Finding an Energy Efficient Home
It is surprisingly simple to find energy efficient homes these days as many homeowners are adding green energy to their homes for both efficiency and aesthetics. Whether you show up in person or start your search online (most consumers start this way), finding a home that contains green technologies is a smart move. Not only will it be more energy efficient, but it could also sell for a higher price when the time comes to put it on the market. Here are several excellent tips to help you find an energy efficient home…
Energy Efficiency Tips
The more home you have the more it takes to keep it warm and bright. That means your heating/air will be working overtime to maintain the temperature you have set. If instead you purchase a home that is right sized you will have let space that requires less energy to heat and cool. That means it will be easier to reach and keep an optimum temperature.
You will also have to run your electricity more in different parts of the house, depending on how many are living in the property. The more use you have, the higher your bills will be, so going smaller with the house size can actually pay off with energy savings. Sometimes with up to 25% less consumption.
Energy Star Appliances
Utilizing appliances with an Energy Star label is a great way to lessen your carbon footprint. It is also an excellent opportunity to save more money as these appliances will run more efficiently than older models.
If you are purchasing a resale property, it might be a good idea to negotiate for Energy Star appliances, or be prepared to add them once you own the property. Having someone else pay for them is an added savings that can be used for other things like insulation and sealing up areas where energy is often lost (around windows, doors, lights/fixtures, etc.).
Add Insulation if Necessary
The majority of the energy you consume goes towards heating and cooling the property. That makes insulation a very important ally to help you conserve energy. According to EnergyStar.gov, you can save up to 20% in heating and cooling costs by properly insulating your home.
Insulation levels are regulated by what is called the R-Value. The R-Value measures the effectiveness of insulation when heat passes through it. The higher the R-Value, the better the insulation’s thermal performance is.
Consider Solar Panels
If you are buying a resale that already has them installed (get an inspection to ensure they are still operating efficiently), enjoy your newly found financial windfall! If you are purchasing a brand new home, solar panels are worth considering, especially if you plan to stay in the home for several years.
Your savings potential with solar panels can be as high as 50% off your monthly electric bill. While there is a There is an upfront investment to have them installed, it may be worth it over the long haul. Only you can decide whether using solar power is a worthwhile endeavor to take on.
Ways to Improve Your Home’s Energy Efficiency
In case you cannot find an energy efficient house, you can begin to make your home green by implementing subtle changes or going for the gusto and changing everything at once. Sometimes, simple fixes or upgrades or proper insulation levels are all that is necessary to reduce your energy consumption.
Some homeowners even choose to hire energy and sustainability management companies to implement home energy improvement programs. The choice is yours on how much of a carbon footprint you want to be responsible for. Here are a few ways you can improve your home’s energy efficiency:
Eliminate Air Leaks
The first step is to ensure your home is air leak free! They significantly affect your home’s temperature by allowing air to escape or enter the home. More leaks means your heating and cooling systems must work harder to keep the temperature regulated, resulting in an increase in energy consumed and a less energy efficient house.
It is imperative to find and seal air leaks as they can be a major cause of heat loss in a home. You should diligently check around all external and internal openings (i.e. lights, doors, windows, vents, etc.). It is also a good idea to add caulking and/or weather-stripping as necessary.
Another place where leaks frequently occur is in your duct-work. Often hidden in out-of-the-way spaces like attics, basements, or crawl spaces, a small leak can wreak havoc on the efficiency of your systems. When in doubt, hire a professional to check/test your duct-work for leaks. When practical, you should also insulate all duct-work you have access to
Install More Insulation
If some is good, more must be better. That is often true when it comes to insulation. A study by the North American Insulation Manufacturers Association estimated nearly 90% of U.S. homes are under insulated. That equates to more energy consumption and less money you have to spend on things you enjoy.
It makes good sense to add additional insulation to your walls, ceiling attic, and crawlspace if possible. When coupled with the elimination of air leaks, your home should be warmer/cooler and your energy savings should be noticeable. The effects can actually be quite dramatic.
Replace Old Appliances
As previously mentioned, going with Energy Star certified appliances is the way to go. Not only do they consumer less energy, but they produce monthly energy bill savings, that add up over time and negate the cost of adding the new appliances.
If funds are tight, try to replace one appliance a year until you have a full compliment of Energy Star appliances. Purchasing compliant items will cost a little more but owning a home means you are in it for the long haul so your energy savings will multiply over time.
Programmable thermostats are the way to go. They can be self-installed and can help you save up to %5 annually on your household energy expenses. They can easily help keep your home regulated by lowering/raising the temperature when you are away from home, resetting to optimal temperatures right before you arrive home.
If your local electric company provides the service, you may want to consider having a digital cycling unit installed. They are often installed at no cost to you with many electrical providers providing you with a monthly credit for having a unit installed. They can shut off your outside condensing unit or your water heater during peak intervals, further reducing your consumption and costs.
Final Home Efficiency Thoughts
Green technology is very popular these days. Being more energy conscious and aware is great, especially if we put into practice what we learn. Remember, being energy conservative means we leave less of a carbon footprint and save money on energy consumption.
Ultimately, if we do our best to conserve energy we are helping to protect the environment for generations to come and doing our part to keep our planet healthy. That’s a win-win!
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