Improve your home energy efficiency with the following strategies. Start by focusing on the exterior of your home – attic walls, windows and doors.
The next target area is your energy consumption and the most important systems in your home like the cooling (air conditioning), heating (central heating), lighting, and other appliances (washer & dryer, etc.).
Insulation in Walls and Attic
The insulation in your home is very important in improving the energy efficiency. The insulation is responsible for slowing the rate in which the conditioned air which is set by the thermostat (warm or cold) leaks out of the house. Therefore, if the insulation is effective then your HVAC units will run less often, drawing less energy to keep your home comfortable.
If your insulation is not doing its job of sealing in the conditioned air then your units will run more consistently and be drawing more energy throughout the day.
Attic’s are out of sight and out of mind, so commonly forgotten about when it comes to evaluating the insulation. Unfinished attic’s can be one of the more problematic sources of inefficiency.
Blown-in insulation can improve your comfort and energy efficiency in your home.
Window Updates and Replacements
Old windows tend to become leak points where air begins to flow more freely and hence becoming a drain on energy as the conditioned air is getting out and outdoor temperatures coming in.
Energy-efficient window models boosted with weatherstripping and storm windows are an excellent consideration to improve the energy efficiency of your home.
Shade Your Home with Trees and Shrubs
If heat gain from direct sun light is a problem, you could add shade trees and shrubs around the exterior of the home to reduce the amount of sun. Closing your window blinds and using curtains can also reduce direct sunlight from coming into the home and heating up your floors.
Update Your Furnace with a High-Efficiency System
Furnaces built before 1992 have a standing pilot, wasting 30-35 percent of the fuel its using. If you have a furnace from that time period it’s more than ready to be updated. I bring this up to illustrate the improvements over time to furnace systems.
Condensing furnaces have annual efficiency of at least 90 percent. Wasting no more than 10 percent of natural gas you are paying for will create savings for you as well as decrease inefficiency.
Upgrade Your Hot Water System
Start by reducing the temperature in your water heater to around 110-120° Fahrenheit. Insulate your hot water lines to keep the water temperature from dropping quickly. Use low-flow bath and shower fixtures to reduce the amount of water used.
Some contractors use on-demand hot water circulating pumps. This will help with remote fixtures, and accelerate the delivery of hot water.
Light System Updates
Switching incandescent lightbulbs to compact fluorescent lamps can save incredible amount of electricity. Compact Fluorescent lamps have been measured to show as much as 75 percent reduction of electricity usage from older incandescent bulbs.
Compact Fluorescent lamps cost more up front and last 10,000 hours and uses 27 watts to generate as much light as a 100 watt incandescent bulb.
The lighting cost of using compact fluorescent lamps is less than 33 percent of the cost of continuing to use incandescent bulbs.
Updating your refrigerator is an excellent idea to improve energy efficiency in your home. New refrigerators are much more energy efficient.
A common idea is to then turn your old fridge into a storage fridge for less commonly needed items. The problem with this strategy is that your old refrigerator is going to continue to be very inefficient in its energy use.
When purchasing your upgraded refrigerator consider the space you need and try to get everything you need from your new unit.
A tip to know when upgrading your refrigerator is when it comes to configuration, a top-mount freezer will use 20-25 percent less energy than a side-by-side model and typically offers more space.
Tax Incentives for Home Improvements
Federal tax incentives are available for making energy efficient upgrades to existing homes. These incentives consider things like improvements to windows and insulation, heating and air conditioning upgrades, and more.