How To Make Your Home More Energy Efficient
We all have a responsibility to reduce our carbon footprint, and with some home remodeling, and other small steps, you can significantly make your home more energy efficient. Take a look at our blog article to read what options you have towards creating an energy-efficient home.
1. Insulate your walls and attic Insulation means that heat isn’t escaping or entering your home when unwanted. Rather, with proper insulation, your home will stay warm in winter with minimal heating, and cool in summer with minimal cooling. Wall insulation can greatly increase your home’s energy efficiency, which will improve your comfort and also reduce your energy bills. Conventional stud walls that have many wall cavities can be improved through blown-in insulation. Additionally, if your attic is unfinished,upgraded and additional insulation will greatly pay off and improve your home’s energy efficiency. Materials that are often used are fiberglass, cellulose and foam insulation. These all have to be properly installed and checked with an infrared camera to make sure there aren’t any voids. 2. Upgrade or replace windows Windows are another big area where energy efficiency can be greatly improved. Old windows are often leaky and not well insulated. You can either replace these old windows with new energy-efficient ones (this would be best), or improve your existing windows with weather-stripping and storm windows. Especially replacing single-glazed windows will improve your home’s energy efficiency.
3. Plant trees and shrubs around your house for shade The shade from trees and shrubs falling onto your house serves as a natural cooling and insulation mechanism, which alone can help in increasing your home’s energy efficiency. Especially if you plant these trees on the south and west sides of your home, their ability to block infrared radiation in the summer is greatest. If your trees are deciduous (meaning that they shed their leaves in the winter), then in winter, when extra heat may be needed, the infrared radiation is let through to warm up your house. 4. Replace your older furnace with an energy efficient one Old furnaces waste a lot of fuel; if your furnace was built before 1992, it probably is wasting about 35% of the fuel you’re pumping in, and it’s most likely close to the end of its service life. In this case, replacing your old furnace with one that has an annual efficiency of 90% is recommended. With this type of furnace, no more than 10% is wasted, and you can save up to 27% on your heating bill. Now, if your furnace was built after 1991 then it will probably have an efficiency of around 80%. Upgrading to a higher efficiency model could increase your savings by about 11%. And if you have boilers and hot-water heat distribution (such as radiators and baseboards), then upgrading to a modern condenser boiler that has an outdoor reset can save you a lot of money. Condensing boilers significantly reduce the circulating loop temperature and therefore improve your home’s energy efficiency, and reduce your bills. 5. Improve efficiency of your hot water system Your hot water system can be another big sink of energy. Just by reducing the temperature of your water heater to 120°F and insulating your hot water lines (so they don’t cool down as quickly), can greatly improve your home’s energy efficiency. Another option is to install low-flow fixtures for your showers and bathtubs, and faucets (for your faucets, these fixtures are called faucet aerators). Efficient shower heads will have a lower flow rate and therefore reduce your water usage. In addition to low-flow fixtures, “on demand” hot water circulating loops (these use small pumps to accelerate the delivery of hot water) can greatly increase your energy efficiency. These loops are only activated when users turn on, say, your bathroom or kitchen tap, and they then turn off again when the hot water reaches the fixture.
6. Replace old light bulbs LEDs (light-emitting diode) and CFLs (compact fluorescent lamps) use much less electricity than normal incandescents. CFLs save 75% of the electricity otherwise needed for an incandescent. CFLs also last much longer than an incandescent bulb: CFLs last 10,000 hours and incandescent only 1,000. LEDs are great as well; they use up to 90% less energy and therefore greatly reduce your energy bills. 7. Don’t use old refrigerators Sometimes people like to keep their old refrigerator after buying a new one. The old one, they think, can be used as a backup for drinks or for food needed for parties. But old refrigerators are not very energy efficient and will cost you over $100 at least per year to run. It’s best to keep only one refrigerator, one with a high energy efficiency rating. Also, get the right-sized refrigerator that serves your needs. Having a big refrigerator and not using all its space is a waste in energy that you could easily avoid.
8. Use a fan instead of air conditioning Sometimes we forget that it is also an option to turn on just the fan, without air conditioning, to cool down your home. Using fans will make your rooms feel 10 degrees cooler, and you’ll only use 10% of the energy you would otherwise use for your air conditioner. So when it’s not too hot, consider using your fan instead of your air conditioner. This will greatly reduce the amount of carbon dioxide emitted, and also increase your savings.