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5 Ways To Improve Your Homes Energy Efficiency
Each year, new home builders come out with cutting edge energy efficient features to add to their product lines, but you don’t need to buy a new home to enjoy all of the benefits. There are many ways to retrofit or improve the efficiency of existing homes as well. We’ve compiled a list of 5 changes that will make your home a little greener, and will help keep some more green in your wallet, too.
Switch to LED light bulbs, either one-by-one as old bulbs burn out, or all at once. Energy Star certified LED light bulbs use 70-90% fewer watts per bulb to achieve the same brightness as a traditional light bulb. While this might be just pocket change for one light fixture, look around your home and multiply the savings by each individual bulb! LED bulbs last several years, too, so you’ll save money on replacement bulbs. An LED bulb can last about 15 times as long as a traditional light bulb! Consider using solar powered lighting for your home’s exterior. Solar lights create their own energy from sunlight, so after the initial purchase, they won’t cost a cent to run!
Adding solar screens to your home’s exterior can nearly eliminate the amount of UV light that enters your home. UV light heats the air inside your home, forcing your air conditioner to work harder to keep it comfortable. In addition, UV light damages skin and can fade textiles over time. Solar screens can be added to any exterior window but are especially helpful for areas that receive a direct hit from the afternoon sun, have no shade, or for windows facing a reflective surface. They come in a variety of colors, can be customized to fit any window shape, and are simple to install.
Install and use a programmable or smart thermostat to keep your home comfortable when you’re there, and to reduce your energy usage when you’re away. Set the temperature of your home a little higher in the summer and a little lower in the winter during your work hours, if no one is home during the day, and set it to adjust just before you arrive home so that your system isn’t working hard all day when no one is there to appreciate it. Smart thermostats will learn your habits and begin adjusting for you on their own to help minimize your energy expenses. Heating and cooling are the biggest energy spenders in your home, so a degree or 2 for even a few hours can make a difference.
Most major appliances in a home have a lifespan of 10 to 15 years. When it’s time to replace an appliance in your home, pay attention to the yellow Energy Guide labels, and choose appliances with low energy cost estimates, even if it means paying a little more up front. Not only will these appliances use less power and/or water, they will save money on your monthly utility bills as well, so a higher price tag may balance out and pay off in the long run. If the appliances you are considering are used, or do not have the yellow tags, use an online energy usage calculator like this one: https://www.energy.gov/energysaver/save-electricity-and-fuel/appliances-and-electronics/estimating-appliance-and-home .
Radiant barriers are reflective insulation materials applied to the inside portion of a home’s roof to reduce the heat transferring into the attic, raising the temperature. According to the US Department of Energy, a properly-installed radiant barrier can reduce the cooling costs in a typical home by as much as 5-10% in a warm and sunny are like Texas. (Thermal insulation is preferred in cooler climates.) Some radiant barriers will run specials that include additional loose insulation free or discounted with the purchase and installation of a radiant barrier as an added bonus.
Small steps can add up in big ways over time. To learn more about your personal energy usage at home, contact your local power provider for an energy audit. These audits will show you where you’re using the most power and suggest other steps you can take to reduce your energy consumption and expenses. Sometimes a small fix, like replacing weather strips, can make a huge difference.
Of course, if a new home is on your wish list for more reasons than better efficiency, we are here to help you navigate through the contracts and building process. Contact a GroupWatson Agent TODAY for Professional Advice & Expert Direction.
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