3 Home Improvements that Protect Lake Tahoe

Chances are you have chosen to buy a home at Lake Tahoe because of the beautiful lake clarity and clean mountain air. If you are considering making improvements to your mountain home, these 3 upgrades will not only save you money, but will ensure that you are taking an active part in keeping Lake Tahoe pristine for generations to come.

Thermal Windows

Many homes in Truckee and Lake Tahoe still retain their original single pane windows, which can offer old world charm to a mountain cabin. Howeve, today it is possible to find thermal pane replacement windows that will upgrade your property while retaining your home’s charming architectural style.

During winter, even when people are not using their mountain home, the thermostat will need to be kept on at a low setting to keep pipes from freezing. Almost 40% of your home’s heating bill will be the result of doors and windows. Ensuring that door sills are sealed and using 2 or 3 pane windows will reduce your heating bill in a way that more than pays for the upgrade. It is estimated that your bill can be reduced by 20 to 30% by using thermal windows.

Even the best sealed, single pane windows allow heat to escape during winter. Additionally, double or triple pane thermal windows will keep your home cooler during the summer. The type of thermal windows built today also eliminate the need to paint window frames. This is by far the most economical and ecological upgrade to improve the value and enjoyment of your home at Lake Tahoe.

Landscaping and BMPs

The Tahoe Regional Planning Agency (TRPA) implemented an ordinance called BMPs, or Best Management Practices as a measure to protect the clarity of Lake Tahoe. All property owners now have a responsibility to reduce contamination from sediment runoff on their parcels.

TRPA’s Best Management Practices ensure developed properties function more like natural, undisturbed forest and meadowland. Water that is conveyed to a lake by an undisturbed watershed is usually quite pure, because the watershed’s soils and plants act as a natural water purification system. BMPs help developed properties mimic natural conditions, preventing sediment and nutrients from entering our surface waters and filtering runoff water through the soil. By implementing BMPs, property owners can help slow the loss of lake clarity.

When considering landscaping, it is possible to get a permit that allows for increased coverage for decks. Using gravel or mulch under the deck and repaving driveways and sidewalks using drains also ensures that water does not collect or run off the pavement into the street. Using slotted drains, boulders and landscaping that mimics natural purification systems, you can enjoy a natural setting, while knowing you are doing your part to retain Lake Tahoe’s water clarity. Additionally, your summer landscaping will require less water! More information can be found here.

Wood Burning Stoves

Another ordinance that will take effect during the sale of property at Lake Tahoe is the Wood Stove ordinance. Smoke from inefficient wood-burning appliances is a substantial source of air pollution in the Lake Tahoe Region.

The smoke emitted from incomplete wood combustion contains fine particulate matter, greenhouse gas emissions, carbon monoxide and toxic air pollutants. Atmospheric inversions occur regularly in the wintertime, which prevent smoke from leaving the Basin. These inversion layers trap smoke close to the ground and Lake surface resulting in elevated pollution levels, poor visibility and declined lake clarity.

The EPA states that open fireplaces emit an average of 28 pounds of fine particles per one million BTU of heat output and non certified woodstoves emit 4.6 pounds. These wood-burning appliances can be a long-term, persistent contributor to air pollution at Lake Tahoe and increase expenses. Nitrogen deposited into the lake from smoke feeds harmful algae growth and contributes to declines in Lake Tahoe’s water clarity.

When you replace an older wood burning stove with inserts or a with newer, efficient, EPA-certified woodstove, you will burn one-third less wood. Upgrading to a gas stove can further reduce negative impacts to air and water quality. More information can be found here.

Upgrading windows, applying landscaping techniques that mimic what you see in the mountains around you, and updating woodstoves are all energy efficient ways of saving money and protecting the environment.

There are many ordinances required when buying or selling your home at Lake Tahoe. Each preserves the beauty of Lake Tahoe and the quality of the surrounding basin. It’s important to work with a realtor who can help you navigate these local requirements.

Whether you are thinking of buying or selling your home at Lake Tahoe, I would love to help you. Contact me today!