3 Home Improvements That Make Your Home More Energy Efficient

Home improvements can do a lot to improve a home’s aesthetic appearance or make a life more convenient. In addition, home improvements can also significantly improve a home’s energy efficiency.

Home improvements can do a lot to improve a home’s aesthetic appearance or make a life more convenient.  In addition, home improvements can also significantly improve a home’s energy efficiency.  Going “green” is important for the environment but as homeowners we can also see a significant amount of savings when it comes to energy costs if we make some simple home energy efficiency improvements.  There are simple things a homeowner can easily do like install energy efficient light bulbs, and other things that are best left to professionals due to their level of difficulty and requirement of tools and skills that most homeowners do not have.  When making home energy efficiency improvements it is important that it is done correctly otherwise the energy efficiency may not be optimized and the best savings may not be realized.  Below are three energy efficiency home improvements every homeowner should make.

1.       Programmable Thermostat

Programmable thermostats are very popular now because they make maintaining a comfortable environment easy and help reduce energy waste by programming your thermostat to your lifestyle.  There are many programmable thermostats available for every budget.  From simple, inexpensive programmable thermostats to more expensive thermostats that can actually learn your habits and make adjustments to maximize energy efficiency.  Programmable thermostats can be set so that temperatures are cooler or warmer while you sleep depending on what is appropriate for the season  Additionally, temperatures can be set to be cooler or warmer while you are away at work depending on what is appropriate for the season.  By making these adjustments your air conditioner or heater will not have to work at hard during times when it is not necessary and will thus yield a significant savings on your energy bill.  Energy.Govdescribes how much savings can be enjoyed from taking advantage of a programmable thermostat, “You can easily save energy in the winter by setting the thermostat to 68°F while you’re awake and setting it lower while you’re asleep or away from home. By turning your thermostat back 10° to 15° for 8 hours, you can save 5% to 15% a year on your heating bill — a savings of as much as 1% for each degree if the setback period is eight hours long. The percentage of savings from setback is greater for buildings in milder climates than for those in more severe climates. In the summer, you can follow the same strategy with central air conditioning by keeping your house warmer than normal when you are away, and setting the thermostat to 78°F (26°C) only when you are at home and need cooling. Although thermostats can be adjusted manually, programmable thermostats will avoid any discomfort by returning temperatures to normal before you wake or return home.”

2.       Install Energy Efficient Windows

If you have single pane windows o old, non-energy efficient dual pane windows you may be allowing more hot or cold air in/out than you realize.  Windows are often one of the biggest energy loss spots in any home.  Hire a contractor to install energy efficient windows in your home to not only make your home more comfortable.  Houselogic explains the potential energy and monetary savings from installing energy efficient windows, “For starters, window replacement is one of the best home remodeling projects in terms of investment return: For vinyl windows, you can recoup 72.9% of the project cost in added home value, according to “Remodeling” magazine’s annual “Cost vs. Value Report,” which provides national averages for various remodeling projects… You’re also likely to see modest savings on your energy bill. In general, you’ll save $126 to $465 a year if single-pane windows in a 2,000-square-foot house are replaced with tax-credit-eligible windows, according to the Efficient Windows Collaborative, a coalition of government agencies, research organizations, and manufacturers that promotes efficient window technology.”

3.       Add Insulation

Whether or not your home started out with the appropriate amount of insulation, over time, insulation breaks down and wears out, no longer providing the same amount of benefits.  By adding insulation you can make your home far more comfortable and enjoy the monthly savings on your energy bill as well. Houselogic describes how much energy can be saved by adding insulation to your home, “If your house doesn’t have enough insulation — common in homes built before 1980, when energy awareness began to take hold — bringing it up to current standards will make it more comfortable all year long. Plus, you’ll save anywhere from 10% to 50% on heating and cooling bills… The attic is a great place to start, because adding insulation there is quick, easy, and cost-effective. (To make any insulation upgrade more cost-effective, it’s a good idea to seal air leaks first.)”

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