To create a more energy-efficient home, you don't need to wade through a sea of jargon or break the bank. In fact, achieving energy savings can be simpler than you might think. In this blog post, we'll walk you through seven energy efficient home improvements that can make impactful changes, from upgrading your lighting to harnessing the power of solar panels, so you can start saving money and reducing your environmental footprint right away.
1. Choose Efficient Lighting Solutions
Traditional incandescent bulbs are energy hogs, emitting more heat than light. This wasted energy not only drives up your electricity bills but also contributes to excess heat in your home, requiring more cooling in the summer.
Instead, opt for energy-efficient LED or CFL bulbs or smart lighting:
- LED Bulbs: LED (Light Emitting Diode) bulbs are highly energy-efficient and long-lasting. They use up to 80% less energy than incandescent bulbs and can last 25 times longer.
- CFL Bulbs: Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs) are another good choice. They’re more energy-efficient than incandescent bulbs and last much longer.
- Smart Lighting: Smart bulbs and lighting systems allow you to control your lights remotely and schedule them to turn off when not needed, further optimizing energy use.
2. Install Trusscore Wall&CeilingBoard Instead of Drywall
It’s no secret that drywall is bad for the environment. In fact, an estimated 75% of drywall ends up in landfills, where it makes up 25% to 40% of the national solid waste stream. And once drywall reaches the landfill, it decomposes to produce hydrogen sulfide gas and leachate chemicals like sulfates.
Trusscore Wall&CeilingBoard, on the other hand, has a service life of up to 100 years and is 100% recyclable. Panels can even be recycled up to six or seven times to make new, PVC-based building materials.
The interlocking wall and ceiling panels are available in white and gray, and are perfectly suited to high-traffic, humid, and utility spaces like garages, bathrooms, basements, sheds, laundry rooms, and more. Plus, Trusscore Wall&CeilingBoard panels are pre-finished, meaning they won’t need mudding, taping, priming, or painting, which keeps other harmful materials out of the landfill.
Trusscore Wall&CeilingBoard can help with energy efficiency in your home, too. Panels have a light reflectivity value of 0.9, which means they reflect 90% of the light that hits them. This helps maximize all natural and fixture lighting, reducing the need to add more lighting to your space. This helps you keep costs low, saves on energy consumption, boost your home’s energy efficiency.
3. Improve Home Insulation
Inadequate insulation allows heat to escape during the winter and enter during the summer, forcing your heating and cooling systems to work harder and use more energy.
Boost your home's insulation to create a thermal barrier that keeps your indoor temperature stable year-round:
- Identify Gaps and Cracks: Start by sealing any gaps or cracks in your home's exterior, such as around windows, doors, and pipes. Use caulk or weatherstripping to seal these areas.
- Attic Insulation: Check and upgrade your attic insulation if necessary. Adequate attic insulation can prevent heat from escaping through your roof.
4. Use Smart Thermostats for Precision Control and Reduced Energy Usage
Traditional thermostats lack the ability to adapt to your lifestyle and optimize heating and cooling cycles, resulting in energy waste. Smart thermostats connect to your home's Wi-Fi and can be controlled through a smartphone app. They continuously monitor your home's temperature and your daily routines. Over time, they learn your preferences and can automatically adjust the temperature when you're away or asleep, maximizing energy savings without compromising comfort.
Here are two popular smart thermostat options currently on the market:
5. Upgrade to Efficient Appliances for Lower Utility Bills
Older appliances consume more energy than their modern, energy-efficient counterparts. They’re less eco-friendly and can significantly increase your utility bills.
Energy-efficient appliances use advanced technology to consume less electricity or gas while delivering the same performance. This results in lower energy bills and a reduced environmental impact. That’s why it’s important to invest in Energy Star-rated appliances, which are designed to consume less energy while delivering the same performance.
When you’re shopping, here’s how to identify energy-efficient appliances and choose the right one for your home:
- Check the Energy Guide Label: This label provides estimated yearly operating costs, helping you compare the energy efficiency of different models.
- Look for Energy Star Certification: The Energy Star program certifies appliances that meet strict energy efficiency standards set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Natural Resources Canada (NRCan). Appliances with the Energy Star label exceed minimum federal standards for energy efficiency.
6. Upgrade to Energy-Saving Windows
Older windows can be a major source of energy loss because they may not effectively keep out drafts, and single-pane windows provide little insulation. Energy-efficient windows, often double-paned with low-E coatings, reduce heat transfer, keeping your home cooler in summer and warmer in winter. This means your HVAC system doesn't have to work as hard, resulting in energy savings.
Here are a couple of considerations to make when shopping for and installing energy-saving windows:
- Double Glazing: Opt for double-pane windows with a gas-filled space in between for better insulation.
- Frame Materials: Choose vinyl or fiberglass frames, which are more energy-efficient than traditional materials like aluminum.
7. Harnessing Renewable Energy at Home with Solar Panels
Traditional electricity sources are often fossil-fuel-based, contributing to greenhouse gas emissions and higher utility bills. Solar panels capture sunlight and convert it into electricity using photovoltaic cells, which can power your home and even feed excess energy back into the grid.
To ensure a seamless and efficient installation, we recommend working with a reputable solar panel installer who can assess your specific needs and provide expert guidance.
Creating an energy-efficient home doesn't require a degree in engineering. By following these straightforward steps, you can make energy efficient home improvements that have a positive impact on your energy bills and the environment. Start your journey towards a greener, more efficient home today, and watch the savings accumulate while reducing your carbon footprint.