Make Your Home Energy Efficient
Consider the cost of energy efficiency improvements before starting construction on a new house or making major changes to an existing one. You’ll save energy and money, and your home will be more comfortable and durable. Renewable energy systems that supply electricity, water heating, or space heating and cooling should be considered throughout the design phase. A large portion of the population is just not aware of the many options they have for making their homes more cost-effective in terms of energy use. How to make your house more energy efficient is the topic of this post.
Off the top, there are some basic quick-fixes you can make to your home.
- Consider installing a programmable thermostat. A programmable thermostat is an easy way to save money and energy by automatically adjusting the temperature in your home based on the time of day, whether you are at home or not, and other factors.
- Install a smart thermostat. A smart thermostat is another option for reducing your utility bills because it learns from your daily habits and adjusts automatically to meet them, so you don’t have to worry about programming it yourself.
- Insulate your water heater with an insulating blanket. You can also insulate it with a cover that reflects heat back into the water tank during the winter months when it’s running less often and heating up less water than usual (or all year long in colder climates). This can help reduce your gas or electric bill.
Now, let’s delve into the more involved energy-efficient home concepts.
More Insulation than Required by Code
The minimum R-value or quantity of insulation required for a home is determined by a number of factors, including the climate where the property is located, the kind of heating and cooling system it has, the areas of the home that need to be insulated, and the local building regulations in effect. For instance, the IECC reports that R-values for wood-frame walls vary from 13 to 20 for all eight temperature zones in the United States. For mass walls, the R-values might be anywhere from 3 to 21.
Nonetheless, the majority of today’s homebuyers (63%) are interested in purchasing a property that meets or exceeds all local building regulations for energy efficiency, including those pertaining to insulation levels and R-values.
Energy Star® Certification for the Whole Home
In 2019, the second most desired feature among millennials was Energy Star® Certified appliances, while in 2019 the entire house certification was more in demand. Energy Star-certified homes are designed and constructed to be at least 10% more energy-efficient than code-compliant homes.
Lighting for an Energy-Efficient House
Five percent of a typical household’s monthly power bill goes toward lighting, therefore it’s important that these fixtures be as efficient as possible. The use of controls like timers, dimmer switches, and photocells may significantly reduce energy use and costs. The three most common types of energy-saving bulbs are light-emitting diodes (LEDs), compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs), and halogen incandescent bulbs. Seventy percent of millennials specifically seek for houses with energy-efficient lighting.
An Energy-Efficient Home’s Heating and Cooling Infrastructure
Nearly half of a typical home’s energy bill goes toward the HVAC system. High-efficiency heating and cooling systems that are more cost- and energy-effective to operate are essential for an energy-efficient house. Professional HVAC technicians are needed to ensure that the systems are installed properly in ENERGY STAR certified dwellings. A HVAC system’s efficiency might drop by as much as 30 percent if it was installed incorrectly. Modern, effective options for HVAC include both variable-speed models and variable-refrigerant-flow (VRF) models. Due to the efficiency of ICF mass wall construction, HVAC systems may be made smaller, resulting in lower setup and maintenance costs.
Energy-efficient, airtight homes need to have their ventilation controlled by an energy recovery ventilation system. Pollutants (such as radon, formaldehyde, and volatile organic compounds) may be prevented from building up within a house by regulating its ventilation. An energy recovery ventilation (EVR) system regulates ventilation and reduces energy waste by transferring kinetic energy from exhausted conditioned air to newly introduced unconditioned air. Due to their high level of airtightness, high performance houses need EVRs to condition incoming air, remove stale air heavy with moisture from sources like showers and stovetops, and circulate fresh air throughout the home.
All the Ways to Make Your House Energy Efficient Through Windows and Doors
Heat is gained and lost through windows, doors, and skylights via:
- Heat transmission by convection and conduction through single- or double-pane glass or layered glazing and framing
- The transfer of heat into and out of a building through surfaces at room temperature (including windows, doors, inhabitants, appliances, and furniture).
- Sunlight entering a home and being absorbed by its surfaces to produce heat.
- Air leakage through and around them.
Window Orientation Matters
The average temperature and amount of natural light in a space are both affected by the direction its windows face. Consider how various rooms in different wings of the home may be better served by different window configurations.
North and east-facing rooms won’t receive too much sun and will likely stay cooler than the rest of the home due to their orientation. Kitchens, which are self-heating and seldom used, do best in north or east-facing rooms.
Rooms with south or west-facing windows get abundant natural light and heat throughout the day, eliminating the need for artificial lighting. This is ideal for communal spaces like living rooms, which are used often throughout the day. But during the warmer months, these spaces may become very uncomfortable without some kind of thermal control, therefore shades or curtains are a must.
Make Sure All Doors and Windows Have Proper Insulation
Points of entry may be energy vampires, soaking up precious resources. It is estimated by the Department of Energy that between 25 and 30 percent of a home’s energy used for heating and cooling is lost through the windows.
Think about the doors and windows in your house. Windows in particular have come a long way over the years, so it’s possible that you’ll wish to upgrade from your current, single-paned set. Consider installing storm windows, hurricane-resistant impact windows, or even gas-filled windows to further insulate your house from the elements, depending on the weather where you reside.
You should also make sure there are no air leaks around the windows and doors. By opening and shutting each window and door, you can see whether there are any drafts, gaps in the frames, or if anything is jammed. Have your house inspector examine any possible entryways as well, just to be safe.