5 Renovations That Shrink Your Energy Bill

5 Renovations That Shrink Your Energy Bill
  • Opening Intro -

    Last year, U.S. residential energy consumption totaled 1,415 billion kilowatt hours.

    Of that, 13 percent went towards space cooling, 11 percent to lighting, and 9 percent to space heating.

    On average, U.S. homes spend over $111 a month on electricity.

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Below are five renovations you can make to your house to reduce your energy consumption and save money.

Insulating Your Home

Especially for northern states, home heating can very quickly up that energy bill. One of the best renovations to make is to check that your home is insulated. Properly insulated homes save up to 20 percent on heating costs. Insulation serves to control the flow of heat out of your home, also known as its R-value. The higher the R-value, the lower the amount of heat that flows out. The insulation with the highest R-value is loose fill insulation, a highly adaptable insulation from materials such as fiberglass, cellulose, and wool. Check to see how much insulation your home needs and made the necessary, cost saving adjustments.

Sealing Gaps by Windows and Doors

For old homes where windows and doors lack that air tight seal, money is quite literally leaking out of your home. Check your doors for daylight or obvious signs of a too large opening. Look out for damaged window glazing or small drafts from closed windows. These are signs that your house could be leaking heat. Buy some self-adhesive weather stripping to plug up those leaks–small adjustments but big savings.

Energy Efficient Air Conditioners

One of the top users of electricity is home cooling. For decades, space heating and cooling have made up almost half of residential electricity consumption. Only recently has that percentage gone down, primarily with the help of energy efficient appliances. Air conditioners with Cooler Covers and the EnergyGuide labels are significantly more efficient than older AC’s. Another way to determine AC efficiency is to look at its Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) rating. The higher the rating, the more efficient the cooling device. Even by increasing your AC’s SEER rating from a 10 to a 15 can save you around 33 percent on your next energy bill. This translates to over $1,000 in savings over a ten-year period.

Light Timers

How many times have you come home to find the lights on? Everyone forgets to turn off their lights, so install a light timer to do it for you. Light timers automatically turn off after a period of time. This can be as short as 2 minutes or as long as 1 hour. For more commonly used rooms, install a longer timer but for bathrooms, installing a shorter timer–say 15 minutes–can keep your showers short and ensure you never forget to turn off the light again.

Solar Panels

We can’t have energy saving renovations without including the famous solar panels. They are definitely more costly than previously listed renovations, but it can help cut your energy bill in half. Most solar panel installations cost around $10,000, but there are many federal tax credit and rebates that you can apply which can lower that amount by over 30 percent. However, this is still a huge investment, so there are some important things to consider before you make the leap, including how much sun your home receives year round, the type of roof you have and whether installing these panels will adhere to building permits in your area.

With these renovations, you can save on energy consumption and on your energy bill. Other simple things like unplugging unused appliances, taking shorter hot showers, and lowering your thermostat can help you save as well. Not only are these changes good for your wallet, they’re great for the environment.

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