It does not need to be emphasized that of all the high worth or big ticket investments that you make in your life, building or buying a home is definitely the most expensive of them all. You spend almost a lifetime of your savings to construct or buy the house of your dreams. Naturally, you’d like to spend your lifetime with your family in the house of your dreams.
However, you’d need to keep your home in perfect order so that it can withstand the ravages of time and vagaries of weather. You’d have to go in for frequent renovations or refurbishments so that it can retain its resale value. Home renovations or restorations can be costly affairs. There are several ways of controlling costs and keeping expenses low whenever you undertake an overhauling project for your home. One excellent way would be to make your home more energy efficient.
Turning your home into an energy effective one helps you to cut down drastically on your energy consumption that translates into reduced energy bills. One good way of making your home more energy efficient (and hence more comfortable to stay in) is by improving the roof or attic insulation system. Another prudent way would be to use CFL lighting. Using energy efficient security films for your windows and doors is yet another way.
Needless to say, there are different ways to make your home more energy efficient. Some call for investing one time while others are techniques that you can use everyday. You don’t necessarily have to make use of all the strategies outlined below to make your home energy effective. Implementing only four or five of these techniques will go a long way in saving not only your hard-earned money but also protect the environment from further degradation.
1. Go For Upgrading the Insulation of Your Garret and Walls
Strong and effective insulation of the attic or walls would essentially mean that your home remain cool during the summers and comfortably warm during the winters. If your home is quite old, it does not need to be mentioned that the insulation system has been subjected to a lot of wear and tear over the years. Therefore more energy is used in heating up or cooling down the house. Run-down insulation in an older home cannot effectively prevent the hot air from entering the interiors during summer and the warm air from escaping during winter.
There are many ways of upgrading the insulation in your attic or the walls in your home. You can go in for fibre insulation, foam sealing or thermal shielding. Blown-in fibre insulation would require you to engage a professional but if you’re keen on opting for a DIY project then choose rolled in insulation.
However, a blown-in insulation job is more effective than rolled in insulation as the former does not leave any room for fissures or gaps that’d let the heat escape from the rooms into the garret. Foam sealing normally made from polyurethane, is applied underneath the roof that totally plugs it from any air leakage. Thermal shielding is an innovative method of insulation that is being increasingly used in new homes.
2. Replacing Conventional Furnace With a Condensing One
Like everything else, the furnace system in your home has a product life cycle. If you’ve been using it for more than two decades now, it surely must be consuming more fuel than it used to once, for heating up your house. It’s a clear enough sign that you should go in for replacing the same with a condensing furnace. A condensing furnace has a high efficiency rating as it uses up almost the entire natural gas that is used to drive it (only about 10% of the gas is wasted). With condensing boilers, you get to save a lot more if you’re using age-old boilers for heating up your home.
3. Overhauling Your Windows
Windows and doors contribute majorly to loss of heat from your home. If you have single pane windows with aluminium framing replace them with multiple pane windows having vinyl framing. Multiple pane windows contain a noble gas between the panes, argon or helium acts as an insulator retaining the coolness of the interiors and keeping the heat out.
You can also go in for tinting your windows or coating them with security films. It has been statistically found that during summers, a home loses about 60% of its cooling energy and almost 25% of the heating energy during winters. If your windows are multiple paned and aren’t leaky, you can opt for window tinting or adding energy efficient security films.
Both the processes screen the harmful ultraviolet rays (almost upto 98%) while letting in clear sunlight into your house. Installing security films will keep almost 70% of the solar heat out during the summers and nearly 40% of the heat is averted from going out via the windows during the winters. Professionals best install security window films.
4. Substitute Old Appliances With New Energy Efficient Ones
The older your refrigerator, dishwasher, water heater, and other electronic or electrical appliances are, the more energy they’ll consume in order to give the same output. This will have a telling effect on your energy bill and you’ll be paying a substantial amount for your energy consumption. So, it does not need to be stressed that you should do away with your old energy ‘guzzlers’ and purchase new appliances with high and approved ‘Energy Star’ ratings.
Since replacing the entire array of electronic gadgets or appliances at one go might burn a hole in your pocket, you can go in for purchasing one item at a time. Alternatively, you can opt for a hire purchase or instalment scheme offered by your dealer. Before you decide finally, conduct a lot of research on different models that are available both online and offline. Only settle for appliances that have ‘Energy Star’ certifications.
5. Save on Water Consumption
You’ve heard about it so many times that you’ve grown used to it. However, you should not underestimate the significance of reducing water consumption that has a bearing on the energy efficiency of your home. Do your bit for saving as much water as possible. For instance, turn off the tap while you’re brushing your teeth. Use low flush toilets that release less water everytime you release the flush.
Go for shower heads that uses water economically. Use instant portable geysers that turn on when water passes through it and turns off when water stops flowing. This’ll do away with the need to keep the appliance on (for keeping the water hot) which has a dual benefit. On one hand, your water consumption will come down and on the other less energy units will be consumed.
6. Go Green
If you’ve been living in your house for quite a long time, then it goes without saying that the insulation system is not as robust as it used to be. It also follows that the windows, walls, doors, and other structures do not have the same insulating capacity they once used to have. Under such circumstances, you can consider planting deciduous trees and plants that’d block the insolation during the hot months and let the sunlight streak in during the winter season.
The foliage of the deciduous trees or plants would block the toxic ultraviolet rays from entering the house during the summers. During the winter when the trees are stripped of their leaves and the branches are bare, the sunlight is able to filter in easily keeping your rooms warm.
7. Let There Be New Light in Your Life
If you’ve been using incandescent tubes and bulbs in your home and haven’t yet replaced them, then it’s high time you did. Go for compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFL) and lamps. Just replace three to four incandescent bulbs with CFL ones and see for yourself the difference it makes to your energy bills. For every CFL fixture that you use in place of an incandescent or luminescent light, you prevent 400 pounds of CFCs from going into the atmosphere. Some countries have completely banned fluorescent or incandescent lighting fixtures.
Try to keep as many lights switched off during summer nights. While you leave home for work turn off all the lights, except one as no one likes the idea of coming back to a home that is dark. If you’re averse to the idea of keeping a light on throughout the day or night, you can buy a lamp that comes with a timer.
You can set the timer to periods when you’d prefer the house to remain lit. After a day of hard work, particularly during the winter months, you’d hate entering a home that is cold and dark. Furthermore, you’d not like others to have the impression that you’re not home.