How to Make Your Home More Energy Efficient
As people become increasingly concerned about the impact of climate change, homeowners are growing interested in how they can renovate their homes and adopt energy efficient habits to help the environment.
In addition to substantially reducing its carbon footprint, energy efficiency in the home provides numerous benefits to the homeowner, including driving down energy costs, increasing the property value and creating a cleaner, healthier living space.
Continue reading to learn more about the benefits of energy efficiency and how you can take steps to decrease the overall energy consumption of each room in your house.
What is energy efficiency and how can it benefit the homeowner?
Energy efficiency refers to a home’s ability to use as little energy as possible. Efficiency is improved by designing, constructing, and even living in the home in a way that reduces the total level of energy consumption.
One of the greatest benefits of energy efficiency is cost savings. Homeowners can drive their monthly and annual energy costs down simply by making a few improvements. More than that, energy-efficient homes also tend to be significantly easier to maintain. That makes them more durable and sustainable over time, which could pay off if you decide to sell in the future.
Energy-efficient homes also use less water. This is especially important for homes located in parts of the country that mandate periodic water bans, particularly during the summer months. Reducing your water consumption can help you manage these bans with as little friction as possible.
Important for you and your family’s day-to-day well-being, energy efficiency can also contribute to a cleaner and safer home, providing a healthier and more comfortable living environment for everyone inside.
If you’re ready to reap all the benefits that come with energy efficiency, let’s begin at the top and explore possible ways to make your home more energy efficient.
Many homeowners don’t give their attics the attention they deserve. In terms of energy efficiency, this can be a problem because heat rises, and the attic can become a major cause of wasted energy if not properly managed.
Insulation. One easy way to improve energy efficiency in the attic is to add a layer of insulation to attic walls and ceilings. There could be a large upfront cost to undertake this, but it will add a significant boost to your home’s energy efficiency, which will substantially drive down energy costs in the months and years ahead. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates you can save around 15% on heating and cooling costs by adding insulation to your attic, in addition to a few other home improvements.
Fiberglass. If you’re ready to take the next step, the material you use can also have an impact on your home’s efficiency. Fiberglass is one of the most commonly used materials for insulation, but builders and homeowners have begun to experiment with a wider selection of materials as well.
Eco-friendly insulation. Cellulose insulation material, to use one example, is made primarily from recycled newspaper. Adding extra padding of cellulose insulation not only helps drive down costs directly associated with your energy consumption, but the use of recycled material also helps reduce your overall carbon footprint.
Living rooms and bedrooms
Moving down from the attic to other parts of your home, living rooms and bedrooms get more varied use and will require more sophisticated energy-efficient solutions.
Efficient lighting. One of the first steps you can take is equipping all of your rooms with efficient lighting. According to the Department of Energy, LED lights use up to 75% less energy than standard incandescent light bulbs and can last around 25 times as long. Not only do you get the savings associated with less energy consumption, but you also reduce waste by requiring fewer bulb replacements.
Windows. You can also manipulate windows to boost energy efficiency. Invest in energy-efficient windowpanes to trap heat in the winter months, reducing overreliance on central heating systems. Windowpanes can also be designed to block out the sun’s heat when it’s warmer, reducing the temperature inside the home and lessening the need for costly air conditioning.
Smart thermostats. These systems use artificial intelligence and machine learning technology to learn when different rooms are being occupied, using this information to lower or raise the temperature only when needed. One of the industry’s leading smart thermostat manufacturers estimates that these devices can create annual cost savings of up to $145.
Appliances. The TV, DVD player or computer could be unplugged when not in use. They still draw energy, called phantom power. This is an easy step to lower your electric bill!
Bathrooms and laundry rooms
These rooms are a major source of water and energy usage, and you can boost the energy efficiency of your bathrooms and laundry room simply by developing some better habits.
Use less water. Turn off the faucet while soaping and scrubbing while showering, and also by keeping yourself to a time-restricted shower. Turning off the water while brushing your teeth represents another important energy savings opportunity.
Use cold water whenever possible. Hot water requires energy to bring to the desired temperature, so cold water can help drive down costs. It’s also important to unplug all appliances when you aren’t using them. This includes electric toothbrushes, hairdryers, electric razors and any other electronic device in your bathroom.
Air dry when possible. In the laundry room, the clothes dryer is one of the biggest energy consumers among all household appliances, representing more than a third of your home’s energy usage, according to the EPA. Air dry whenever possible and ensure that you’re only drying appropriately sized loads to avoid having to redry clothes.
Many of your home’s appliances reside in the kitchen, so one of the best ways you can improve energy efficiency is to be more mindful of appliance use in the kitchen. Helpful steps you can take include:
Shut the stove when cooking. Every time you open your stove, you’re causing heat to escape, forcing the oven to use more energy to return to the set baking temperature.
Unplug all appliances. Like the electronic devices you use in the bathroom, your kitchen appliances are using energy even when they are not in use. Unplug them after each use to conserve energy.
Air-dry dishes. Air-drying your dishes whenever possible helps cut down on the costs associated with using your dishwasher. You can also make your dishwasher more efficient by only running it when it’s completely full.
Keep fridge and freezer doors closed. It can be easy to leave these doors open when you’re going in and out of the refrigerator/freezer. Closing these doors whenever you can helps prevent air conditioning loss.
Use the microwave. Microwave ovens use less energy than conventional ovens, so utilizing your microwave more can help conserve energy.
There are several steps you can take to boost your home’s overall efficiency.
Air Filters. Make sure filters in all appliances throughout your home are cleaned and replaced regularly, which can significantly enhance their effectiveness. The Energy Department noted that replacing your air conditioner’s dirty filter can improve its efficiency by up to 15%.
Transportation. Decrease the amount of energy your family uses by relying more on energy-efficient forms of transportation. That means carpooling, taking the bike and using public transit whenever possible.
Reduce, reuse, recycle. You can also make major strides toward reducing your carbon footprint by reusing and recycling waste products and other unused items. More than just chucking plastics in the recycling bin, you can also donate worn clothing, compost food scraps and sell used electronic equipment to the right IT companies.
Solar Panels. Finally, you can invest in renewable energy like solar. Solar panels don’t generate any emissions and gather their power from the sun, and they can save you more than $1,300 a year on energy costs.
RMS can be your partner here, as our loan officers can originate renovation loans to help finance the costs of overhauling and remodeling your home to make it more energy efficient.
Trust our team at RMS
RMS is dedicated to consistently providing our customers with a high-quality home financing experience that is both simple and easy to understand. Using the right balance of communication, technology and teamwork, our RMS loan officers will provide a home mortgage experience you can feel confident about.
So, rest assured, next time you or someone you know needs help financing a home, your experienced RMS loan officer is ready to guide you home!
Contact us today to get started.