We live in a world where a growing number of people are looking to find ways to live more efficiently. From driving electric vehicles to reducing energy usage, there are all sorts of ways that the average human can make better choices for the environment. As a homeowner, there are many things you can do to reduce your home’s carbon footprint.
Here are 5 energy efficient improvements that you can make for your home. What’s even better is that these improvements tend to pay for themselves over time, so the return on investment is quite high.
1. Buy Energy Efficient Appliances
Depending on the age of your home, you may greatly benefit from installing a new furnace, HVAC unit, or boiler. Homes that are more than 15 years old typically have older appliances that use a lot of energy to heat and cool your home. Thanks to the recent developments in the home heating and cooling industry, there are now systems that are more efficient.
Aside from these big systems, there are also other appliances that you can replace with more energy efficient options. Replacing kitchen appliances is the most common option. These days well-known brands such as Kenmore, Whirlpool, and GE all offer energy efficient dishwashers, washing machines, dryers, and much more.
2. Use Programmable Thermostat
In the past when you left your home for work or for vacation, there was no way to control your thermostat. The minute you left your home you had no way to lower or raise the temperature depending on the weather outside. Thankfully these days many companies now offer programmable thermostats.
A programmable thermostat allows you to have full control over your home’s temperature, even when you’re not there. These thermostats allow you to set temperature schedules, which means you can lower the temperature when you’re not or home or when you’re asleep, saving you money on energy costs.
Many programmable thermostats also offer mobile apps in which you can control your home’s heating and cooling system with a few swipes and taps.
3. Replace Doors & Windows
Your home’s doors and windows are what protect it from the outside elements, especially wind and rain. If you have a drafty sliding glass door or windows, chances are there’s a lot of outside air making its way into your home. This means that the HVAC has to work even harder to keep your home at the proper temperature. The more your HVAC works, the less energy efficient your home is and the more expensive your energy costs.
Unsure if the doors and windows in your home are drafty? Telltale signs include:
- Feeling air when putting your hand near the door or window
- Difficulty when opening or closing
- Condensation in or on the glass
To make your home more energy efficient, you can replace drafty doors and windows. If you don’t notice any obvious signs of drafts, it never hurts to add another layer of protection to keep drafts at bay including a new line of caulking and weather stripping.
4. Add More Insulation
The proper amount of insulation in your home depends mostly depends on the climate. Newer homes are often properly insulated while older homes typically have a lot less than what’s recommended by the U.S. Department of Energy.
When adding more insulation to your home, the best place to start is the attic. This is because hot air rises, making the attic the prime culprit for heat loss in the winter.
By adding more insulation to your home, you can experience tremendous savings, especially during the extreme weather months. The less energy your home uses, the less money you’ll have to put forth for energy costs each month.
5. Install a More Efficient Water System
Aside from gas and electricity, water usage also impacts how energy efficient your home is. There are many upgrades you can make to your home to make the water system more efficient. Start by installing low-flow plumbing fixtures including toilets, showerheads, and faucets. By using the minimum amount of water needed, you can improve your home’s water efficiency.
The best part about making the water system more efficient is that it’s relatively low cost. Low-flow fixtures will pay for themselves in the money you save on water bills.
By making these 5 energy efficient improvements to your home, you can reduce your energy bills while also lessening your home’s carbon footprint. While some of these improvements can have hefty upfront costs, the good news is that the money you save over the months and years ahead will all but pay for the initial costs.
Featured Image Source: Flickr