How can you make your house more energy efficient? That’s a question our construction professionals hear all the time. While some modern architecture incorporates features energy-saving technology, most homeowners still have to do all the hard work themselves. That means researching, purchasing, and installing whatever it takes to cut down on excess energy consumption. Building the ultimate energy efficient home takes a lot of planning, we’re here to speed you on your way!
Today, we’ll outline some of the most powerful projects homeowners can take on to save on their monthly energy bills. After reading through, you should have an clear idea of how to kick of your own DIY home energy efficiency plan. Let’s get started!
Building an Energy Efficient Home
There’s a style of construction called optimum value engineering (also referred to as advanced house framing) that incorporates additional insulation in exchange for fewer wall studs. Individual studs are made larger, but they are also spaced in 24 inch intervals to allow more room for insulation. While we don’t have time to get into more specifics of this type of framing, it does offer highly energy efficient wall design. You’ll also like the reduced material costs when you build your new home.
If you’re looking for the most energy efficient home building materials, framing and insulation will be two of the most important factors determining your end results. Many construction specialists lean towards recycled steel framing. Steel is a very renewable, widely available material that does a terrific job of conserving energy. Plus, you’ll never have to worry about termites or carpenter ants damaging the framing.
As far as insulation goes, spray foam is a great choice. If you want a material that can provide maximum coverage with minimal gaps, it’s hard to find a comparable alternative. As an added bonus, closed-cell spray foam doesn’t absorb moisture, so you don’t have to worry about moldy insulation in the event of a roof leak.
Rejuvenating Older Properties
You may be saying, “That’s great, but how do you make an old house more energy efficient?” Saving energy in older homes is lot easier, because you can complete the work in concise increments. Simply target the portions of your home that are consuming the most energy.
Heating and Cooling
One of the best places to start is heating and cooling. The HVAC system accounts for almost half of all home energy usage during the year, so any inefficiencies we can eliminate here will pay big dividends. For instance, if you find out your duct work has been leaking for some time, scheduling central heat repair could save hundreds of dollars over the course of a year. For homes that have old fiberglass batts, an insulation upgrade could easily pay itself off in savings when a few years. In fact, premium insulation projects are one of the few upgrades that have an over 100% ROI.
Want to take your efficiency to the next level? Try a programmable thermostat. Unless your family is unusually dedicated to turning the AC on and off when you leave the house, there are likely long periods of time where your HVAC system is conditioning an empty home. A programmable thermostat can help you target these away hours and help you save big time.
In general, appliances that run more frequently consume the most energy. With that knowledge, it shouldn’t be a surprise that your water heater is one of the most energy-intensive appliances in your home. After all, tank water heaters run 24/7 to ensure that there is always a supply of hot water ready to go. Whether your particular tank unit runs on gas or electric, you can save money every year with a tankless model that only heats on demand.
According to the Department of Energy, “Heat gain and heat loss through windows are responsible for 25%–30% of residential heating and cooling energy use.” If that’s true, than updating your windows should be a major priority in your energy efficient home plan. The good news is that you don’t necessarily have to replace your windows with the latest industry models to start saving money. Start by making sure your windows are properly sealed. Then you can consider additional weatherstripping or extra solar film to reduce heat absorption.
If your windows are approaching the end of their expected lifetime, consider switching to a low-e window product. These could greatly reduce the amount of heat seeping into the house and taxing your air conditioning system. To easily locate windows rated for high efficiency, look for products officially approved by EnergyStar.
Summary of Home Energy Saving Measures
So what are the most important adjustments you can make for better energy savings?
- Upgrade attic and wall insulation.
- Inspect tour HVAC system for air leaks.
- Save during away hours with a programmable thermostat.
- Switch to a more efficient water heater.
- Improve window seal or switch to low e.
Schedule an Energy Efficiency Home Test
Almost all homes have areas where efficiency could be improved. If you’re serious about knowing how your family can save, consider hiring a professional to inspect your home. In the meantime, our team at Recovery Roofing & Home Improvement, Inc. is here to help you if you need help with installing an energy efficient roof or completing some siding repair in Dundalk, MD. For more information, give us a call at (410) 288-1633!