If you are concerned about lowering your monthly energy bill, or creating a self-sustaining home eco-system, there are multiple ways you can begin improving your home energy efficiency without going broke along the way. Not everyone can begin with solar panels or shingles, but there are countless things you can do right now to begin saving money as you work towards building a more sustainable home environment for you and your family.
Confirm that your home exterior is properly insulated.
Checking the insulation may be the simplest way to lower your home energy bill throughout the year. Proper insulation allows cool air to stay in during the sweltering summer months, and will keep you nice and toasty during even the harshest winter. If you are unable to fully reinsulate your home, you can begin by targeting specific parts of your home from the top to bottom. Most home energy experts agree that you should fully insulate your attic and garage first. An unfinished attic or garage can cost you hundreds of dollars in heating and cooling costs annually.
Check the sealant between doors and windows.
If you live somewhere with cold winters, you likely associate checking the sealant around doors and windows with winterizing your home. But did you know that a poorly sealed window or door frame can radically drive up your cooling costs in the summer months as well? A can of foam sealant is a cheap and easy way for you to improve your home’s energy efficiency without hiring a contractor or spending a large amount of money.
Add shade trees and shrubs to your home landscape.
Landscaping, when done properly, does so much more than simply add curb appeal to your home. A few eastern-facing shade trees and a quick-growing shrub or two outside of each window will significantly absorb heat and create cool shade in areas with higher levels of sun exposure. Opt for trees and shrubs that are evergreen to give your home extra insulation during the winter as well.
Upgrade to a tankless water heating system.
Tankless water heating systems aren’t just for hotels anymore. They are incredibly efficient powerhouses that allow you access to hot water on demand, without increasing the overall temperature of your home the way traditional water tanks often do. As they are becoming increasingly common in new homes, the purchase price of tankless heating systems has rapidly gone down, making them an affordable option for anyone looking to increase their energy efficiency.
Change your incandescent light bulbs.
The cost of operating a single incandescent lightbulb is anywhere between five to 10 times the purchase price of the original light bulb itself. The upfront cost to purchase compact fluorescent or LED bulbs may be slightly higher, however, they typically use between 25 percent and 80 percent less energy than traditional light bulbs and last much longer. Simply replacing light bulbs throughout your home can dramatically impact your monthly energy costs.
Going green is a lifestyle choice that can take time to transition to. Taking small, sustainable steps is the best way to create changes that will last and help you build a solid foundation for lowering your carbon footprint. Every step you take toward creating an energy-efficient home will ultimately allow you to put more money in your pocket so making bigger changes to your home energy sources can become an affordable option over time.