Home Maintenance | October 24, 2017
Energy efficient home improvements are not only important for reducing your carbon footprint, they are also good for your wallet! Reduced energy consumption means lower energy bills, which is great when you live in a climate where many months of the year are spent hovering around or below the freezing mark and homeowners spend upwards of thousands of dollars per year heating, cooling, and illuminating their homes.
While not everyone has the capacity—financial or otherwise—to install solar panels or a wind turbine, there are plenty of other energy saving options for making your home more energy efficient. It’s also important to keep in mind that the upgrades or improvements with the biggest impact on energy efficiency generally require an upfront investment of time and/or money, but pay for themselves in savings over time.
Start with a home energy audit
Most residential efficiency experts recommend starting with a home energy audit. An energy auditor will spend approximately 2.5 to 3 hours in your home looking for opportunities to reduce energy consumption. For example, an auditor may conduct a blower door or air tightness test to help locate areas of air leakage in your home, typically around doorways or windows. Using the auditor’s recommendations and insights will help you decide which energy-saving changes make the most sense for your home.
For more energy efficient home upgrades, check out our list of the top 5 energy efficient additions that will help save you money on your utility bills.
1. Install water-saving fixtures in the kitchen and bathrooms
An energy auditor may measure your home’s water flow rate from kitchen and bathroom faucets and recommend replacing leaky faucet fixtures or installing low-flush toilets to reduce water consumption. Another simple addition to help reduce water consumption is adding an aerator to each of your faucets. Some experts suggest that adding aerators can reduce water usage up to 30 per cent.
2. Replace outdated equipment with an energy efficient HVAC system
If you have an older, low-efficiency furnace, it could be producing up to half the amount of heat that a more efficient model produces using the same amount of fuel. Considering the average home’s energy consumption for heating and cooling alone is approximately 56 per cent, installing a high-efficiency furnace can make a major dent in your monthly energy bills. Some of the most efficient furnace models on the market right now, like the Lennox Signature Collection SLP98V, have an energy rating as high as 98.7 AFUE (Annual Fuel Use Efficiency).
3. Install a programmable thermostat
If a brand new furnace isn’t a feasible option right now, simply switching to a smart, self-adjusting thermostat can make a big difference on your heating and cooling bills. Installing a programmable thermostat optimizes your home’s heating and cooling based on your personal schedule. It’s an easy, cost-effective way to ensure you are operating your furnace or air conditioner when you need it and saving money when you don’t.
4. Replace old windows
Along with replacing your furnace, replacing your home’s windows is an incredibly beneficial energy saving addition that comes with a fairly hefty upfront investment. That being said, today’s window manufacturers produce a variety of energy efficient windows with different glazing, coatings, and tints that can be installed using a whole-home design approach to optimize energy efficiency. Less expensive window improvements include caulking and weatherstripping to seal air leaks or installing tight-fitting, insulating window shades.
5. Install a high-efficiency water heater
According to Energy Star, heating water accounts for approximately 15 per cent of a home’s total energy use. High-efficiency water heaters use 10 to 50 per cent less energy than standard models, depending on the type of water heater. For example, a new power direct vent hot water tank is about 70 per cent efficient, whereas a condensing tankless hot water heater is 97 per cent efficient.
Energy efficient homes
Adding energy efficient upgrades to your home is a smart investment, not only in terms of saving on utility bills and doing your part to reduce your carbon footprint but also for the increased value they add to your home. Whether you are planning to improve your home’s energy efficiency for your own comfort and peace of mind or to make your home more appealing to potential buyers, investing in a green future is always worthwhile.
If you’d like to learn more about how First Call Heating & Air Conditioning can help make some energy-saving improvements to your home, contact us for a free quote.
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