For years, Energy Efficiency has been a topic buried under all the ‘green’ talk surrounding the use of solar power at home and alternative energy sources.
Today, energy efficient homes are taking center stage on a massive scale. Home improvement projects now focus on aspects of the home such as conducting energy audits and air sealing your home’s attic, walls, and basement. A home’s energy efficiency is priority number one before any homeowners should even consider using solar power at home. Think about it, if you’re home is an energy hog, and not using energy efficiently, it will take a whole lot more solar energy to power your home, driving up the price of installing such a solar power system.
So, first things first, energy efficient home improvements need to be understood at the outset of any ‘green’ home improvement project.
One of the misconceptions of going green is, If you add green features to your home, costs would also rise. Fortunately, the opposite is true. By redesigning processes — reducing mistakes, doing things right the first time — home owners can improve their home’s energy efficiency and cut their home energy costs.
Because so many people now need to save the green in their wallets, going green at home through energy efficient home improvements is the logical way to go.
So, just how much money can be saved in a household by improving home energy efficiency?
The average American home has about 40-50 light bulbs, excluding closet lights, and most homes are filled with incandescent bulbs. Compact fluorescent bulbs or CFLs are the easiest energy efficient home improvement you can make to start. Four CFL bulbs use the energy of one incandescent bulb, by replacing all of them, you could save $350 a year on your electric bill!
What about water efficiency? Bathrooms, which can easily be the most wasteful rooms in the house, have a great opportunity to be a very efficient room as well. Low flow toilets instead of the standard, 3.5-gallon toilets, which, for a family of five, can cut a water bill by $165 a year. Low flow sink faucets in both bathrooms can also reduce the water bill by another $200 a year. There are also adjustable shower heads that control the flow of water so it isn’t on full spray for the entire time in the shower. These attachable heads can slow down water flow by 80 percent when full power isn’t needed, such as when soaping up or shaving. By adjusting the water flow, a family of five can save up to $350 annually on their water bill and as much as $350 on their heating bill given the reduced use of hot water.
Heating and Cooling
Nothing in the home consumes more energy than the heating and cooling system. Keeping your home warm in the winter and cool in the summer is a constant battle to separate the inside elements from the outside. The best way to improve home energy efficiency when it comes to heating and cooling is through air sealing your home. Also known as weatherizing, this is a crucial element to any energy efficient home. Trouble areas include the roof where hot air can escape in the winter and also attract heat during the summer. Home improvements such as “Cool Roofs” are a great way to reduce summer time heat. The attic is a very important element to insulate the house. If your insulation is less than six inches thick, it’s time to make some improvements.