Whether you want to reduce your carbon footprint, be greener, or just save some money, you’ve probably thought about how you can create a more energy-efficient home. Here are some great ways to make your home not just your castle but a more earth-friendly retreat, from easy fixes to more comprehensive solutions.
Start with an Energy Audit
If your home was built in the last 10 years, it might be pretty well equipped for energy efficiency. Older homes didn’t have that as a priority, but there’s no telling what a past owner might have done in upgrades. The smart choice is to start with an energy audit.
Some of the areas that a professional energy auditor will address include:
- Locate and seal air leaks
- Assess ventilation
- Check insulation
- Inspect HVAC equipment
- Address lighting
- Review appliances and electronics
Once you have your energy audit in hand, you’ll be better able to choose where to start—specifically. Here are just some of the areas you may want to consider.
Buy a Programmable Thermostat
Possibly one of the easiest and cheapest paths to a more energy-efficient home is taking control of your heating and cooling. For most of us, we aren’t home during the day, which means your home could be a few degrees warmer in the summer and cooler in the winter. A programmable thermostat allows you to adjust the temperature as needed. You can even get a thermostat that can be controlled by app so you can make adjustments on the fly.
Utilize Ceiling Fans Appropriately
In Arizona, most of us have—and use—ceiling fans during the summer. We have them in our living areas, bedrooms, and even back patios to help circulate air. Ceiling fans are a perfect way to find higher temperatures more bearable without always lowering the thermostat.
But did you know they can be helpful in cooler weather as well?
Just reverse the direction in which the fan turns and it will push the air up instead of down. This keeps air circulating, helping to maintain a consistent temperature when you might be feeling like bumping up the heat.
You’re probably already separating trash from recyclables. And that could make you feel that you’re doing your part to lesson your carbon footprint. But could you do more? Composting is great not only for your garden but also for the environment.
By not sending potato peels and lemon skins through the garbage disposal, we keep them from heading to the water-treatment plant. It takes considerable energy to pump that water through the treatment cycle, and every little bit of saved energy helps. Your garden will benefit, as will the planet in general.
Switch to Low-flow Plumbing
These days, most toilets are low flow, which reduces the water per flush from 3.6 gallons to 1.6 gallons. But looking at all of the other water fixtures used in your home every day, there’s not only significant savings to be had in switching but an improvement to your energy-efficient home as well.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), if we all switched to low-flow plumbing, we could save $8 billion annually as a nation. That doesn’t even include the cost of the energy needed to heat the water you use, and less water means less heating needed.
Low-flow fixtures to consider include your toilets and showerheads. While dishwashers and washing machines also use water, they aren’t considered low flow but Energy Star-rated instead.
Choose Energy Star Products
Nearly all of your appliances can be chosen to support your energy-efficient home. These can include your refrigerator and freezer, dishwasher, washing machine, dryer, water heater, room air conditioner, air purifier, and dehumidifier. The EPA is behind the Energy Star ratings, and consumers can use them to identify which appliance is the best choice for their budget and energy-efficiency goals.
Install Solar Panels
Although it can be a hefty initial investment, once your home is using solar for power, you can expect savings of $100 a month or more. In addition to the savings you’ll enjoy while you own the home, having solar panels can increase the value of your home when it comes time to sell. Owners usually make back their investment when they sell, so it’s really a win-win choice.
Buy Smart for an Energy-efficient Home
If you are in the market to buy a new house, by purchasing a brand-new construction, you can be assured that you’ll have a truly energy-efficient home. Today’s new-home builders are focused on energy efficiency from the foundation up. These houses are tightly insulated and include Energy Star appliances and low-flow plumbing. You can even choose to add solar panels to your new build.
At MAK Construction, we build custom homes that meet your exact needs. And of course we include green aspects to ensure you have a highly energy-efficient home. Learn more about us, our communities, and how we can help you build your dream home.