As the cost of energy increases, there is a greater imperative to improve your home energy efficiency to reduce bills. Additionally, if you are a home owner, making sustainable home energy efficiency improvements can increase the value of your home.
Here are 7 steps you can take to make your home more energy efficient, whether you’re renting or own your home.
1. Replace incandescent lightbulbs with CFL or LED bulbs
Per year 30 incandescent bulbs would use 3285 KWh, in comparison, the equivalent CFLs would use 767 KWh’s and the equivalent LED’s 329 KWh (www.designrecycleinc.com). Additionally, both CFL’s and LED’s have longer lifespans than incandescent bulbs.
2. Purchase energy efficient appliances
Appliances can account for up to 30% of your home energy use (www.livinggreener.gov.au). If you consider the running costs of inefficient appliances, any extra cost for the initial purchase of Energy Star rated products will be worth the investment over time.
3. Consider how you use appliances
It’s not just the appliances you have, but how you use them that impacts on your home energy use. Turn the temperature of your water heater and central heating thermostat down, install low flow water devices (hot water is a significant energy user), and make sure you turn tv’s off rather than leaving them on stand-by.
4. Ensure that your roof and walls are well insulated
An effectively insulated house keeps the heat in in the winter and out in the summer, so less energy is required for heating and cooling year-round. It’s estimated more the 40% of heat can be lost through walls and roof spaces (www.talktalk.co.uk). There are a number of options for the materials and methods you use dependent on how much you’re willing to pay, the important factor is that the insulation is properly installed by a professional.
5. Reduce leaks/Heat escape
6. Invest in landscaping
Good landscaping can assist with energy efficiency, particularly if the planting is on the house’s west side. Deciduous trees are most useful as the foliage blocks the sun in the summer and lets the heat in when the leaves have dropped in the winter.
7. Replace and maintain furnace/boiler systems
Old furnace/boiler systems can be highly inefficient (operating at around 65% efficiency). You could replace your old boiler for a more efficient (90% operating efficiency) condensing type system. Also air-conditioning systems can benefit from regular maintenance of filters that will assist them work more efficiently.
Whether you are renting or own your home, you can invest in a Home energy audit. You can download a simple energy audit checklist from a number of websites to give you an idea of how to DIY simple improvements or you can use a professional auditor. Energy auditors use tools and skills to evaluate your individual home and recommend cost-effective measures to improve the energy efficiency. These audits are usually low-cost or can be free under Government funded programs. Additionally, there are often Government incentive programs related to many of home energy improvements you make, sometimes in conjunction with energy audits, so it’s worth investigating if there are discounts available on related products or services. Either way, effective energy efficiency improvements make economic and environmental sense.