Energy-efficient homes use less energy by making the most of natural resources like sun, light and wind. Making your home energy-efficient translates into having a smaller energy bill. You will see that with only a few changes here and there, you can save your hard-earned money, reduce your carbon footprint, and make a difference. Here are a few measures you can take to begin with to save energy.
Conduct an Audit
For optimal energy efficiency, find out how you are using energy and where you are losing it. Get help from a professional if need be. Professional auditors can do a whole-house energy assessment at a very low cost. They can identify the serious energy offenders at your place and guide you on how to reduce energy consumption. There are online tools available as well that take note of your energy use and based on it give recommendations for cost-effective improvements.
Insulate Your Home
Your house needs to be well-insulated from the roof down to its very foundation. This will provide year-round comfort, improve air quality and cut down your energy bills in half. You can have the roof, attic, floor, wall and every part of your house insulated.
In the US homes, the biggest energy gobblers are space cooling and heating systems. To make them operate better, seal all areas where you may be losing heated or cold air. Windows and doors are the main points of energy leakage. Gaps in the window mean your cooling or heating system is consuming more energy. You can use caulk which is a cheap option or weather stripp the windows and the doors. Get quality door sweeps on the doors and seal your home properly to trim your bills.
Change Old Appliances
Appliances like washers, dryers, dishwashers, ovens, stoves and refrigerators are the most serious offenders of wasting energy. When changing your run down appliances and electronics, buy those that come with the Energy Star label as they save a lot of energy. The label is approved by the U.S. Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency.
Be Smart Regarding Appliance Placement
A small change like where you keep your appliance can make a difference. Be careful not to put appliances that produce heat next to those that do the opposite job, (like keeping a hot stove next to a freezer or refrigerator). This will force the appliances to work twice as much.
Unplug Battery Chargers
Unplug all battery chargers, be it mobile or laptop chargers because they consume a lot of energy even if they aren’t charging the devices.
Shut Down Electronics When Not in Use
Do not leave electronics on all day. Turn them on, only when you need them. When you are not using the computer make sure to shut it off properly, or at least turn the monitor off to reduce energy drain. A television must also be unplugged because even if you leave it on standby, it will still consume a small amount of energy.
Efficient lighting is a great habit of energy-efficient homes. In a typical US home, lighting accounts for 11% of the total energy bill. Try to limit its use and use natural light when possible. Turn the lights off when the room is unoccupied. Instead of a light bulb, use LEDs as these are more energy efficient and last longer.
Clean Filters Regularly
Make sure you clean all home filters regularly, so they can function efficiently. Dirt clogged in them will not only make the system work harder, but also for longer periods of time.
Make Refrigerators Operate Better
Your refrigerators and freezers need to be full to work better, but that doesn’t mean you overfill them. Just take care that there is enough airflow. It is also advised to keep the refrigerator temperature according to the manufacturer’s recommendation.
Use Dishwashers the Smart Way
Turn off “heated dry” on your dishwasher and let the dishes air dry. Use the dishwasher at full capacity only and turn the water temperature down to save up on energy. Try to avoid using the dishwasher during peak hours.
Save Energy with Curtains
Energy-efficient homes have window-treatments. Make use of thick curtains so that your air-conditioner is not over-burdened. And in winters, pull the curtains away from the windows to welcome sunlight in to warm your house.
Do Not Overcharge
Disconnect devices once they have been charged. Some people constantly charge their gadgets, mostly mobiles and laptops. Not only does it munch on power, but is harmful for the batteries as well.
Energy Efficient Windows
By changing the glass of your window from single glazing to double or triple glazing, you can make a surprising impact on energy expenditure and can cut it down by 30%.
Use Washing Machine Intelligently
Modern washing machines come with energy-saving temperature settings. Lower the temperature, to reduce the use of energy. Use them with full load to decrease the number of times the machine is used.
Get a Water Efficient Showerhead
This uses less water as compared to a regular showerhead. The low-flow heads deliver enough water to get the job done, without wasting extra amounts.
Do Not Open the Oven Door Unnecessarily
Taking a peek in the oven time and again, results in reducing the heat by as much as 25 degrees Fahrenheit. So avoid the temptation.
The trend for this environment-friendly option is fast picking up as it can provide considerable savings. Solar panels supply renewable free energy and can be used to generate electricity, heat water and meet other energy needs.
Hybrid Water Heaters
Use hybrid water heaters instead of conventional ones to save energy. A hybrid water heater uses heat from outside air which is efficient and may be a great choice for your home.
According to the US Department of Energy, by turning the thermostat back 7 to 10 degrees F from its normal setting for 8 hours every day, you can save heating and cooling energy consumption by 10% a year. Set the temperatures for your awake and sleep hours and for when you leave and return home. Get a programmable thermostat because the automatic adjustment of temperature according to your schedule and needs will make your life easier.
Embracing cost-cutting practices can make a huge impact on your total energy expenses and make your home environmentally friendly. Start by knowing more about your energy usage in your home to prevent wastage. Understand your energy needs in order to formulate an effective plan. Now you can incorporate one or many of our list of energy-efficient home habits.