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No-Regrets Remodeling by Home Energy Editors

1997; 222 pp.

Anyone with the opportunity to work on their house should read No-Regrets. It's the primer on how your home loses and uses energy. It's written for those who don't have much experience in home repair/construction, and filled with reminders for those who do. It's a wake-up: there's lots you can do to eliminate drafts, end mold and mildew, stop family thermostat wars, provide quiet, save on utility bills, and enhance lighting and heat management. From here, you decide which concerns are yours and seek out details from savvy builders and contractors or other manuals and books.

As a builder, I have a few reservations. No-Regrets presents photovoltaic roof shingles uncritically. The PV shingles sport too many shingle-to-shingle connections; there are too many chances for any single connection to fail, and they're difficult to repair. PV seam plates are a better bet. Also, some of the book resources seem out of date. But put No-Regrets on the shelf. It's the best available overview, in one book, for saving household energy by remodeling.

"You might think you are simply remodeling your kitchen or bathroom. Guess again. That remodel can easily have repercussions in distant parts of the house that were never touched during construction. Some common post-remodel problems are moisture in new places, indoor air that causes headaches and allergic reactions, and hot or cold spots in the house. These changes occur because the house is made up of many complex and interconnected systems. Some are obvious, like the water heater and its pipes, or the collection of lights scattered around the house. The heat delivery system is easy to pinpoint, but the heat loss system is not. Heat travels through dozens of cracks and holes, under floors, inside walls, up passageways made for plumbing, and through leaky windows and doors. It's useful to think of the whole house as a single interlinked system so you will understand why, for example, installing a new water heater in the basement may cause smoke from your fireplace to come into the room instead of going up the chimney. In this way you can plan changes that bring real improvements rather than regrets."


ISBN: 0963944428

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