Making a home a better place to live in is a struggle many homeowners deal with. Your home is where you spend greater part of your time with your loved ones making memories. It is where you relax, rejuvenate, and recover after long hard days of work. From handpicking furniture and décor items to personally choosing the window treatments, wall color, and theme, a lot of work goes into giving shape to a home that will make your stay at a comfortable and pleasant one. Apart from the aesthetics and decor, a home also deserves the best when it comes to safety, security, and privacy of your homes, as well as ensuring optimal energy efficiency. Without these, it will not have the desired effect no matter how much money you spend in decorating your home.
Energy efficiency is important. Our homes use a plethora of electronic appliances and devices and optimal energy efficiency will ensure that is no wastage of electricity. You have to take measures to cut down on excessive energy consumption and energy costs.
Why we need to be energy efficient
- Every household uses a wide range of electronic and electrical gadgets that consume electricity. Investing in energy efficient devices mean that they will consume less energy and in return, save on energy expenditures.
- By investing in energy efficient appliances and devices, you will be able to save money as well. The investment you make is worth it as you will see returns in the form of energy savings.
- Energy efficient homes also help increase property value. Reduced utility bills and fewer repair bills is always an attractive proposition.
- Being energy efficient will also help to reduce carbon footprints by reducing emissions.
These are few of the many benefits that you can ensure through energy efficiency.
But how do you make your home efficient? How do you take measures that will help in reducing energy consumption in the house and reduce your energy spending?
Remember that energy wastage happens not only through devices and appliances. It also happens through poor ventilation and poor insulation in the house which are a major causes of energy loss. Let us go through the measures you can take to reduce this energy loss.
Insulating your homes
Doors and windows are a major source of energy loss inside the home. Glass is a material that is a poor insulator. During the cold winter months, you have heaters working around the clock to keep the air warm while the outside dips below the freezing point. Windows and doors cause this heat to escape easily which causes the temperature inside the house to fall. The heaters will have to consume more energy to keep the interiors warm, which will cause energy costs to shoot up. During the summer months the opposite happens. You have air conditioners and coolers keeping the air cool inside the house. Warmth from the outside flows into the house through your windows, heating up the interiors. The artificial air coolers now will have to consume more energy to continue keeping the home cool and pleasant.
To make your homes energy efficient and ensure that heaters and air conditioners do not consume excess energy, you have to properly insulate your homes. This can be done in several ways.
Seal the Attic
Attics are the cause of major energy loss inside the house. That being said, among the first things you need to do is to air seal your attic. Air sealing will help to keep outside air outside and inside air in. Check your attic and crawlspaces for any gaps or holes. Use a can of foam or caulk gun to seal up all visible cracks.
Weather stripping is a process by which openings along the edges of doors and windows are sealed off. A strip of rubber, metal or other material is used to seal these spaces where warm air can flow in or flow out causing the temperature to rise or drop. By sealing it off, you are helping to keep outside air out and inside air in.
Apart from weather-stripping you can use window treatments to enhance the insulating capabilities of your windows. This is indeed a great way to make your home energy efficient. For winter months you can use thermal drapes and cellular shades to keep your home warm and cozy. Cellular shades are honeycomb shades which consists of cell-like structures. These cells help to trap heat and prevent the air from escaping. They help to increase the R-value of windows which is a measure of the material’s resistance to heat flow. Cellular shades can be single, double or triple-celled. If you happen to live in a region that experiences particularly harsh winters, double or tripled-celled shades will offer more significant insulation.
You can also use thermal drapes, or add a thermal lining to your existing drapes. Thermal drapes also help to reduce heat transfer at your window openings.
During the hot summer months, you can mount exterior solar shades outside the house. These shades help to reflect the radiant heat before it can even touch the window glass. They help maintain a sun-protected sanctuary inside the house even when it is unbearably hot outside. You can use roller solar shades which help block out 90-95% of the harsh UV rays and maintain a cool ambiance inside the house. Drapes with reflective linings are also proven to be quite effective.
You can opt for any window treatment or a layered solution for better insulation and enhanced energy efficiency.
Replace Old Appliances
If you have any old appliances, it is time to replace them with Energy Star certified appliances, as older appliances tend to consume more energy. For example, a high efficiency water heater will heat up water very fast and will then stop burning fuel. A less energy efficient water heater will take more time to warm up water, while burning more fuel.
Switching to Smart Appliances
Many a time, energy is lost because appliances are not used efficiently. Minimize energy wastage by using them optimally. This means switching the dishwasher on only when it is fully loaded which will minimize the number of times it is being used. Switching off the appliances when not in use will also save a lot. This can be ensured through use of smart appliances. You can operate the devices from anywhere through your smart devices. If you forget to switch off the thermostat or AC, you can switch them off even when you are at office. This can go a long way in saving quite a lot of money. You get switch them on while returning from office so that you come back to a warm or cool home as required but without wasting energy the whole day when the house is empty.
Adding Solar Panels
If you live in a part of the country that receives sufficient amount of sunlight, you can try using solar panels. This will help to generate your own energy which can be used in your house and cutting down on your energy costs.
You can use any or all of them to create a highly energy efficient home which will see little energy wastage and optimal allocation of limited resources. It will help you become a more responsible citizen as well.