There are myriad reasons why anyone should want to make their home as energy efficient as possible. It’s good for both the planet and the homeowner’s bottom line. In fact, the United States Department of Energy estimates most homeowners will save $400 a year on heating and cooling bills after making energy-efficient changes around their homes. That adds up to a lot of dollars and cents. Yet, perhaps best of all, an efficient home often results in a more comfortable and pleasant living environment. And, at the end of the day, who doesn’t want to be comfortable in their own home?
Do a Regular Energy Audit
Have you noticed a spike in your heating bills every winter that you can’t readily explain? An energy audit may just help you figure out what’s going on. For those that don’t know, an energy audit takes a holistic approach to every aspect of a home’s efficiency. Homeowners can use whatever data they have available to look at their current and past energy consumption and to help come up with a plan of action.
Not sure where to start? Most utility companies have websites filled with efficiency-boosting tips. Meeting with a professional energy auditor or advisor can also be helpful for some homeowners who may lack the proper tools or expertise to conduct an audit on their own. Be sure to inquire about rebates or discounts that homeowners making changes might qualify for from their utility providers.
Consider Window Tinting
One way to make your home more efficient is to limit the impact that solar gain can have on its thermal energy by installing tinted windows. Tinting can be a great way to not only stop solar heat gain via deflection but also to prevent fading to interior decorations as well. This is one reason why almost all of the best art museums in the world employ tinted windows—to better protect their collections of artwork from the ravages of the sun.
A local detailing professional will be able to give the proper recommendations when it comes to the type of tinting your home’s windows will require. This is because needs can differ greatly from area to area, with residential window tinting in Charlotte, NC likely requiring a different solution from tinting a home in often overcast and rainy Seattle.
Check Your Home’s Insulation
If you don’t know when the last time your home’s insulation situation was assessed by a professional, it may be time to schedule an appointment to do so sooner rather than later. This is because standards for building as well as insulation itself have changed greatly over the years as new materials have come to market. These new materials are substantially more efficient and economical and can make a huge difference when upgrading from older insulation.
For example, one commonly under-insulated area in older homes can be the attic. Just better sealing off an unused attic space can add up to potentially hundreds of dollars in savings per year. The areas around windows, doors, and light fixtures can also often be the source of drafts or air leaks. Sealing such leaks and improving insulation is one of the best ways to improve efficiency around the home.
Only Use Your HVAC When You Need to
The best way to keep from heating and cooling your house is to only do so when it is absolutely necessary. Investing in fans and removable screens is relatively inexpensive, and in areas where it is feasible, forgoing your HVAC can lead to substantial savings.
This doesn’t mean freezing pipes in winter or risking heatstroke in summer, howeve., It’s more like turning the system off on days when the temperature is already comfortable and opening the windows instead. After all, who needs to “condition” the air if it is already a pleasant spring or fall day?
Get a Smart Thermostat
In addition to only using your heating and cooling system when it is truly necessary, many homeowners may want to consider upgrading to a smart thermostat. Such thermostats can be easily integrated into a larger smart home system. Some smart thermostats may leverage features such as motion detection to save homeowners money by shutting down automatically when the system senses it is not needed in a particular zone. A good smart thermostat will help homeowners clue into their true HVAC use while highlighting inefficiencies and money-wasting habits. It should be noted, however, that many smart thermostats work best with HVAC systems that are already zoned.
Investing in Efficiency Ensures Long-Term Benefits
In conclusion, while it may require an initial investment on the part of the homeowner, using any of the above tips should help homeowners realize greater efficiency around their home while also helping to lower their utility bills each month. Even taking simple steps such as getting an energy audit and action plan put together can help lead homeowners down the eventual path towards greater efficiency and savings.
So don’t be intimidated. Pick a trick or tip that intrigues you and get to work. The sooner you do, the sooner you’ll enjoy the benefits of your upgraded home!