and watch your investment plunge
- The 10 Most Endangered Features in Mid-Century Homes
- Should you get replacement windows for a 1950s house?
- FTC guidelines on ‘greenwashing’
- Embodied energy – The greenest house is one that’s already built
- In praise of Martin Holladay