Energy efficiency and resource conservation is becoming a more important topic every year. Being a responsible consumer of energy, as well as a wise and thrifty homeowner, helps you make a positive impact on the environment and can lower your utility bills costs.
You don’t have to live in a new home to be an energy-efficient homeowner. In fact, there are many changes that you can make to existing homes that will increase efficiency while maintaining (or enhancing) your overall convenience and comfort.
Wondering how you can make a home more energy efficient? Consider these upgrades to increase your home’s efficiency…
If you have an attic with little to no insulation, you’re missing out on one of the biggest energy-efficiency boosts a home can have. By trapping hot or cold air inside the attic, you will use your air conditioning and home furnace much less while maintaining excellent comfort, keeping your energy consumption to an affordable and manageable level.
There are three basic insulation types that you or a contractor can install for superior energy efficiency. The one you’re likely most familiar with is roll-on or blanket insulation. Built to fit between framing, this type comes in fiberglass sheets that are usually 15 or 23 inches wide. This is the easiest to work with because all you really need to do is unpack the rolls and lay them between the ceiling joists. Paper-back roll-on insulation, which is stapled to the boards, helps hold the material in place and is often used on vertical walls when the insulation will be exposed.
The second is a loose, blown-in insulation that requires a special machine. For this type, a professional will operate a large, wide hose that sprays insulation over the attic’s floor, filling small cracks and providing a more comprehensive seal.
The last type is a polyurethane foam. This can be sprayed on the attic floor or the ceiling, depending on your specific needs. It molds to the floor boards, rafters, walls, and other surfaces, providing the best possible heat retainment currently available.
Depending on their age, your old appliances may be using lots of water and electricity, driving up the costs of your utility bills and costing you hundreds of dollars a month. However, you can get new appliances that are built to give you better performance, using less water and less energy.
Energy Star, a leader in efficiency information, recommendations, and research, has a list of appliances that you can browse to find the right dishwasher, fridge, or freezer, making your kitchen a part of your home’s efficiency efforts. Also, it gives you the chance to update your kitchen with stylish new appliances!
Air loves to escape from your old windows, sapping your home’s comfort and skyrocketing your energy bills. The right choice for your overall comfort may be to add energy-efficient windows. Once again, you can use Energy Star to choose the best products. The organization says that replacing household windows saves an average of 12% while reducing greenhouse gasses and lowering your home’s carbon footprint.
An experienced professional can easily replace your windows, and depending on the size and amount of windows in your home, this is often a project that can be completed in a single day or less.
Do you have hollow metal doors in your home? Are they out of place or not sealing with the door frame properly? Perhaps it’s time to add new energy-efficient doors to your home. You could also install storm doors leading to the exterior or have a professional apply caulk to completely seal and protect the area.
This one will take awhile to pay off, but that doesn’t mean it should be ignored. Tall leafy trees will give your home shade during hot, sun-drenched summer afternoons, keeping your home cooler and allowing your A/C unit to run a lot less.
There are many different options for trees, so talk with an arborist or experts at a local tree nursery and ask about plants that will grow fast and give you shade as soon as possible. You’ll give your house a break from the sun and increase the exterior appearance of your home!
When you set your programmable thermostat to stop running the air conditioner at night or pause the home heater during the day, you can significantly cut back on your energy costs. Many come with pre-programmed settings that allow you to literally set it and forget it. By programming your thermostat to the best efficiency settings, you can save roughly $180 a year.
However, this project requires the services of a highly-trained professional. Because wiring and other technical aspects are involved, this is one project that you must leave to the pros.
The ducts are responsible for carrying hot and cold air from the appliances to the individual rooms. If they are unsealed or uninsulated, you can lose energy efficiency. To be fair, the lost hot or cold air is released into the house, but because it’s not released in the most effective place, it can reduce your efficiency.
One of the first steps you should take is to inspect your ducts while the air conditioner or furnace is running and feel for any leaking air. Mark the areas that are leaking and seal them with a duct sealant, such as a specialized tape. You can also hire a HVAC professional to audit your system and give you clear advice on potential improvements.
You can add energy efficiency while getting the interior design you want by working with New Outlooks Construction. We have the experience and knowledge to deliver excellent results to your home, so contact us today.
When you are ready for an efficient, stylish home, let our experts go to work for you!