Going Green: 5 Energy-Efficient Home Improvements to Make this Summer
Do you know the old saying about prices being through the roof or money going out the window? There’s some truth to this when it comes to your home and energy usage, especially in today’s economy. Increasing your home’s energy efficiency is a solution for improving its ability to hold onto cash, though.
While the upfront cost of green home improvements might be jarring, the return on investments — both in energy savings and your home’s value — is well worth the effort. Check out these five ways to boost your home’s energy efficiency no matter your budget.
If your home is poorly insulated, your heat, air conditioning, and money will go straight through it. In fact, Energy Star estimates that 25-40% of your home’s heating and cooling energy is lost through air leaks alone. This can get really pricey really quickly. You may notice drafty rooms, snow melting off your roof quickly, or feeling constantly warm during the summer. To combat this, you can invest in double-glazed windows or seal anywhere you feel a draft. If you find you need to reinsulate the walls entirely, contact a professional.
Upgrade Your Appliances
Buying new appliances is often an expensive commitment for many homeowners, but if you’re looking to lower your energy costs, it’ll be worth it. Consider upgrading refrigerators, ovens, microwaves, dishwashers, and even the hot water tank to more energy-efficient models. Because this can get costly, consider either spacing out upgrades to better support your household budget or look into the best home improvement loans to finance the project.
The home improvement planning process is a great time to look into renewable energy systems to power your home’s electricity, water heating, and cooling. According to experts, the average American spends $1,409.52 on electricity each year. But by installing more energy-efficient options, like solar panels or wind electric systems, you may be able to save much of that money.
The initial cost of solar panels might feel impractical, but don’t get discouraged. Solar panels have a long-term return on investment and will increase the resale value of your home should you ever choose to list it on the market. Plus, sunlight is free, so costs beyond installation should be minimal.
Decorate with Eco-Friendly Finishes
Energy-saving changes to your home don’t have to be pricey. If you’re feeling the itch to freshen your space alongside renovations, but are on a tighter budget, look for eco-friendly materials like water-based ink printed paper to wallpaper, acrylic paint, or bamboo flooring to get the job done. These sustainable options omit harmful chemicals often associated with the manufacturing process. To maximize your home’s energy efficiency (with the added benefit of making rooms feel larger, brighter, and more open), stick to lighter colors that reflect heat.
Change Bad Habits
Small, bad habits can often be the culprit of much energy waste. Luckily, they’re easy and basically free to change. Turn off lights in unused rooms, don’t leave the television on as background noise, stop the water from running the entire time you wash dishes or brush your teeth, and unplug appliances that aren’t in use. You can also switch out all light bulbs for LEDs, adjust your thermostat, and avoid running the dishwasher or doing the laundry when you don’t have to.
The Bottom Line
Whether you’re looking to remodel or just change your lifestyle, these tips can add up to considerable savings over time. Be sure to consult your budget and properly plan before jumping in. All that’ll be left is enjoying your new, energy-efficient space.