Every homeowner has probably asked once, “how to make my house energy-efficient?” Energy-efficient houses are environmentally friendly and save money on electricity costs. You may need to spend some money to make your home energy-efficient, but the long-term benefits will be worth it.
What Ways Are There That Can Help You Save Energy?
Here are practical ways to save energy, which can also help you save money:
Get a Home Energy Audit
This is the first step in how to make a house energy efficient. It helps you understand your home’s energy usage and where you can improve. An energy auditor will visit your home and assess the insulation, windows, doors, heating, cooling, and ventilation systems to determine where your home is losing energy. The auditor will also provide recommendations on how to make your home more energy-efficient.
The cost of a home energy audit differs, but it’s typically between $100 and $1,000, depending on the size of your home and the type of audit. In most cases, they charge on a per-square-foot basis. Some utility companies also offer free or discounted energy audits to their customers.
Upgrade Your Insulation and Windows
Upgrading your insulation and windows is among the most effective methods to make your home more energy-efficient. Good insulation keeps heat from escaping in the cold months and cool air from going out in the summer. This helps your HVAC systems work less, saving energy and money.
Replacing old windows with energy-efficient ones is also an excellent way to improve your home’s energy efficiency. Energy-efficient windows have special coatings that reflect heat and keep cool air during hot months. They also have multiple panes of glass that trap heat in the winter.
Both insulation and windows are big investments, but they will pay for themselves over time in the form of lower energy bills.
Replace Your Old HVAC System
One of the most overlooked energy saving tips is replacing an HVAC system. You may be on a tight budget and think you need more money to afford a new one. However, an old and inefficient HVAC system can end up costing you more in energy consumption than you realize. Older HVAC systems are much less efficient than newer ones. Replacing an old system with a new, energy-efficient one can save you 20 to 40% on energy costs.
If you have been using your furnace for over 15 years or your air conditioning unit is ten years old or more, it’s time to upgrade.
When shopping for a new system, look for the ENERGY STAR label. This label means that the product meets strict energy-efficiency guidelines by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Install a Programmable Thermostat
A programmable thermostat lets you set different temperatures at various times of the day and week. You can also program it to change the temperature to your desired settings automatically.
For example, to save energy, you can lower the temperature while asleep or away from home.
According to the US Department of Energy, a programmable thermostat can save you 10% on your heating and cooling costs.
Fix Leaky Ducts
One of the most inexpensive energy efficient home ideas is fixing leaky ducts. Did you know that these are one of the biggest culprits of energy waste in the home? In fact, 20 to 30% of the air that is supposed to be delivered through your ductwork is lost due to leaks.
Duct tape is not the answer to fixing leaky ducts. It may actually make the problem worse by not sealing the ducts properly. Instead, have them professionally sealed with mastic or metal tape. This will ensure that they are airtight and won’t leak anymore.
The cost of having your ducts sealed depends on the size of your home and the length of the ductwork. Its cost may be relatively high, but it’s worth it in the long run because you’ll save money on your home’s energy usage. Also, their maximum lifespan is up to 15 to 25 years. So, imagine the money you can save over those years.
Reduce Your Water Heating Costs
Water heating accounts for about 20% of your home’s energy use, which makes it one of the biggest energy hogs in the house. There are several ways to reduce your water heating costs, such as:
- Insulating your water heater tank
- Installing a low-flow showerhead
- Washing your clothes in cold water
You can also save money by turning the temperature of your water heater down. You may set it at 120 degrees Fahrenheit or about 49 degrees Celsius.
Install Solar Panels
Many energy-efficient houses have solar panels installed on their roofs. Solar panels are an excellent way to generate your own electricity and save money on your energy bills. They can also help you offset your carbon footprint.
Solar panels’ costs have declined recently, making them more affordable than ever. The average cost of solar panels in Canada is about $3.01 per watt or $22,500 to $20,000 for a typical 7.5kW system. It’s important to note these are just average and may be higher or lower depending on your location.
With the Canadian government’s solar incentives, you can get up to a $5,000 grant through the Canada Greener Homes Grant to make your home energy-efficient. You can also receive $600 to cover the cost of the energy audits. Additionally, the federal government offers an interest-free loan of up to $40,000, payable in 10 years, for energy efficiency upgrades, including solar PV.
Most importantly, provincial and utility rebates are available in some areas. For example, in Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and Ontario, there is a rebate for small and medium-sized businesses that invest in green technology like solar PV.
On average, solar panels can last up to 25 to 30 years, so they’re a long-term investment. They also require little maintenance, so once installed, you can enjoy the benefits for many years to come.
Install Energy-Efficient Lighting
Did you know that lighting accounts for about 15% of your home’s energy use? This means there’s a lot of potentials to save money by making your lighting more energy-efficient.
Many energy-efficient light bulbs are available on the market, such as LED (light-emitting diode) and CFL (compact fluorescent lamps). These bulbs cost higher than traditional incandescent bulbs, but they last longer and use less energy.
For example, a LED bulb uses up to 90% less energy than an incandescent bulb. It can also last up to 25 times longer. So, although you may have to spend more upfront, you’ll save money in the long run on your electricity bill.
CFL bulbs are also a good option because they use about 70% less energy than incandescent bulbs that can last up to 10 times longer.
You can install occupancy sensors to make your lighting even more energy-efficient. These sensors will automatically turn off the lights when no one is in the room, helping you save even more money on your energy bills.
Use Energy-Efficient Appliances
Choosing energy-efficient models of appliances is one of the ways to save energy at home. Appliances account for a significant portion of your home’s energy use, so you must choose wisely when shopping for new ones.
Look for models that have the ENERGY STAR label. For example, when shopping for a new fridge, look for one with a freezer on the bottom. This type of fridge is more energy-efficient than a top-freezer model because the cold air doesn’t need to travel as far to reach the freezer. Side-by-side fridges are also a good option because they are more energy-efficient than other types.
Another thing to keep in mind when shopping for appliances is the size. A smaller unit will use less energy than a larger one, so pick the right size for your needs.
Energy-efficient houses are becoming increasingly popular as people seek ways to save money on their energy bills. Fortunately, there are various ways how to save energy at home. Some best practices include installing energy-efficient appliances, upgrading insulation and sealing, and using energy-efficient lighting.