We all want our home to be more environmentally friendly, not just for the greater good but for the savings. There’s a fallacy that renovating your house to be environmentally friendly is expensive and time-consuming, but in fact, you can make some simple changes that cost very little and ultimately save you cash in electricity and water bills.
Let’s take a look at a number of changes that you can make for a boost in home efficiency.
Consider Solar Panels Powering your home using solar energy can be expensive, especially in the installation stages. There’s a large outlay to consider at the beginning but solar energy will undoubtedly save you a significant amount of money in the long term through the use of alternative energy. The government now offers some enticing tax benefits for the use of solar panels, so it’s even brighter for those of us who want to go green.
Remember, you don’t need to rework your entire home energy into solar in one go. You can start small, by first replacing outdoor lighting with solar-powered lights for example, or power your water heater by solar energy. This avoids a heavy investment and you’re able to reap the big rewards of solar energy immediately.
Install New Windows Are your windows allowing for too much heat transfer to occur? If you’re not using Energy Star certified windows then you’re throwing away a lot of money in heating or cooling costs, not to mention putting an undue strain on the environment with your higher energy use.
There are other reasons to install new windows too. They can be lower maintenance, more secure, improve the visual appeal of your house and will certainly increase your home’s resale value. In the end, new high-quality windows built to a good specification will save you money.
Tackle Drafts and Leaks Every drafty door or window in your house is a reason your heating system or air conditioner needs to work harder. Try turning off all of your fans and air conditioning and holding a candle near locations you suspect there could be a draft. A small outlay in caulk and weather stripping will pay dividends in energy output savings.
Restore your Roof Roof restoration can be a no-brainer if you have an energy-inefficient roof, despite the cost of a local contractor. Most of the heat from our homes comes in and out via the roof, so choosing the right roof materials and insulating the roof well can shave a big percentage from your electricity bill in the long run. Waterproofed tiles keep the loft warmer in winter months, while heatproof coatings make it cooler in the summer.
Seal the Envelope The roof isn’t the only place where you can insulate your living space from heat and cold – you can air seal your “envelope” – the exterior of the home. Look for pipes, chimneys, vents in the basement – anywhere where heat is able to enter and escape is a priority.
Your attic floor should have at least 10 inches of insulation, and if you live in a cold area then insulation in the walls can go a long way to keeping your home warm.
Upgrade your Cooling and Heating Systems Old boiler, air conditioner, or furnace? It may feel frugal to keep running it until it breaks, but such great strides have been made in the efficiency of these items that a replacement can drop your energy bills by 20-40% right off the bat.
Consider all the other things newer heating and cooling systems can do too -- a programmable thermostat or a system that can be controlled via your smartphone not only saves you a lot of money, but they’re super cool to show off to friends, too!
Cash in Your Rebates Take a look at the many federal and state-wide rebates and incentives that the are offered to homeowners to make their homes more energy efficient. Alternative energy equipment commands a tax credit of up to 30% of the total cost and there’s no upper limit.
Making your home more energy efficient can start from the smallest thing such as changing to a more efficient light bulb. Sooner than you know it you will be making significant changes to your home and way of life, not just to save the environment, but to save a lot of money!