If you’re considering a home remodel in Orange County, you may want to think about ways to incorporate upgrades that will reduce your energy bills. With a large project scope that involves opening or moving walls, just bringing your home up to current building codes will provide dramatic improvements to energy usage. But overhauls of drafty windows, under insulated walls and timeworn cooling and heating systems will minimize monthly bills and keep your family more comfortable year-round.

I bet you’re wondering, “Where do I even start?” Well, there would be little point in installing a high-efficiency HVAC (heating, ventilation & air conditioning) system without first sealing up the exterior of your home. First, consider what time of insulation you are willing to invest in. Spray foam insulation is roughly two to three times the cost of your standard fiberglass batting, but offers two to three times the effectiveness. The spray seals every nook and cranny, creating an air barrier, eliminating drafts. You also need to remember that a wall is only as airtight as its windows.

If you’re in the market for a new HVAC system, consider one that uses hot water as the “fuel” to heat the air stream—it’s about 96 more efficient—better than any furnace. The best feature is that it adjusts both the water temperature and the fan speed according to the system’s sensors. The equipment keeps up-to-the-minute track of weather conditions and the zones within the house demanding airflow. To expand on this, a favorite energy saver are the Nest thermostats. Using complex sensors, the Nest will learn your family’s routine and constantly reprogram based on real-time data. Each one can also be set up manually either in the home, or from a smart phone allowing you to alter your home’s environment from the road. The unit is said to reduce heating and cooling costs by up to 20 percent.

With just a couple upgrades and modifications, it’s easy to have more energy efficient home and watch those energy bills drop right before your eyes!