5 Ideas For Energy Efficient Homes
It is no secret that the cost of energy is spiraling out of control. The average American household spends $1,370 annually on power, and by the look of things these figures are only going to go up. While energy prices continue to climb, what isn't keeping pace is people's income, and with rising awareness on the effect of fossil fuel emissions on the environment, a great many are attempting to bring down their energy expenditure by opting for more efficient homes. So, if you have found your utility bills eerily higher this year than the last, then here are 5 ways you can use to make your home more energy efficient...
1. Consider changing your home's windows
A large amount of your home's heat can escape through the windows. However, you can stop this to a certain extent. For starters, consider replacing aluminum window frames with vinyl ones, as they do not permit heat to flow through as easily.
Window tints are also useful in energy efficient homes. During summer months, the sun can heat up the air inside your home making your AC work overtime to keep the rooms cool, greatly increasing your power bill. By tinting the windows, you can not only ensure the rooms remain cool during summers, but warm in winters too as the solar screens will prevent heat from the building to escape.
Finally, double glazed windows are better at keeping heat from leaving a building than single pane windows. You can look into getting newer triple glazed windows which are even more efficient as well.
2. Replace old electrical appliances with more efficient ones
Electrical appliances such as your AC, TV, refrigerator, washing machine and microwave are all energy guzzlers. If you are serious about efficiency, then consider getting Energy Star certified appliances with a rating of at least 3 stars. If you can go for 5 star appliances, then even better! It's easy to spot these models in the supermarket as they will carry an "Energy Star Certified" label on them. Efficient appliances can cost more upfront, however they pay back with savings resulting from lower energy expenditure.
You can take this even further by opting for home automation packages which can control aspects of your home such as temperature, lighting, and small appliances from a central hub. Home automation technologies are designed to cut down unnecessary energy expenditure making them a great investment for energy efficient houses.
3. Get LED and CFL lighting
If you are still using incandescent lighting products, then now will be a good time to look into light emitting diode (LED) and compact fluorescent lamps (CFL) bulbs. These bulbs use 25% to 90% lesser energy than their older counterparts, and can last 3 to 25 times longer. LEDs for instance have a useful life of 60,000 hours while a typical incandescent has a lifespan of 1,500. A 6-8 Watt LED bulb can also produce the same amount of light1 as a 60 watt incandescent. There is a wide choice of colors, light levels and designs that you can opt for. Like energy efficient appliances, LED and CFL lighting do cost more than incandescent bulbs upfront, but since they consume much less energy and last longer, you can enjoy the resulting savings for years to come!
4. Add insulation
Proper insulation is an indispensible feature in energy efficient homes. For starters, it can bring down the cost of heating and cooling considerably. How much money you can save will depend upon the size of your home, how much insulation you decide to get and where you live. While newer houses will still have good insulation built into them, older buildings might require significant alteration to bring them up to modern standards. Insulation can not only keep your home warm in the frigid winter months and cool during summers, but also offer protection from noise.
There are quite a few choices you can opt for here. Cotton, hemp, spray foam and hardboard are all good insulators. Insulating the walls is the most important since a typical home can lose around 30%-40% of its heat through them, next comes the roof which can allow 25% of a house's heat to pass through and finally the floors comes last. However, you should check with a contractor to find out which insulation will be a good fit for your home.
5. Go Solar!
What better way to promote energy efficiency than by producing your own electricity? The era when your only option was to be waited upon by a power utility is now passé. Solar panels reduce our dependence on fossil fuels for electricity, and thanks to innovative financing models such as net metering can reduce your power bill by a huge margin as well. As solar energy efficiency has been increasing steadily, we can harness more power from the sun than ever before! A great many people are taking full advantage of the rapidly falling cost of solar power systems, and hedging themselves against future fuel price hikes, while helping battle climate change.
If you are interested in finding out more on how you can get a solar power system for your home, then start by getting a free solar quote from us. One of our solar consultants will shortly thereafter get in touch to help you understand how you too can use free energy from the sun to power your life!
1Comparison Chart - LED Lights vs. Incandescent Light Bulbs vs. CFLs, http://www.designrecycleinc.com/led%20comp%20chart.html
What Can You Save With Solar?
With no end in sight for soaring electricity rates, your switch to solar will secure affordable power for your home & family for years to come.