What are Energy Efficient Homes?
This day and age, people are looking to find ways that they can be more energy efficient. The truth is, people want to do anything and everything they can to conserve energy, because it is not only better for the environment but it also helps them to save some money in the long run. Energy efficient homes conserve energy, reduce unnecessary energy consumption, greenhouse gas emissions and demand for non-renewable resources. They provide significant savings over conventional homes.
Energy efficiency is not just for certain people, it is something that everyone can take a part in. The good news is that there are a few ways that you can make your home energy efficient with energy efficient strategies and products, without having to spend too much money out of pocket. Then, you can just enjoy the cost savings throughout the year, and also get a few tax breaks while you are at it. Here are a few things that you should try.
11 Ways to Create Energy Efficient Homes
Improve the Insulation in Your Home
First and foremost, you will want to make sure that you improve the insulation in your home. During the cold winter months, you could be letting out a lot of your heat if you don’t have good insulation. This could be costing you, and it could also be detrimental to the environment. The key is to make sure that you have proper insulation, weather stripping and other insulating techniques throughout your home. You can do this yourself, or have an expert come in and handle it for you.
Consider Replacing Your 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. Some of the older types of windows aren’t as energy efficient as you would like for them to be. Double panel windows and other vinyl frames are much better than single pane windows and aluminum frames. You may also consider tinting your windows and keeping your blinds open to let some light in that won’t cost you a dime. If you have trouble, you could always hire a Dallas Window Installation or another window installation expert.
Use Compact Fluorescent Bulbs (CFLs)
If you have the older type light bulbs in your home, then you may find that you are using much more energy than you have to as well. This is why so many people are switching to fluorescent bulbs. They may be a bit more up front, but over time you end up saving money. They can last up to 12 times longer than a regular incandescent bulb will. You can even mix them up a bit and use some of the fluorescent bulbs and some incandescent bulbs and it will still have a dramatic difference on your overall usage of energy.
Look for Energy Efficient Appliances
If you are shopping for new appliances to help make your home more energy efficient, look for appliances that have the HE logo. 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.
Don’t Overuse Appliances
Even with energy efficient appliances, you still don’t want to overuse them. Don’t use your heater too much during the winter months, unless you must. Also, try to keep your thermostats at a comfortable setting rather than changing them up all the time. If you change them up too much, it uses far more energy than you should. You should also consider turning certain things off when they are not in use, because believe it or not they use energy even if they aren’t powered on- just if they are plugged into the wall.
Consider Solar Panels
If you can afford it, solar panels may be a great investment. You can have them installed on your rooftop, and believe it or not they can actually help to cut down on your electricity costs because it helps you to be able to produce your own electricity. This really is something to consider, especially when you think about the fact that they are so cost effective. It isn’t for everyone, but as we get further into the green movement you will begin to see many more people that opt to have solar panels installed at their home.
Schedule Energy Efficiency Audit
Give a call to energy auditors to check as to where your home currently stand in terms of energy efficiency. These auditors are equipped with specialized tools and skills that can help them to evaluate energy efficiency of your home and determine where efficiency can be improved by recommending some low cost measures. This will help you to figure out as to which parts of your home needs your immediate attention.
Plant Shady Landscaping
Great landscaping outside your home can help you to protect your home from intense sun during summer days and chilly winds during winter season. The tree and its leaves will protect your house from sun’s rays during hotter days and make it cool to live inside comfortably. If you have been using high energy efficient appliances and good insulation in your home, the effect will be much smaller as you home is already blocking all the heat.
Install Programmable Thermostat
A programmable thermostat is another efficient way to cut down energy usage in your home. When you’re away, set the thermostat to higher temperature and to low in cooler months. A programmable thermostat doesn’t cost much and the money saved by reducing energy usage can be used to pay for it in few months.
Switch off Gadgets when not in use
An idle printer, desktop computer, microwave ovens and coffee makers equipped with LED clocks running all night when not in use, do consume power. Switch them off when you don’t need them immediately. Even try to switch off your refrigerator when you are planning to go away from home for a long time. These small savings will eventually turn to big savings once you calculate the amount of energy saved by the end of year.
Set Water Heater to Warm Setting
You can cut electricity bills by making few of these adjustments. Firstly, set the temperature of your water heater to warm setting (approx. 120°F – 130°F). You don’t need water more hot than it to wash your clothes and dishes. Secondly, use low-flow fixtures for showers and baths and thirdly, insulate your hot water pipes so they don’t cool off quickly.
As you can see, creating energy efficient homes isn’t all that difficult. There are simple steps that you can take, and you don’t have to do it all at once. It may be just a good idea for you to make a few changes every now and then to work towards it, so that you don’t overwhelm yourself.
Image credit: RichM. , Photo Dean
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