How Your Ceiling Can Be Renovated for Energy Efficiency

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Renewal Design Build

Everyone knows the basic steps to make your home more energy efficient. Replacing old single paned windows, caulking and weather-stripping cracks, installing new Energy Star appliances and scheduling regular maintenance on your HVAC system all reduce your monthly energy costs. But have you ever looked up? Consider how your ceilings and attic space can be made more energy efficient.

  • The perfect time to increase the insulation levels in your attic, ensure there is adequate ventilation, and correct any areas where air leakage is detected is when you begin your Atlanta home renovations. Taking care of these three critical areas at the beginning quite possibly can allow you to reduce the size of your HVAC system since your overall insulation rating will be increased.
  • The first step is to eliminate air leakage. While this sounds like a fairly easy straightforward project, care must be taken to ensure that hot water heaters, furnaces, piping and chimneys are still vented properly to avoid a build up of dangerous gases. One area of concern for air leakage is at the ceiling and the top of walls. Warm air rises and settles at the bottom of the ceiling; if the insulation level is inadequate on the floor of the attic then the chance for moisture buildup is greater.
  • There are many different insulation options, including blown, batten, spray foam, foam board, airtight drywall and structural insulating panels. All offer good moisture resistance and reduced air leakage. They have different R levels, installation methods and some are even designated for specific areas of the attic and ceiling.

Today since most home’s roof lines don’t fit a cookie-cutter mold, it’s important to enlist the services of a knowledgeable and reputable firm when you begin your Atlanta home renovations. Contact us at Renewal Design-Build for more information.

Tips for Heating Your Historical Home

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Renewal Design Build

Heating an older historical home certainly comes with its own unique challenges. Many times to keep a residence listed as a historical property, construction changes must be kept to a minimum, causing it to be less energy efficient.


  • A great deal of a home’s climate controlled air is lost through poorly insulated windows and doors. But this often becomes a huge catch-22 situation since many homes can lose historical designation if the windows aren’t authentically reproduced. This is why we recommend working with a firm who specializes in historic renovation in Decatur and the surrounding Atlanta area and has the renovation expertise so that air loss is controlled and historical authenticity isn’t compromised.
  • The best way to identify air leaks in your home is to conduct a whole-house assessment which is a comprehensive set of tests that pinpoint exactly where your home is wasting energy. Your home’s results are then compiled for you; along with a diagnosis and cost-effective improvement plan that follows the standards of the Home Performance with ENERGY STAR® Program. After making these improvements, Renewal will retest your home to confirm the expected energy savings. These improvements can give you a quieter, more comfortable living environment, lower energy bills, and a healthier home for you and your family. In addition, you could qualify for tax incentives and multiple rebates.
  • Most people assume the best way to fix heating problems is to replace the HVAC system. Unfortunately in a historical home, many times that is easier said than done. Many of these homes don’t have a suitable ductwork system nor do they have a mechanical room or space to add the necessary equipment. When the decision has been made to install a new system, care must be taken to limit any damage to the existing interior and exterior architecture. Different levels and areas of the home may also require separate systems because of architectural limitations and moisture levels.
  • Consider adding or improving non-mechanical components such as historically accurate porches, awnings and adding heavy draperies on windows to minimize the heat gain from the sun. For long term solutions it may be necessary to add additional insulation in the attic, walls and crawl space and reconfigure landscaping to maximize the advantage of shade trees and towering shrubs.

Historic renovation in Atlanta can be difficult without the right firm to advise you in matters which affect you and your family’s safety and comfort. Contact us at Renewal Design-Build to learn more.

Looking for an Historic Home to Call Your Own? Try Old Fourth Ward

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Wouldn’t it be wonderful while searching for a new neighborhood to discover a hidden gem only 15 minutes from the heart of downtown Atlanta? Then look no further than Old Fourth Ward. This Eastside neighborhood is so conveniently located to The Masquerade, a fabulous music venue and Historic Fourth Ward Park, with its sports fields, ponds, jogging trails and playgrounds.

Home of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Old Fourth Ward has great historical value to the city of Atlanta. Dr. King was born and raised in the area and now his family home and grave site are all part of the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historical Site.

Like many inner city neighborhoods, Old Fourth Ward suffered through years of decline before revitalization began in earnest in the early 2000’s. Over the last decade, this neighborhood has become one of the most sought after sections of Atlanta, with housing now at a premium. Many of the neighborhood’s modest homes are being purchased and renovated back to their original style, now complete with modern updates. In 2013, This Old House Magazine selected Old Fourth Ward for their yearly Best Old House Neighborhoods: The South, bringing even more attention to this fabulous family friendly community. And while the neighborhood continues to grow and improve, there are still many of the neighborhood’s historic homes waiting for their turn.

Renewal Design-Build, a design build firm in Atlanta dedicated to community renewal, has a creative staff of professional renovators at the ready to discuss any future plans you have for your Old Fourth Ward home. Renewal Design-Build is happy to discuss future plans and even give you an estimate before you purchase the property!