Investing in your home’s energy efficiency is a smart way to reduce costs over the long term. Energy-efficient homes are not only better for the environment, but they save money over time. Whether you are building a new home or remodeling your current one, consider making energy-efficient updates. Even small changes can go a long way to minimizing your environmental impact and maximizing your energy cost savings!
Sealing and insulation
One of the most effective ways to conserve energy is to make sure that the energy you put into maintaining your home’s temperature never goes to waste. The best way to achieve this is to control all air circulation within the home. In order to do this, you want to make sure that your home is properly air-sealed and insulated.
Air-sealing should be the first priority and involves weatherproofing doors and windows, and identifying any cracks to be sealed in walls, the foundation and the attic. You might also consider replacing windows entirely for more contemporary, energy-efficient panes. Once this has been done, you can focus on adding or upgrading your insulation.
Insulation can be expensive but remember it is not necessary to do every space – although this is recommended. If you have to pick and choose, be sure to insulate both the basement floor and attic floors, as these will be the most likely areas for hot or cool air to seep through. Only able to afford one? Focus on the attic.
Don’t forget the ductwork
Heating and cooling ducts can be a major energy leak if not properly insulated. These ducts carry the air at a desired temperature from your central heater or air conditioner. If the ducts are not properly insulated, the air temperature will already shift before it makes it into your living spaces. Investing in insulation for your ductwork means that your energy appliances will not have to work nearly as hard to maintain the desired temperature of your home.
Replace your heating and cooling systems
If you are renovating an older home, consider replacing the central heater or air conditioning device entirely. Older boilers and furnaces are not nearly as efficient as more contemporary machines, and the same is true of air conditioners. This may seem like a large cost upfront, but you will make the money back over your heating and cooling bills month-to-month.
You may need to update your entire HVAC system, including the ductwork to achieve ideal energy efficiency. If your home does not require it, or you would rather not invest in a full replacement, having your current HVAC system serviced can also help to improve its efficiency.
Replace other appliances
Other appliances such as the washing machine or refrigerator can also be major energy drains in your home. If you have older appliances, it may be worth replacing them with newer, energy-efficient ones. Again, the investment will be repaid over the course of your energy bills!
In addition to these larger changes that will drastically improve your home’s efficiency, there are smaller fixes that you can employ to maximize energy saving.
- Replace incandescent and fluorescent lighting with LED or CFL bulbs. Both provide longer output with a lower energy requirement.
- Plug devices with monitor lights, such as TVs, microwaves and computers, into a power strip. These devices use energy even when not being used, but if you plug them into a power strip with an on-off toggle, you can switch off the strip and save energy.
- Lower the temperature on your water heater. Many water heaters arrive with a high heat setting per the manufacturer’s suggestion. However, if you lower its settings even a small amount, you will save energy costs without much (if any) sacrifice.
Making changes to your home in order to maximize energy efficiency can seem daunting, and expensive, at first. Remember that you will likely save money in the end due to savings on energy costs – and you are also reducing your environmental impact!
To get started, do what feels the easiest, whether that is adopting one or several small item changes, or starting with a big change such as replacing major appliances or updating insulation. Keep ticking off items, and before you know it, you will have a wonderfully energy-efficient home!