There is no denying that our society is slowly but steadily steering into the energy-efficient direction. Even if we’d put the issue of non-renewable resources like oil and gas aside, investing in renewable energy sources and striving for sustainability just makes sense from a financial standpoint, and will only become more important as the time goes by. That is why the real question is not “Should you make your home more efficient?” or even “When?” but “How?” Well, here are the six most effective solutions.
Insulate the house
Maintaining a pleasant temperature during winter and summer requires a staggering amount of energy. As a matter of fact, heating and cooling accounts for 54% of our homes’ annual bills. It’s good to know then, that wall insulation can cut the heat loss in your home by 67%, and adding the attic insulation can decrease this number by an additional 40%. Also, home insulation comes in a variety of eco-friendly materials such as sheep’s wool, cotton, and aerogel, so you’ll have plenty of options to choose from depending on needs and finances.
Utilize solar energy
Sure, with large solar systems’ price going up to $21,000, solar panels are still a commodity not every consumer can afford. But, even with such steep prices, they still make one incredibly worthwhile investment, you just need to put things into perspective. Depending on the panel price and your consumption, your system may pay off itself within six to ten years of installation. Also, the energy prices are constantly on the rise and the Government is offering a lot of interesting incentives (rebates, tax breaks, etc.) to encourage energy independence. It seems that the heyday of solar energy is just ahead of us.
Invest in a more efficient HVAC system
Over the last few years, HVAC systems have gone through a huge expansion. For instance, according to a recent report by Research and Markets, the Australian HVAC market is expected to hit the $3 billion mark by 2022! However, heating and cooling systems in typical homes are responsible for a big chunk of total energy use, so how can we make them more efficient? Hiring a certified electrician in Sydney to make sure that your HVAC system is running properly and at peak efficiency is a good starting point. Rational usage, combined with smart automation and regular maintenance done by professionals can produce huge savings. With over 84% of homes having some kind of air conditioning unit, the matters are very similar stateside.
Consider automating your home
In the public eye, home automation is still largely considered a purely leisurely move. If you take another look at the whole matter, though, you’ll see that even the smallest upgrades can go a long way in saving you tons of leaking energy. Smart thermostats, appliances tightly integrated with each other with the blessing of IoT, and even the option to turn off your oven remotely if you forgot to do that earlier are all pieces of this amazing puzzle. The level of automation and the number of integrated appliances is highly customizable which opens a slew of opportunities even for the more modest budgets out there.
Replace the old incandescent bulbs
This is not so much a breathtaking high-tech upgrade as much as something you should’ve done years ago, but you didn’t. As opposed to more traditional incandescent and CFC bulbs which release 80%-90% of their energy as heat, have a very short life-span, and, for the energy they burn, produce surprisingly dim light, LED bulbs score much better results. They use about 25%-80% less energy than their counterparts, they last 3-25 times longer (depending on price and quality) and can easily cast a light over the entire room even from the most awkward positions. A worthwhile investment if there’s ever been one.
Buy more efficient appliances
While automation and rational use can do wonders for your bills, some appliances are simply a lost cause. If your fridge, stove and AC unit have a bad energy rating, not even the most utilitarian approach will produce tangible results. So, what you should essentially do is throw out all the appliances that feature a rating lower than A and replace them with new units. This may sound like a considerable investment but keep in mind that you can sell the old stuff and that the new units will repay themselves as time goes by.
Make small improvements in non-energy-related areas
Here are all the improvements you don’t immediately associate with energy, but they make a difference in a grand scale of things. For example, double-glazed windows are something that belongs more to the domain of interior design, but, due to their ability to capture the heat inside the house, they can drastically cut your heating bills. Another example would be water-saving showerheads. Because they use less hot water, you don’t need to overuse the heater.
These are the six upgrades that can be easily described as “energy efficiency 101.” Some of them will produce bigger savings, others are there to improve the overall results, but all of them will only become more important as time goes by. Do your best to check as much of the entries as you can. Your money won’t only be well-spent, it will find its way home in due time.