When building or updating your home, there are many things to consider. You could have appliances to buy, innovative home ecosystems to create, building materials to select for removal or installation, and much more.
If you’re not already, you should also be looking into making energy-efficient home improvements.
Why Should You Consider an Energy Efficient Home?
Many factors go into your decision to make your dwelling more energy efficient. Here are three reasons why this is an easy choice to make.
1. You’ll Save Money
Your home’s energy use wastes up to 10% to 20% annually. That is a significant amount of money leaving your pocket for no practical reason.
2. The Environment Will Thank You
Greenhouse gasses (GHGs) are emissions contributing to global climate change, and energy-related GHGs are some of the worst. Residential energy production releases approximately 20% of US GHG emissions. Reducing the amount of energy required to power your household also significantly decreases its carbon footprint, helping the environment.
3. Your Comfort and Health Are Important
Things like inefficient appliances, HVAC, and building design could be contributing to random hot or cold spots in your house. Taking the time to assess your home’s energy efficiency will aid your comfort. Additionally, many of these appliances create indoor pollution that could affect your health.
How Do You Know If You Need Energy Efficient Home Improvements?
Knowing whether you need to make changes is the first step in this process.
So how do you know?
You can do a home energy assessment to see where most of your power is directed. Even brand-new homes benefit from a quick walkthrough. While you may want to hire a professional to assess your home, it is possible to do it yourself. Look out for these things:
- Check for drafts and leaks in baseboards, windows, outlet covers, foundation, etc. Anywhere there might be a seam between building materials is a place to inspect.
- Check your home’s insulation – it may need an update depending on the age of your home. Also, check for proper ventilation. While you don’t want unwanted air entering or escaping, you want to ensure there is adequate ventilation for things like fireplaces and gas stoves.
- Check your HVAC system. Air filters, ductwork, and air conditioners all contribute to your home’s energy efficiency.
- Check for energy vampires and inefficiencies in your appliances, electronics, and light bulbs.
After this assessment, you’ll know where improvements lie.
How Can Solar Power Improve Your Home’s Energy Efficiency?
If your energy assessment is abysmal, have no fear. Many energy-efficient home improvements don’t require you to tear everything down and start over.
The number-one question on your mind might be how you draw your energy. Solar energy has increasingly become one of the more reliable energy-efficient home improvements. A single-family detached home will consume approximately 12,000 kWh per year. The Sun’s energy reaching the Earth every second is 100,000 times more than that. This is clean, renewable energy that could easily cover the entire world’s power needs.
Solar technology has come a long way in a short time and continues to improve every year. Currently, a solar panel converts 22% of the solar energy that hits it into energy, and that number keeps growing.
Batteries with stored solar energy are helpful in an emergency rather than noisy, gasoline-sucking generators. Also, you are not beholden to the power company. If you want to be independent and live a more sustainable lifestyle, it is entirely possible with solar power.
What Other Improvements Should You Consider?
As well as going solar, there are many other energy-efficient home improvements you can make. Even the most minor of adjustments can have a significant impact. Here are five places to start:
1. Energy Efficient Appliances and Fixtures
Energy Star is an excellent resource. They partner with thousands of companies and organizations to assess energy efficiency standards in the products they create and sell. Most of your large household appliances may be assessed by Energy Star, as should be many other energy-consuming fixtures in your home. Look for the little blue label to get started.
2. Home Automation
Consider adding home automation devices and hubs to control your environment, even when you aren’t thinking about it. Smart thermostats can turn on or off as the temperatures reach certain levels, and a smart assistant or hub can run routines for waking up, bedtime, and while you’re at work to be the most energy-efficient.
3. Light Bulbs
From 5% to 10% of your energy bill comes exclusively from lighting. Choosing a more efficient and longer-lasting bulb, like an LED that uses 80% less energy than the traditional incandescent bulb, can reduce energy usage.
4. HVAC and Water Heating
These two giants deserve a separate point, as they are the largest energy users in your home. The heating and cooling of your home typically consumes over 50% of your power, and the water heater is under 20%. Ensuring these two items are running well is key to an energy-efficient home.
Anything over 10 to 15 years old most likely needs to be replaced. Be sure to get these items assessed annually to get the most life out of them.
5. Windows and Doors
Your home’s doors and windows are its portals to the outside world. Especially with age, they are prone to drafts and other energy-sucking tendencies. Look at getting them sealed or, if necessary, replaced altogether.
How Can You Integrate Solar Power with Other Energy Efficient Home Improvements?
Going solar is one piece of the energy efficiency puzzle of your home, along with these other considerations.
Let’s start a conversation about your solar needs today!