Homeowners are always looking for ways to save a dollar or two when it comes to the function of their property. Rising utility and maintenance costs are driving consumers to look for solutions to make their homes more energy efficient. The good news is, there are a few strategies and products that can do so. Here is a list of 8 ways you can make your home more energy efficient, which can save you hundreds of dollars over the course of a year.
1. Improving/Installing Insulation
Installing insulation in your home can keep your house warm during the cold winter months and cool in the hot summer months and can reduce heating and cooling costs by as much as 20 percent (according to Green Energy Solutions, Inc.).
If your house has no wall insulation, such as conventional stud walls, blown-in insulation can greatly improve your comfort and save enough energy to be very cost-effective.
2. Replacing incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs)
Even though CFLs are more expensive upfront, they can save three-quarters of the electricity used by incandescent bulbs and can last up to 12 times longer. Some of the new CFLs last 10,000 hours and use only about 27 watts to generate as much light as a 100-watt incandescent bulb.
3. Using a programmable thermostat
As technology continues to improve, programmable thermostats have become more regularly used. You can save as much as 10% a year on heating and cooling costs by simply turning your thermostat back 7°-10°F for 8 hours a day from its normal setting (according to energy.gov).
You can do this automatically by scheduling the times you turn on the heating/air conditioning or controlling the temperature from your smartphone while not at home. When used properly, this device can save users up to $150 per year, and it’s generally more accurate than a regular thermostat (according to Energy Star)
4. Planting shade trees and shrubs
This method is typically ideal for older houses with relatively poor insulation and windows. Planting trees with thick leaf cover can save energy, especially if planted on the house’s west side. During the summer, the foliage can block infrared radiation that would warm the house, while during the winter the bare branches let this radiation come through.
5. Upgrading/Replacing windows
Your windows can also cause you to lose a lot of heat during the winter months, and cool air during the summer months. This can really be detrimental when it comes to your energy costs over the year.
According to EnergyStar.gov, replacing windows will save 7 to 24 percent of your heating and air-conditioning bills, but the larger savings would be associated with replacing single-glazed windows. Not only will you end up saving money on your energy bill, more importantly, you will experience a more comfortable home with enhanced beauty and value.
6. Installing solar panels
The further we get into the “green movement”, installing solar panels on your roof is becoming more and more popular. Solar energy is not only sustainable, it is renewable and this means that we will never run out of it. It is about as natural a source of power as it is possible to generate electricity. They can actually help to cut down on your electricity costs because it allows you to produce your own electricity. This really is something to consider, especially when you think about the fact that they are so cost effective.
7. Energy Efficient Appliances
A large percentage of your yearly energy cost comes from the use of large appliances, so why not equip your home with appliances that will reduce costs? If you are in the market for a new refrigerator, dishwasher, clothes washer, clothes dryer, water heater or other appliance, an energy efficient appliance is the smart way to go. Energy star certified appliances use less energy, and while they may cost you a bit more in the beginning, it is much more of an investment for you. This is because it will save you money over time when it comes to running your appliances.
8. Scheduling an energy audit
If you are unsure whether these options listed above are going to help with the efficiency of your home, schedule an energy audit. Energy auditors use specialized tools and skills to evaluate your home and recommend the most cost effective measures to improve its comfort and efficiency. This can help you determine which parts of your home need to be improved.
Here is just a quick list with some ways to make your home more energy efficient and save you money at the same time. Not only will these ideas make your home function better, they will also increase the value of your home. Buying and maintaining a home is a huge investment, so you should consider these energy efficient options to protect it.