Aside from allowing you to live a more sustainable and environment-friendly life, making your home more energy efficient can also benefit you financially. When you reduce energy usage and hopefully decrease your dependency on the grid, you will also spend less on energy costs.
In this post, I will share with you some of the best ways to generate energy savings in your home.
The First Step:
Get a Home Energy Assessment
Before you can perform upgrades and updates to make your home more energy efficient, you need to know where to start looking and what aspects of your home need improving in the first place.
A home energy efficiency audit or assessment will let you know where your home currently stands in terms of energy performance. During an audit, an energy professional will inspect your home using specialized guidelines.
The inspector will provide you with a report, which will show you the parts of your home where efficiency can potentially be improved. Your home will be comprehensively evaluated to determine problems, which, when corrected, can potentially help you save a significant amount of money over time.
Some home improvement projects are primarily geared towards improving the home’s look. Meanwhile, there are those that enhance comfort, function and security. Ultimately, there are projects that can provide all of the mentioned benefits while also helping make the home more energy efficient. When making the home more eco-friendly, you should prioritize the following aspects:
Did you know that your old, drafty, uninsulated windows can actually cause major energy loss? If your windows are already showing signs of damage, such as condensation inside the glass and drafts, it’s time to consider doing window replacement.
Today’s ENERGY STAR®replacement windows are equipped with energy efficiency features that help eliminate energy loss. They are also designed to improve indoor comfort as they assist in maintaining comfortable temperatures, helping prevent your heating and cooling system from working too hard year-round.
Similar to windows, doors can also let in unwanted heat and let energy escape through gaps around their frames. Heat can also get in through the door panel itself if the material is not well-insulated.
Luckily, there are exterior door options out there that can support your mission to conserve energy. Additionally, it is also recommended to install a storm door, which gives an extra layer of protection from the weather.
Every home has what we call the thermal envelope. It is a home’s physical separator between the conditioned and unconditioned environment — which are essentially the indoors and outdoors. The thermal envelope is supposed to have sufficient resistance to heat, air, water, light and noise.
One of the biggest components of the thermal envelope is the outer wall. When you have an insulated siding installed, heat transfer through your home’s walls will be prevented. Siding materials with high R-values offer the best insulation abilities, which translate into optimal energy efficiency.
Insulating your attic, crawl spaces and basement can also help solve your energy wastage woes. Through insulation, you can prevent heat from entering your home and energy and heated air from escaping. There are several insulation options that you may want to check out, including spray foam and blown-in insulation. Both of them offer specific benefits, but one thing is for sure: they can help make your home more comfortable and energy efficient.
Lifestyle and Household Changes
Aside from the big-ticket home improvement projects listed above, you may also look into changing some aspects of your lifestyle: improving energy usage habits being on top of the list. Below are some things you may want to evaluate and eventually change for the better:
Appliances and home electronics –
If you have been living in your home for a decade or more now, chances are you still have appliances and electronic devices equipped with old technology. Most of them were not designed for energy efficiency as it was only recently that this subject was really prioritized by many.
If you have some appliances and devices at home that are old enough to retire, now may be the perfect time to actually have them replaced with units that consume less energy. Additionally, re-evaluate your usage of appliances. If you’re not using them, turn them off completely -leaving them in standby mode still consumes energy.
If you’re still using incandescent light bulbs, you should seriously consider switching to compact fluorescent lamps (CFL) or light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs. They offer longer lifespans despite using less energy. They are also known to generate less heat. Furthermore, as much as possible, refrain from using artificial lighting. If you have energy-efficient windows installed, you can enjoy natural daylighting without suffering from unnecessary heat.
Heating and cooling –
It is recommended to install a programmable thermostat to ensure that your HVAC system will not work more than it’s supposed to. Furthermore, you should have your HVAC system checked for potential upgrades that may help lower its energy consumption.
Water heating –
It’s best to set your water heater to warm rather than hot. Anyway, you won’t likely need very hot water for bathing or showering unless you’re feeling really cold or sick. If you can help it, refrain from washing your clothes and dishes using heated water.
Once you have your home’s energy audit report, you can now decide which of the improvements discussed above you’d like to invest in first. You may need to do further research to make sure that you get every project right. If you are thinking of doing any of the big-ticket home improvement ideas listed here, make sure you work with a reliable home improvement contractor who shares your desire for a more energy-efficient home.
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