Energy efficient homes save homeowners money on monthly utility bills, while improving the home’s overall comfort by reducing drafty spots and extreme temperatures. Here are just a few steps homeowners can take to make their home more energy efficient.
1. Energy Audits
The very first step to make a home more energy efficient is to hire a professional to perform an energy audit. An energy audit is essentially an assessment of a home’s energy performance that identifies the most cost-effective opportunities to reduce energy waste in a home.
Installing or adding insulation to a home’s walls, floors and attic is typically one of the most cost-effective ways to improve a home’s energy performance. Some insulation is considered “do-it-yourself” worthy, but other types of insulation may require the care of a trained professional.
3. Air Sealing
Like insulation, air and duct sealing provides a great bang for the buck with respect to its low cost and big energy savings. To perform air sealing, first identify where the leaks and cracks are in the home that allow hot and cool air to escape; then, seal the cracks with caulk or weather-stripping.
4. Upgrade Appliances and Electronics
Any appliance that uses energy likely has a more efficient counterpart. When in the market for a new refrigerator, dishwasher, dryer or TV, look for Energy Star qualified appliances that perform the same functions but are more cost effective and energy efficient.
5. Change Light Bulbs
Switching from energy sucking incandescent to compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) is a quick and easy to way to save lots of energy for very little, since lighting represents a big piece of the energy pie in homes. Similarly, purchase light emitting diode (LED) models for track and outdoor lighting applications rather than traditional ballasts.
6. Water Heating
According to the Department of Energy, water heating can account for 14-25% of energy used in a home. It’s easy to reduce this energy burden by upgrading a water heating system to a more efficient model indicated by the Energy Star label.
7. Space Heating And Cooling
The energy to heat and cool homes typically accounts for more than half of all energy consumption. Fortunately, new technologies have made it possible to heat and cool homes using much less energy. Again, look for the Energy Star label.
8. Behavior Change
Finally, the single easiest thing anyone can do to make a home more efficient is changing own behavior. Be more conservation-minded by shutting off lights and appliances when not in use or finding alternative to use appliances, like line drying clothes.