Reducing the amount of energy your home uses is a way you can do your part to help preserve the planet. One of the best ways to make a difference is by converting your current home into an energy efficient home. To effectively increase your energy efficiency, it will involve you to do more than just using less energy in your home. It also requires you to become aware of how energy is used, where there is waste, and how it can be used effectively and efficiently in your day-to-day life.
With your home being a system, you will save money and improve performance when you take cost-effective measures to reduce the electrical load, and then install appliances and systems that are the right size to draw on your reduced electrical load.
Walls and Insulation
The front line when it comes to cutting energy costs is in your walls and attics. When you have the right type, and the right amount of insulation, the rate of heat flowing out of the house in the winter or into the house during the summer will be slowed drastically.
If your home has no insulation within the walls, you’ll have what’s known as wall cavities, simply speaking, walls full of nothing but studs. (And not the kind of studs we employ!) If your walls have empty cavities, you can look into getting blow-in insulation, which can greatly improve your comfort and save enough energy to be budget-friendly. If your walls already have insulation, it may not be as cost-effective to add more blown-in insulation. In a situation such as this, try checking your attic. If your attic is unfinished you can definitely upgrade your insulation here.
Regarding the type of insulating material you use, your contractor’s experience and professional opinion will help make that decision. Whether you end up using fiberglass, cellulose, or foam insulation, it’s best to make sure all of the following are “properly” installed. Most contractors will use an infrared gun to check for excess space that needs extra attention.
Low Flow Water Fixtures
A smart way to converse the amount of energy your home is using can rely on your water consumption. To add regulation to your current water usage, replace your current fixtures with low-flow technology or restrictor valves. All of these are inexpensive and easy to install. Some surveys and tests show that these changes to your home can reduce your water consumption by at least 40% and save you nearly $150 on your water bill each year!
The Windows In Your Home
If your home is a bit older, it’s likely your windows are outdated, and a little leaky. It may be time to add new weather stripping to them, or replace them with newer, energy-efficient models. Some sources say that it is not a cost-effective solution for energy efficiency to replace your windows, however, if your windows are old and ready to be replaced for other reasons, the additional costs for energy-star rated windows is about $20 per window.
Swapping Incandescent to CFLs (Compact fluorescent lamps)
While proper lighting is crucial to being able to see day-to-day, it’s one of the things we simply cannot avoid to spend our money on when it comes to energy usage. CFLs can save ¾ of the electricity used when compared to incandescent bulbs. Most don’t consider the costs associated with actually running the bulb when they are purchasing the bulb in the first place. A solid way to save some energy and money in the long run is to exchange your regular, incandescent bulbs, for fluorescent, or even LED bulbs throughout your home. LED bulbs can last up to twenty time longer than regular bulbs and they save you noticeable amounts on your electricity bill. It’s best to find 60-100-watt bulbs that you use several hours per day.
Get an Energy Audit
Lastly, an energy audit is a scheduled visit made by a professional in the energy-efficiency industry. Energy auditors and raters use special tools and skills to organize your home and recommend the most cost-effective measures to improve the comfort and efficiency of your systems. They will also be able to give you an action item list of things to do in order of the most effective. Make sure you follow the advice given, and if you feel some suggestions are a bit pricey, ask for a more affordable option, or even get a second opinion. Look for raters who are accredited and, in some regions, there are home performance programs with Energy Star. Once you’ve had the audit completed, it’s wise to start turning your house into an energy efficient home ASAP.
If your home is in need of some energy-efficiency TLC, don’t hesitate to contact us for an energy audit to see how much you can save on your monthly electric and water bills.