We use lots of energy to cook, heat our homes, and power appliances. However, being more energy-efficient can help the environment. It can combat climate change, save valuable resources like fossil fuels and lower your utility bills. Here are 10 upgrades you can make today.
1. Try a Smart Thermostat
A smart thermostat conserves energy by adjusting to your ideal temperature. It also lowers when you leave the house and turns back on when you arrive home. Some also track your energy usage so you can make adjustments. A smart thermostat can save about 10%-12% on your heating bills, although it can cost between $200-and $500 to install.
These devices are also convenient. You can control your thermostat directly from your phone.
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2. Add Low-Flow Showerheads
The average person uses about 15.8 gallons of water during an eight-minute shower. Water is an abundant source, but wasting it could lead to scarcity. This could be an issue since we rely on it for agriculture and proper hygiene. Save it by installing a low-flow showerhead to save about 2,900 gallons of water per year.
When shopping for a showerhead, ensure it has the EPA WaterSense label so you know it’s certified. The price range will vary depending on whether you want high-end features. A basic one is around $10 and the more advanced versions can be up to $100.
3. Seal Your Windows and Doors
Small openings in your windows and doors allow air to escape, causing your heater to work harder. You then waste more energy and raise your bills. Enclose gaps in your casements and doors using caulk or weatherstripping. It can cost around $35.87 per door to weatherstrip your home but can save you 15% on your heating and cooling bills.
You can also place a sheet of shrink film on your windows for extra coverage. Make sure to enclose the frames to prevent drafts. This can keep the air inside and make the internal temperature more comfortable on a cloudy day. In addition, spread silicone caulk over cracks in your drywall.
4. Swap Out Your Lightbulbs
Lighting helps enhance the ambiance. However, your bulbs can waste energy over time, so consider switching to LEDs. They use about 75% less energy than incandescents, making them well worth the cost. Plus, they last longer, so you save money on replacements. Halogen or compact fluorescent lamps are also energy-efficient options.
Also, remember to turn off the lights when you leave a room.
5. Insulate Your Space
Insulation can seal leaks and reduce heating and cooling costs. It traps cool air during the warmer seasons, giving your air conditioner a break. It also helps keep your internal temperature comfortable. One place many people insulate is the attic. This stops fluctuating temperatures from impacting the rooms below. It costs $600-$1,200 to add blown-in insulation to your attic. Remember to get between the studs within the walls.
You also want to insulate your garage using fiberglass batts or rigid foam boards. This can reduce noise transfer if you often operate loud power tools. Here are a few more places to add insulation:
- Ducts in unheated areas
- Around recessed lighting
- Crawl space
- Exterior walls
This can save you about $200 on your energy bills per year.
6. Install Solar Panels
Solar power reduces your energy usage and means you don’t need to rely on nonrenewable resources like fossil fuels. It also prevents air pollution by reducing the production of greenhouse gases. Plus, it lowers your electricity bills. This is because you generate power independently instead of using utility companies.
Solar panels could potentially increase your home’s value. The one downside is the higher upfront cost of about $16,000. However, there are tax incentives for installing energy-efficient upgrades. Many homeowners add solar panels to their roofs, which can save about $95,412 over 25 years.
7. Upgrade Your Doors and Windows
A durable entryway is critical, and a storm door provides an extra layer of protection. It prevents air from escaping, keeping your home’s temperature consistent. This prevents your HVAC system from constantly adjusting to temperature fluctuations, wasting energy. Many doors have low-emissivity glass and a protective coating to reduce heat loss.
Plus, they last longer, preventing the need for replacements. That way, fewer resources, and energy are wasted during the manufacturing process.
You also want to upgrade your windows. Look for Energy Star-certified ones that are double-paned. New windows may cost around $400-$650, but they can save you about $125 to $465 a year on your energy bills.
8. Buy Energy-Star Rated Appliances
Energy-Star-rated appliances to reduce your electricity and water usage. They follow guidelines set up by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and can use 10%-50% less energy a year while reducing greenhouse gas emissions. These appliances also help lower your electricity bills.
There are multiple Energy-Star products available, including dishwashers, refrigerators, and stoves. They provide a more modern appearance and can increase your home’s value. An Energy-Star rated dishwasher costs about $35 to run per year.
9. Use Less Framing During Additions
Additions are a great way to increase your house’s function. You can create a home office or extra rooms for guests to stay over. One thing to keep in mind is to use minimal framing when building new walls. This prevents the overproduction of materials and saves you money on lumber.
10. Repair Your Roof
Holes in your roof can make it easier for air to escape. This causes an inconsistent internal temperature and forces your HVAC system to overwork itself. It also leads to carbon emissions and wears down the appliance, meaning you’ll have to replace it sooner. This increases the need for mass production that contributes to energy consumption.
How to Make Your Home More Energy-Efficient
You have many decisions to make when it comes to renovations. You want to determine the best space to remodel and what upgrades to make. Consider adding these energy-efficient updates to your next home improvement project and watch the savings add up.
In case you have any architectural, structural, and MEP design including fire sprinkler design requirements, or need an energy-efficient home design including structure, and HVAC design, feel free to contact us. We provide you with the full permit set design + T24 for your request.
Rose is the managing editor of Renovated. She’s most interested in sharing home projects and inspiration for the most novice of DIY-ers, values she developed growing up in a family of contractors.