Going green is good for energy cost control and for the planet too. It’s a no brainer. But did you know that it can increase the value of your home when you come to sell it by between 2.1 percent and 5.3 percent?
We’d all love to have lower energy bills and more energy efficient homes. We take a look at 10 energy efficient home improvements you can make.
Not All Energy Efficient Home Improvements Are the Same
The benefits of energy efficient home improvements can vary hugely from situation to situation. A double-glazing installation in one location may be able to demonstrate a return within a few years and in another, it may be negligible.
In may not be a good idea to remove existing less efficient materials to replace them with energy efficient ones. When it comes to a new installation choosing energy efficient solutions may be cost efficient but they may also be required to comply with building controls.
I useful first move could be to have an energy efficiency assessment of your home.
1. Install High-Efficiency Appliances
A brief assessment of the key appliances in your home could identify opportunities for home improvements that would increase efficiency and reduce operating costs. Start by checking the age of your boiler, furnace or air conditioning system. Old appliances are likely to be inefficient.
Any heating system that is more than 15 years old will not meet up to date standards for efficiency. A cooling system that is more than 10 years old is likely to be inefficient and prone to breakdowns too.
Modern heating and cooling systems are cheaper and more efficient than older models. Before the old system breaks down and you incur maintenance and repair costs consider replacing them. The running costs will be cheaper in terms of maintenance as will the energy costs.
2. Extra Insulation
While you are paying for energy to heat your home you should put every effort into retaining the heat. If you don’t have insulation in your loft space have insulation installed. Depending on the climate in your locality loft insulation can make a significant reduction in energy waste.
Even quite new homes may have inadequate loft insulation. An additional layer of insulation could reduce heat loss and so improve energy efficiency.
3. Seal Doors and Windows
Heat loss through window and door surrounds can be reduced by some simple maintenance. Check if there are any drafts around doors, especially exterior doors. Do similar checks around window frames.
Add weather stripping or caulking around windows and doors. The aim is to prevent drafts and improve insulation. This may make a big difference if there has been poor insulation in the past.
Properly installed, new windows may be desirable but they can be a great deal more expensive to fit than doing some basic DIY maintenance. Low-cost high impact preventative maintenance is a wise place to start your home improvement efficiency drive.
4. Double Glazing
If your windows or doors need replacing you have several options. Single, double and even triple glazing options are available. Assess the balance of cost, energy efficiency and durability of each option in the context of your home.
Modern glazing products reduce the transfer of heat from the interior of your home to the exterior. There is a trade-off between increased insulating capability and cost of installation. Heavy triple glazing needs more robust and so more expensive window frames.
The happy medium for your home may be to opt for double glazing that combines lower weight with high efficiency. Learn more by talking to a professional window and door installer about the options.
5. LED lighting
The most effective way of reducing lighting costs is to turn lights off. It’s not always possible to turn lights off so having efficient lighting is the next best thing.
Switching light bulbs from old incandescent light bulbs to light emitting diode light bulbs (LED) or compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFL). Both these modern replacements are much more cost efficient than their old counterparts. The most cost-effective bulbs over the long term are LED bulbs.
6. Smart Thermostat
A smart or programmable thermostat can reduce energy costs by controlling the heating and cooling to meet your needs. It helps maintain the right temperature at the times you need it. It saves you money when you don’t need to heat or cool your home.
Night time may be a good time to reduce energy use with little impact on you and your family. Setting the program to reflect this means that you can rest easy that the thermostat is monitoring the temperature and optimizing energy use.
7. Low Flow Plumbing
Water use is a little understood aspect of energy efficiency. Producing safe water and supplying it to your home is an energy-thirsty activity. Reducing your use of water can help reduce energy use as well as reduce your water bills.
Low-flow plumbing solutions can help reduce water use. These are especially applicable to showers and toilets. They reduce the amount of water needed to shower and flush.
Introducing low-flow fittings is easy and cheap to do. They may pay for themselves with reduced water bills within a few months.
8. Ceiling Fans
Ceiling fans appear to be an inferior and perhaps out of date alternative to air conditioning systems. They can be a very effective way of keeping air moving in your home and reducing the need for air conditioning. They are also a low energy appliance compared to an air conditioning unit.
9. Tankless Water Heating
Heating water up to fill a tank and then maintaining that temperature in readiness for use is an inefficient way of providing hot water in your home. Storing hot water is a problem. Water systems that produce hot water as and when you need it are much more efficient.
Tankless water heaters achieve this trick beautifully. Not only are they more efficient but they supply as much water as you require. No waiting around for the tank to be refilled with hot water after somebody has had a bath.
10. Kitchen Appliances
Older kitchen appliances are less efficient than new ones that comply with the latest energy standards. Consider energy efficiency when buying your next refrigerator, oven, and other kitchen appliances.
Taking care of the planet with energy efficient home improvements make sense for you too. Lower energy costs and environmental considerations go hand in hand.
Here are more home improvement ideas for inside and out.