5 Steps to a More Energy Efficient Home

Written by Posted On Friday, 15 June 2018 10:15
5 Steps to a More Energy Efficient Home CleanTechnica

5 Steps to a More Energy Efficient Home

The average American spends approximately $3,000 on energy costs per given year. As our dependence on fossil fuels grows, this number is only likely to increase.

Some of this annual expenditure includes money spent on fuel for vehicles. The bulk of energy costs, however, concern fuel used within the home.

Maximizing your home’s energy efficiency can save you valuable time and money over time, reducing your annual energy bills by up to thirty percent. It can also boost home value if you are keen to sell your current residence.

More importantly, ensuring efficient energy use in your household pays urgent tribute to the environment. Our ability to reverse climate change lies in our capacity to use energy mindfully in all aspects of our lives.

Here are some actionable tips you can implement this summer for a more energy-efficient, mindful home!

1. Upgrade Your Lighting System

The typical U.S. homeowner will require at least 900 kilowatt hours of electricity every month. A large portion of monthly electric bills comes from light use.

Take a quick scan of your home’s lighting system. Many older homes will have a healthy amount of incandescent or halogen bulbs, which are actually far less energy efficient than other models. In fact, LEDs or compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs) require a quarter or less of the energy incandescents or halogens require to function. What’s more, they can last for years.

While energy-efficient lights like LEDs may be costlier to start, their ability to slash energy bills and reduce needs for replacement is well worth the investment. Upgrade your lighting system as possible to achieve an energy efficient home.

Lastly, be sure to turn off lights when not in use. This can be a difficult habit to develop, especially during colder and darker seasons in northern climates. For this reason, consider investing in light dimmers or reducing the number of lamps in your home.

2. Invest in Energy-Efficient Appliances

Home appliances like refrigerators, washers and dryers, and stoves can account for up to 13% of your home’s monthly energy costs. Investing in appliances that are designed to conserve energy while getting the job done can dramatically reduce your monthly energy bill.

Simply purchasing an appliance labeled as “sustainable” or “eco-friendly” is not sufficient in this regard. Do your research well and seek out appliances that are officially registered as EnergyStar products.

The EnergyStar program provides consumers with valuable information about reducing energy dependency in their homes. EnergyStar products are recognized as some of the most efficient models on the market. Check out this list of EnergyStar’s most efficient line of appliances this 2018.

I recommend exchanging your current, major-use appliances for EnergyStar products. What’s more, choosing space-efficient appliances can also reduce your energy dependency. Companies like this one specialize in the production of compact, energy-efficient appliances for every homeowner.

Once you do install your new, earth-friendly appliances, keep the majority unplugged when not in use. Naturally, you may not be able to unplug your fridge, but you can pull the cord on your toaster, coffee maker, microwave, and more before you leave for work or call it a day.

3. Consider Alternative Energy Sources

There are currently over 1.3 million solar installations in American households. Solar power is soaring around the globe, too, powering commercial and residential structures and cutting country dependency on fossil fuels.

Alternative energy sources like solar power can give homeowners a virtually limitless, fully sustainable, and zero-waste means of powering their homes. These sources are also renewable, meaning that they are not likely to deplete themselves any time soon.

There was a time when solar energy was only available to businesses or luxury homeowners. Now, however, any homeowner can actually finance solar panels and their installation, and these costs are dropping.

You don’t have to make the full switch to renewable energy if you don’t wish to do so. However, using solar panels to supplement your monthly energy needs can reduce your energy bills and overall dependency significantly.

In fact, solar panel usage can be particularly ideal for older homeowners or elderly residents who struggle to consciously monitor energy dependency.

Do consider your county’s or city’s regulations when it comes to solar panel or alternative energy usage. Always hire professionals to install your solar panels, as DIY installation can be dangerous and damaging.

4. Be Conscious With Water Use

Who doesn’t love a long hot shower? It can be a luxury to simply let the water in your home run.

But Americans can waste trillions of gallons of water every year through leaks, inconsiderate use, and inefficient faucets and toilets.

Turn your bathroom faucet off when washing your face, brushing your teeth, or performing daily hygiene. Limit showers as much as possible to 5-10 minutes by multitasking (i.e., bathing your body as you let the conditioner sink in).

Fix running toilets right away or replace your current model with an energy-saving one that uses different flushing mechanisms for solid and liquid waste. Simply replacing leaky faucets with water-saving ones can save you hundreds of dollars a year.

Implement a rain-catchment system to harvest rainwater and nourish your plants. Don’t let that sprinkler go for hours—take care of your lawn and trees mindfully.

5. Get an Energy Audit

An energy audit is a simple and effective means of identifying your energy output and needs. It can also give insight into steps you can take to maximize home efficiency.

Many energy audits reveal the need for better insulation, either in the form of doors, windows, or actual heating systems. Solid insulation can prevent air leakage, which can drain homes of energy and waste exorbitant amounts of electricity.

Audits can also help you craft a plan for monitoring energy dependency in the future. I recommend installing a smartphone app like Energy Tracker, which can track your daily usage of energy and provide suggestions about energy independence.

The beginning of an energy-conscious home lies in awareness. Get knowledgeable and the earth (and your wallet) will thank you! More information about home energy dependency and awareness can be found here.

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Kate King

Kate King is a freelance writer, editor, and blogger. 

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