Energy efficient homes have become very much a necessity, thanks to the soaring prices and depleting reserves of energy. These homes optimize energy usage of various units and appliances to drive down energy usage and slash costs, but that’s not all. An energy efficient home is a gift that keeps giving. Invest time and resources into making your home more energy efficient now, and you’ll reap its benefits for years, even decades.
Not sure where to start? Don’t worry! Kansas City’s favorite remodeling company has five easy, simple, albeit super effective starting points for you.
1. Start by insulating your home properly
Statistics from EnergyStar.gov, which is a partnership between the US Department of Energy and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, reveal that American homeowners spend an average of $2,100 annually for three basic requirements — heating, cooling, and illumination. Further, close to 50 percent of a household’s total energy usage goes to heating and cooling alone. The implications are clear: by reducing the costs of heating and cooling, you can also significantly reduce energy consumption.
The question is how. And the answer is proper insulation. Sufficient and efficient insulation keeps inside air warm during winters and cool during summers by effectively blocking out cold air drafts during winters and locking in cool air from air conditioning in the summers. Your HVAC (heating, ventilation, air-conditioning and cooling) will thus require lesser energy to keep the house warm during the chilly winters and cool during the sweltering summers.
Key areas to insulate include doors, windows, walls, ceilings and the attic. Doors and windows are especially important because they are the largest inlets of air drafts and sources of air leaks. While weather-stripping of the doors & windows, and caulking are okay alternatives, they often leave you wanting for more. So what should you do?
Installing energy efficient windows is the smartest thing to do. Energy efficient windows not only make your home more energy efficient, but also add value to your property and hike resale value.
2. Next, make a switch to CFL or LED bulbs and lamps
Get rid of your incandescent light bulbs — there’s no two ways about this. More energy efficient options include compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) and light-emitting diodes (LED) lamps, which are brighter and better. CFLs for instance, use 75 percent less energy than incandescent lamps and last 10 times longer! LED bulbs on the other hand, are safer for the environment (mercury-free) and can outlive CFL lamps by three to five years.
3. Replace old appliances
Old appliances are inefficient, and require more energy to do the same work as an energy efficient appliance. Replace kitchen and bathroom appliances such as refrigerator, washer, dryer, water heater, air conditioner, furnace and so on, with new appliances certified by Energy Star. When purchasing, you want to choose appliances with a 3-star energy rating or higher. Five-star rated appliances are the most energy efficient of all.
4. Upgrade to programmable thermostats
Programmable thermostats help you fight global warming. That’s in addition to saving energy and reducing energy costs. You can in fact, slash your energy costs by more than $100 a year by programming your home thermostat for energy efficient working.
5. Finally, plant a tree
Planting a tree is a great way to reduce energy use and costs. Start by planting a deciduous shade tree on the side that gets the maximum sun exposure in the summer. This will typically be the west-facing part of your house. The tree’s shade will prevent sun’s rays and heat from entering your home through the walls or the window panes.