Improving your home’s energy efficiency may not sound as exciting as laying down new flooring or turning your basement into a home theater. However, these upgrades can add value to your home and help you save money and energy.
WHAT IS AN ENERGY-EFFICIENT HOME?
Different organizations and companies use the term “energy-efficient home” differently depending on who you ask. You may have heard of terms like zero energy or green homes when learning about house energy efficiency.
For our purposes, we’ll relate it to the U.S. Department of Energy’s Home Energy Score, which uses a 1-10 scale to rate how energy efficient a house is. Whether you live in a vintage farmhouse or a modern residence in the suburbs, you can raise your home’s score through intentional improvements.
DIY AND LOW-COST OPTIONS
- Caulking and weatherstripping: You can call a professional to caulk and weatherstrip doors and windows, but you can also achieve these tasks with little prior knowledge. After a home energy audit, you can identify trouble spots that you need to address.
- Install low-flow shower-heads: If your house doesn’t have low-flow aerators, replacing them can cost as little as $10.
- Insulate or wrap your water heater tank: If your water heater tank is warm to the touch, it may be using excess heat. A water heater tank blanket or wrap can help cut off excess heat, making it easier to consume less energy.
EXTENSIVE PROJECTS: CALL A PROFESSIONAL
- Add or replace insulation: Insulation is a critical component of your home envelope. It’s one of the foundations of energy efficiency. If an energy audit revealed that you are losing heat through your attic, basement or exterior walls, you should consider contacting a professional to add insulation.
- Repair or replace ductwork: Your home’s ductwork is responsible for keeping your house ventilated and comfortable. If air ducts are worn out or not insulated well, they can leak, causing you to need more energy to keep your home comfortable.
- Repairing or replacing the HVAC system: Along with your home’s duct system, an HVAC system that runs poorly won’t reach maximum efficiency. HVAC systems are rated to last around 15 years but can last longer with repairs and maintenance.
- Installing energy-efficient doors and windows: Doors and windows can cause your home to lose energy as they get older and lose their sealing effect. The best energy-efficient replacement windows and doors can help keep your house air-tight, thus reducing your energy consumption. This renovation not only saves electricity but can also add a new look to the interior and exterior of your home.
- Energy-efficient landscaping: If you are looking for a project to tackle outside your home, consider energy-efficient landscaping. You can plant and position different types of trees around your home to maximize wind and sun protection.
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