By Platinum Team May 15, 2013

The Top Ways To Improve Energy Efficiency In Your Home

If you’re like many homeowners, you may have recently received a bill from your utilities provider that was less than pleasing.  In almost every major market, the cost of energy continues to rise.  In an economy that is challenging people’s budgets everywhere, an energy efficient home is a more attractive option then ever before.  Contrary to popular belief, many of the solutions that can improve your home’s energy efficiency aren’t as difficult as you may think.  Identifying some of the major energy drains in your home is the first step. Insulate And Weatherize The U.S. Department of Energy found that more than one third of the energy waste in an average home comes through heating and cooling loss.  This loss is almost always a result of poor or insufficient insulation.  Identifying areas of poor insulation can be fairly simple.  In cold environments, drafty zones are the primary suspects.  Attic areas, fireplaces, and small holes in walls can all be points where heat is escaping.  These same points will create cooling deficiencies in the middle of a hot summer.  An energy efficient home can address each of these areas through added insulation, hole patching, and re-caulking. Window Panes Homeowners love their windows.  They are the connection to natural light, great views, and airflow for many homeowners.  But they also have the potential to waste a lot of energy.  A recent study estimated that windows alone are responsible for 10-25% of home energy waste.  If your home has older windows with single pane technology, you may be throwing money out the door every day.  Find out how old your windows are, and look into new windows with a minimum of double pane technology.  The upfront cost of new windows can be realized through energy savings in a matter of a couple years.  If you’re unable to replace your windows, consider clear plastic sheeting, which is designed to act as a kind of second pane at a much smaller cost. Light Bulbs Recent years have seen incredible advances in light bulb technology.  If your home is still filled with incandescent light bulbs that are on every night, you’re wasting money!  The newest bulbs are called compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs), and they use 75% less energy than traditional bulbs.  Despite being slightly more expensive to buy, they typically recover that cost through energy savings in less then six months.  This is great news for people trying to design a more energy efficient home at a smaller cost. Programmable Thermostats Perhaps one of the simplest solutions in creating an energy efficient home is the use of a programmable thermostat.  The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that Americans waste nearly $200 annually due to improper programming of thermostats.  If your home doesn’t have a thermostat that allows you to schedule and program your heating and cooling, you should consider upgrading immediately.  Once you’ve obtained one, it’s important to schedule your furnace or air conditioner to be off at times your home is unoccupied.  Also, you can create a much more energy efficient home by simply dialing back the temperature a few degrees during the winter, and up a few degrees throughout summer. Time To Consider Solar? Of course, there’s no greater use of energy than the actual electricity you pay for each month.  If you’re thinking of a bigger investment to create your energy efficient home, you may want to look into solar power.  Like other technologies, solar electric panels have made huge advances in recent years.  Smaller panels are capable of capturing even greater amounts of energy.  While going completely “off the grid” is a challenge, effective solar panel systems can cover nearly 75% of your home’s total energy needs.  In some markets, excess energy that your panels collect and your home doesn’t use can be sold back to the utilities company for a profit.  Solar panel systems are a more significant up front expense, and they should be installed by qualified professionals On The Path To Efficiency As this list reveals, many of the drains on your home’s energy efficiency can be addressed through a little bit of investigation and hard work.  If you want a comprehensive understanding of where your home is wasting energy, you may want to look into an energy audit.  The most important thing is to get started.  An energy efficient home can be both a source of pride and savings for homeowners everywhere!]]>