Conserving energy in your home and creating energy-efficient solutions are two different things. While you should implement some energy-saving habits, they will usually prove to be less effective than implementing concrete improvements that will automatically preserve energy and minimize upkeep expenses.
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Energy retrofits can be expensive if you try to wing it, but luckily in this modern day and age, there are a number of upgrades you can do on a tight budget to create a true energy-efficient system. Let’s take a look at some of the most effective energy hacks and upgrades.
First of all, what kind of light bulbs are you using? If you haven’t switched to eco-friendly LED lighting, and are still using incandescent and halogen light bulbs, you should know that they are some of the biggest energy consumers in your home. Traditional lights waste 95% of energy on heat production and only 5% on actually producing light. Transitioning to LED lights can be pricey if done all at once, so until you do, you can implement the habit of turning off the lights when you’re not in the room, simple as that.
Secondly, power down your electronic devices and unplug them from power outlets when you’re not using them. Electronic devices, such as your computer, toaster or hairdryer as well as chargers, are using up energy even when switched off, and in order to stop energy waste, be sure to unplug the cords from all power outlets until you need to use them.
Thirdly, use your appliances the right way. When your refrigerator is half empty, you’re not using it to its full potential, which wastes energy. Or, if your microwave, oven or fridge is dirty, you are wasting energy on heating up or cooling down dirt and old food, and if you want to preserve energy and your appliances, make sure to clean them regularly.
And finally, rather than using an energy-consuming dryer, get an air-drying rack and instead of using a dishwasher that wastes water and energy resources, you can wash the dishes by hand.
One of the most efficient low-medium cost upgrades is switching to LED lighting. LED light bulbs use 95% of energy for light and only 5% is wasted on heat, while their life expectancy is up to 20 years, meaning you will have more light, waste less energy, and you won’t have to replace the light bulbs for a very long time.
Also, you can buy ceiling or standing fans instead of air conditioning units. You can easily transport standing fans from room to room and they consume far less energy than ACs. If you do use an HVAC system, make sure you change the filters regularly so that the machine doesn’t have to work overtime to achieve the same results.
Finally, you should invest in a programmable thermostat. You can program it to turn off the heating or cooling when you’re not home, thus conserving energy.
If you have money to spend on home improvements, there are plenty of efficient and rewarding options at your disposal. First, you should add insulation to your home. While this can be a costly project, you can start small and insulate those areas that can harm the entire house if not properly insulated, such as the attic.
Also, you can replace your windows and save energy by not letting the heat escape outside. Opt for double-glazed or low-e windows depending on your climate. You can also hang thermal covers, such as drapes, blinds, shades and many more, to further enhance the effect of thermal windows, keeping the heat out in the summer and preserving it in the winter.
In addition to these upgrades, you could look into installing solar panels and cool roofing and increase the overall water-efficiency of your home (both indoors and outdoors). What’s best, owing to affordable home improvement financing options available today, you can also combine several upgrades at once. For instance, this California resident contacted an energy fund to finance a drought-tolerant backyard, but soon he learned that he was also eligible for a solar upgrade, so he practically created a self-sufficient home.
As you can see, there are plenty of ways you can transform your home into an energy-saving system. By implementing eco-friendly habits, as well as deciding on certain upgrades and retrofits, you will have no problems minimizing your energy consumption and upkeep costs.
READ MORE: The Basics of Energy Efficient Windows