There’s an increase in demand for energy-efficient homes, especially as more people become aware of the importance of sustainability and living an environmentally friendly lifestyle. Whether you are building a new home, remodeling, or looking to buy an energy-efficient home, you should consider several tips for a green home. Living in an energy-efficient home saves on costs in the long term and makes it warmer and more comfortable in all seasons. Reducing energy consumption also cuts carbon emissions, saving the environment.
Traditional methods of saving energy focused on minimizing consumption. For instance, most homes have electrical control panels, which allow homeowners to control electrical equipment, such as HVAC units and lighting, from one place. While minimizing energy consumption saves on energy, consider the following additional tips to make your home energy efficient.
Insulating your home helps retain conditioned air, significantly reducing your home’s heating needs. Insulation makes it easy to warm your home during winter and maintain a cool indoor environment during summer. You should prioritize the following insulation options:
- Solid wall insulation – Heating inefficiencies and heat loss are common problems, especially for aging homes. Most old homes have porous masonry walls that easily lose heat. You can insulate these walls by installing insulation boards on the interior walls or using insulation material outside. Note that you’ll need a building permit to complete this project.
- Cavity wall insulation – Some homes have hollow spaces between the inner and outer walls. You can insulate them by installing insulating materials in the hollow space. This option is simpler and less expensive compared to solid wall insulation. However, it also does require a building permit.
- Loft insulation – Uninsulated roofs contribute to a quarter of heat loss in homes. Insulating your loft, flat roof, or attic significantly reduces heat loss and energy costs. You can use mineral wool, polyurethane, or cellulose foam.
- Floor insulation – Though surprising, your floors also contribute to heat loss. While it doesn’t contribute too much heat loss compared to walls and the loft, you should add some insulation layer on your floor. This procedure requires input from floor experts. You should also apply for a building permit.
Adopting various sources of renewable energy also makes your home energy efficient. You can choose one of the following renewable sources:
- Solar panels – You can enjoy free energy from the sun by installing solar panels. Solar panels are fitted with photovoltaic cells that convert sunlight into energy, which can power lighting fixtures and household appliances. The initial cost of installing solar panels is high, but it saves on energy bills and carbon footprint in the long run. You also qualify for tax incentives from the government.
- Air source heat pumps – ASHPs have a fluid that absorbs energy or heat from outside air into your home’s heating systems and hot water circuits.
- Ground source heat pumps – Unlike air source heat pumps, ground source pumps absorb heat from the ground for various heating needs in your home. They are easier to maintain than ASHPs.
Old household appliances and electrical fixtures consume a lot of energy. Some have even been banned because of their impact on the environment. You should consider the following to reduce your home’s energy consumption and energy bill:
- Switch to LED light bulbs – Energy efficient and last longer than conventional bulbs.
- Water-saving shower heads – Best for homes that use water straight from boilers or hot water tanks. These shower heads restrict the amount of water flowing through them while maintaining pressure.
- Low-flow taps – Install these taps in your kitchen and bathroom sinks.
- Switch to energy-efficient household appliances, such as washing machines, kettles, and freezers.
Installing smart home systems increases automation in your home while significantly saving on energy bills. If you don’t have the budget to make these upgrades, you should prioritize the installation of energy meters. Smart meters make it easy to track energy usage in your home. Real-time information about energy consumption in your house makes it easy to manage energy usage and identify ways of avoiding waste. Some meters have advanced controls allowing homeowners to fine-tune heating settings to target specific areas.
If you are renovating to make your home energy-efficient, start by conducting an energy audit. An audit helps identify specific areas that need improvement. An energy-efficient home saves on utility bills, minimizes your carbon footprint, qualifies you for tax rebates, and improves your quality of life.