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Natural Awakenings Westchester / Putnam / Dutchess New York

Simple Retrofits for an Energy-Efficient Home: With applied rebates, the system will pay itself off in 15 years.

Retrofitting a house to make it super energy-efficient may sound intimidating, but local builder Lou Levy, who specializes in sustainable, eco-friendly construction, says it doesn’t necessarily require major renovations.

“Minimally impactful alterations can be done to an existing house to achieve a super-insulated structure that consumes no more than five kilowatts of electricity per year and also has passive-solar heat,” he says.

One strategy Levy suggests is building a super-insulated shell exterior to achieve a thermal value of R40 at the walls and R50-60 at the roof. To achieve a very high heating efficiency, install triple-glazed replacement windows and new, south-facing windows with a tile floor for thermal gain. And installing an array of solar photovoltaic panels will result in very low electrical use. With applied rebates, the system will pay itself off in 15 years.

“You can do the full treatment or partial,” he says. “Everything would be a major plus for energy savings and the overall comfort level in your home, as well as a major addition to its value.”

For more info, contact Lou Levy Construction at 845.225.7377 or visit