Safeguarding Energy: Strengthening Homes for Efficiency
The U.S. Department of Energy estimates homeowners can save 5 to 30% on their energy bills by implementing home energy upgrades. A home energy audit costs a few hundred dollars but can save you thousands by suggesting simple improvements.
Understanding common energy loss culprits can make a big difference as you tackle your own energy efficiency. Many of the changes suggested don’t require major upgrades, but instead rely on new technologies or simple fixes to help you avoid losing heat and cooling throughout the year.
By embracing innovative technologies and straightforward solutions, you'll discover that the path to improved energy efficiency is simple and rewarding.
Why Is Energy Efficiency Important?
To be energy efficient means that you meet your daily living needs without wasting any energy. That could mean using less electricity or less gas by keeping indoor temperatures moderate, using less hot water, or improving your home insulation.
One of the reasons this is important is energy costs a lot of money! When you’re more energy efficient, you can save hundreds or thousands of dollars a year. Life is challenging, and it’s always great to have extra money in your pocket for emergencies.
Energy efficiency is also an important way to protect our environment. Producing and delivering energy requires natural resources and can cause pollution, so the less each person uses, the better the impact on the planet.
If you’re looking to free up some cash while reducing your environmental footprint, energy efficiency is the way to go.
The Benefits of Integrating Technology
Energy improvements are easier than ever thanks to technology that makes it simple to adjust the temperature at home, ensure the security of doors and windows, and adjust lighting as needed.
Smart home products can improve energy efficiency whether you’re at home or away. For example, a smart home thermostat can adjust temperatures to be more moderate when you’re away while changing to a more comfortable temperature when you’re home. You can also set a temperature schedule for when you’re sleeping that’s different from when you’re awake. This can help you save significantly on energy use.
Smart lights are another way to save big. No more yelling at your kids (or partner) about turning off lights — smart lights turn on and off automatically as needed. Smart switches can help reduce the impact of other electronics by turning off TVs and computers.
Finally, smart detectors and security systems help you save energy and also keep your family safer. Detect water leaks before they cause significant damage, be alerted immediately if there’s an intruder, and automatically contact the fire or police departments if there’s an emergency — without using a ton of energy in the process.
With technology, you can have the eco-friendly house of the future today!
Tips for Energy Security
Energy security means you can get uninterrupted energy at an affordable price. The best way to ensure energy security for everyone is to be wise in your energy consumption.
There’s no doubt that Americans often use excess energy without realizing it, because it can be hard to know where energy is leaking or being overused. That’s why the U.S. Department of Energy suggests an energy audit: it will show you exactly where the issues are in your home.
Here are some tips for making your home energy secure.
Check Windows and Doors
Windows and doors with poor seals are common causes of energy loss. Air from outside slips through these cracks, causing the HVAC system to work harder than necessary to heat or cool your home.
While new windows and doors can be expensive, they are often worth the price in terms of long-term energy savings. However, there are other steps you can take as well. For example, you can replace the seal around a door or window without replacing the whole unit.
Having proper double-pane windows and energy-efficient doors is worth it in the long run, so consider saving up for these improvements if you need them.
Insulation has some of the most significant impacts on the energy efficiency of your home. Inadequate insulation is one of the most common problems inspectors find in homes. Older homes (and even some newer ones) often have the cheapest insulation available, which means there’s a lot of room for improvement.
There are multiple types of insulation available, and it’s important to compare the improvement to R-value — heat flow resistance — with the cost. If you can afford it, consider closed-cell spray foam, which is one of the most energy-efficient insulation materials. But even upgrading from fiberglass to mineral wool can make a big difference.
Mineral wool is also a safer type of insulation because it has an incredible fire rating, resisting temperatures beyond 1000 degrees C. Having this insulation will help block smoke and flames from spreading if there’s a fire in your home.
All told, an insulation upgrade can cost $2.50 to $8 per square foot, but it’s well worth it for a more efficient and safer home.
Keep Your HVAC Maintained
A well-maintained HVAC system will run more efficiently, allowing you to be comfortable at home while using less energy. Regularly changing air filters, cleaning ducts, and keeping vents clear will help your heating and cooling systems do their job with less effort.
If you don’t have an energy-efficient unit, you might decide to save up for one. A high-efficiency HVAC will use 50% less energy for electric heating and cooling and 10% less for gas. While these can be pricey, the energy savings and benefits to the planet are well worth it.
Stay Comfortable & Protect the Planet With an Energy-Efficient Home
Taking steps to improve energy efficiency at home isn’t an all-or-nothing endeavor. Taking small steps now and larger steps when you can makes a big difference.
It’s important to protect the planet’s resources, and we don’t have to be uncomfortable. Take advantage of today’s smart-home technologies, along with simple upgrades to your home, and enjoy the benefits of energy savings.