If you’ve ever thought about making your home energy-efficient, you’ve probably been overwhelmed at both the cost and all of the different steps that you have to take to make sure you don’t miss anything in your home.
Instead, you might consider building a new energy-efficient home and optimized throughout. Today we’re breaking down some of the different ways that you can make your new or existing home more energy-efficient and the benefits of doing so.
Why Energy Efficiency Should Be Important to You
Sometimes it can seem like energy efficiency is just a ploy to help the planet and spend more money to improve your home or build it in a more eco-friendly way. However, energy efficiency is actually an essential part of saving money in the long run. Small decisions and investments in energy efficiency can pay for themselves over time.
A new build or remodeling your current home to be energy-efficient means that you save on energy costs throughout the year, which can amount to big savings over time if done right. For example, switching out old appliances for more energy-efficient ones could result in saving $50-$100 in just one year.
How to Make Your New Build More Energy-Efficient
When you’re building a new home, you have a lot of choices in front of you, but one of the easy choices to make is investing more money up front to make your home more efficient for years to come.
While it might seem more expensive now, we think you’ll find it worth the cost when you’re able to save money, lower your utility bills, and keep them lower even as electricity and natural gas costs continue to rise over time.
Choose Smart Design From the Beginning
When you start designing your home or working with a designer, it’s essential that you choose a smart design right from the start. An energy-efficient home starts with the layout and design.
It can be very helpful to work directly with a professional energy efficiency specialist who is knowledgeable about how smart design will help save you more throughout the years. Finding a builder that specializes in smart buildings and eco-friendly homes is also important.
Use the Sun to Your Advantage
When it comes to the positioning of your home when it’s built, the sun is very important to take into account.
South-facing windows are great for passive solar heating in the winter, while the proper placement of trees and other foliage can help you take advantage of shade in the summertime. The sun can be both a huge benefit to your home’s energy bills or not affect it very much, depending primarily on how you plan in advance.
Blower Door Test and Seal the Building Envelope
A blower door test is a standard test that sustainable and eco-friendly builders use to help find any leaks in the building envelope.
Once these leaks are found, they can be easily sealed with caulk or spray foam insulation. This is a very important step to make your home energy-efficient and will help keep the conditioned air inside where it belongs and save you money on cooling and heating costs over time.
Insulate the Building Envelope
Insulating your home’s exterior is another important step that you can take to make your home more efficient.
It’s about insulating the walls and the roof, windows, and doors. The best way to do this is by using spray foam insulation on all surfaces. Sprayfoam isn’t always a builder’s first choice, but it is often the best for making sure that your home stays well insulated over time.
Choose High-Efficiency Windows and Doors
While energy-efficient windows and doors might cost a little more upfront, they’ll save you a lot of money on energy bills. Choosing the best energy-efficient windows is an important step in making your home as energy-efficient as possible from start to finish.
The best part about buying high-end windows is that they don’t just provide better insulation for your home. They also look great and last a lot longer than some of the other cheaper windows on the market.
Choose an Efficient Air Supply System
Because your new home will be air sealed and totally closed off, it’s critical that you install a good air supply system. A higher-quality air supply system will often be more efficient in its use of electricity and provide you with cleaner and better air circulating throughout your home.
Think Smart Lights
One of the best and easiest ways to make your home more energy-efficient is by installing smart lights with LED bulbs.
Smart lights can be controlled with a smartphone or voice commands, and they’re much more energy-efficient than traditional lightbulbs. You can save money on your electric bill by using smart lights in every room of your house and programming them when to turn off and when to turn on.
HVAC That Saves Money
Even if you have a smart house with energy-efficient windows, doors, and other appliances that help keep your energy bills low, it’s still important to choose an energy-efficient HVAC system.
Air conditioners and heating systems can be two of the most taxing items to run throughout the year for both your electrical bill and gas bill.
Choose Appliances That Will Save Money
The last step in making your home energy-efficient is to choose appliances that will save you money over time.
There are a lot of great energy-efficient options on the market these days, making it important to do your research before buying any new appliances. When shopping for appliances, look for the Energy Star label and make sure that they meet energy-efficiency standards. As with anything, be sure to read the reviews and ask around as well. When it comes to appliances, you’ll often get what you pay for.
Energy Efficiency Ideas for a Remodel
Shooting for energy efficiency in a remodel is a great way to help improve energy bills after the remodel. Some of these steps will directly relate to a specific area of your home, but others might be updates that you should consider doing on your home to help keep it up to date.
Upgrade or Replace Your Windows and Doors
One of the simplest energy-efficient ideas for a remodel is to make sure that you’re not losing energy through your windows and doors. If you’re remodeling just to help make your home more efficient, the best way to do that is by installing new windows and doors. This is especially true if your windows and doors are more than 20 years old.
You can also check the caulking around both windows and exterior doors, as well as any spots where pipes or wires might be going into or coming out of the home. Cracks in caulking or a lack of insulation will often cause air leaks in your home.
Plant Shade Trees Around the House
If you want to do some more landscaping outside of the house, try planting some shade trees around your home. As the trees grow, they’ll help to keep your home cooler in the summer by providing shade.
If possible, try to plant taller trees on the east and west sides of your home, as they’ll provide the most shade throughout the day. Shorter trees can be planted on the north and south sides of your house to help with the late-afternoon sun. When the leaves fall off in the fall, all of the sunlight will be let in to help heat your home.
Replace Your HVAC System
We mentioned this in the new build section, but we had to say it again. Replacing your HVAC system is one of the best ways to make your home energy-efficient. A newer, energy-efficient HVAC unit will provide you with better heating and cooling at a lower cost to you.
Some HVAC companies and units can even tell you how much a new unit will save you year over year.
Improve Your Hot Water System
Updating your hot water heater is an important part of a remodel project. Especially when you’re adding a bathroom or planning on using more hot water in the future, consider a few of these ways that you can optimize the system.
- Insulate your hot water reservoir
- Insulate hot water pipes
- Install an on-demand hot water pump
- Purchase a new hot water heater
There’s a lot you can do to make the hot water system better, but in the end, it’s most important to make sure that your hot water heater is up to date and safe for your home.
Choose LED Light Bulbs
If you have old lighting and light fixtures in your home, you can install LED Light Bulbs to help with your home’s electricity bills. You’d be amazed at how much money can be saved by changing light bulbs from incandescent to LED.
As an added bonus, LED lightbulbs will last for decades at a time.
Unplug Unused Appliances
This one is a bit of an easy win, but it’s still important. If you’re not using an appliance, unplug it from the wall. There’s no use in keeping empty refrigerators or freezers plugged in. Even simple things like your tv that isn’t being used can save several dollars a year.
We hope this list of tips has helped you take some steps towards a more energy-efficient home. Whether you’re building or remodeling, we’d love to have you out to the DWELL44 showroom. It’s full of concepts and ideas for different rooms throughout your home.