How to Make Your Home More Energy Efficient
Many homeowners feel their homes are energy efficient and believe they’re making a meaningful difference by shutting off their lights when not in use, adjusting the thermostat when not at home or shutting the air conditioner off in favor of a fan. While these are all noble pursuits and form an integral part of a whole-home strategy, they’re classified as energy conservation practices rather than efficiency-focused actions.
Energy conservation is the reduction of energy achieved by using less of a service. Energy efficiency, meanwhile, is defined as using less energy to provide the same service. It’s the difference between shutting the lights off when you’re not at home and replacing all your traditional bulbs with the compact fluorescent variety.
For instance, installing home automation products, such as a programmable thermostat, will conserve energy, but if it’s still hooked up to a low-efficiency furnace or air conditioner, you’re losing at the efficiency game anytime it’s running.
Why it matters
There are many reasons to care about it, but understanding the philosophy of an energy-efficient home is a good place to start. A truly efficient home needs to make the sum of its built parts all work together to run better, safer and more efficiently. These combined factors result in a reduction in greenhouse gasses and your carbon footprint while passing along an increase in savings to the homeowner — all good reasons to make sure your home is working smarter.
What to do
Even if your home is decades old, there’s plenty you can do to create a more energy-efficient environment. While you can’t deconstruct your home and rebuild it with renewable resources, you can focus on the main components of your home that affect its efficiency.
A well-insulated home free from air leaks is one of the best money-saving goals to set in your home. Pre-planned renovations offer the perfect time to consider increasing the R-value (or insulation level) in your home, but you can add more to attic spaces or walls anytime with the assistance of batt or spray insulation. Sealing cracks around doors and windows and insulating behind outlet covers are other quick and inexpensive ways to make your home more energy efficient.
Windows and doors
Replacing windows and doors can help you drastically cut down your heating bill. Truly energy-efficient windows will be double-paned and contain a layer of gas, such as argon, between the panes for an extra insulating factor. With the option of UV coatings, which help receive direct sunlight into your home, you can keep out both the summer heat and the bitter chill during the winter months.
Appliances pose one of the easiest ways to increase efficiency without any major renovation work. Energy Star-rated dishwashers, ovens, washers and dryers will all add value to your home and use far less energy to get the job done. If you supplement this with energy-saving measures, such as washing your clothes in cold water, you’ll see even more positive effects.
Although a hefty investment, a new furnace and air conditioning unit can help your home automation products work better for you thanks to a major increase in efficiency. In many states, you may qualify for a rebate when you upgrade, which means your investment can be paid off in as little as a few years. If a new furnace isn’t on your radar, you can achieve a degree of energy efficiency through regular maintenance and filter replacement. A dirty furnace has to work harder to achieve the same result.
By reviewing the major components of your home, you’ll determine where improvements need to be made first, depending on the size of your home and the climate where you live. Even small changes now, when paired with conservation measures, can create a lasting impact, benefiting both the environment and your pocketbook.
If you’re ready to make your home more energy efficient, contact Vivint today.