Energy efficiency: at a time when many North Americans are becoming increasingly aware of the environmental and financial costs of energy, this is a concept that is of growing interest to people everywhere and to homeowners in particular. If you are responsible for paying for the heat, electricity, and water that your house uses, you have a vested interest in making sure your home consumes as little energy as possible. Reducing use requires major lifestyle changes, so the easiest way to do this is to improve the efficiency of the home itself. If you want to ensure that your house is as energy efficient as possible, here is a checklist to help you explore some of the main areas where your house might be losing energy.
- Insulation: When it comes to saving energy, insulation is probably the most important thing to consider. Insulation technology has changed drastically over the past hundred years, and if you have an older house there is a good chance it is still using out dated insulation materials such as cedar shavings or sawdust. Investing in new insulation may seem like a major expense, but it can be done in stages: given that 25% of all energy lost is generally lost through the roof, start with upgrading to blown-in loft insulation, then move on to the more difficult wall insulation.
- Replace your appliances: A huge amount of energy gets wasted in everyday tasks because the appliances people are using are old and no longer operating at peak efficiency. For this reason, energy-efficient appliances certified by organizations like Energy Star are an investment that will pay for themselves in the long run through they money they save.
- Windows and doors: Experts suggest that as much as 45% of energy loss happens through windows and poorly insulated doors. Windows let in sunlight and provide a view of the outside, but especially in older houses, they provide real vulnerabilities from the perspective of efficiency. One of the best ways to improve efficiency is by replacing your old windows and doors with new ones from a provider like EcoTech Windows & Doors that specializes in energy efficient fixtures.
- Water: For most of us, being able to have a hot shower whenever we want is one of the greatest modern conveniences, but it can come at a high cost — literally. Heating water is one of the most commonly cited energy uses directly under the control of the homeowner. Fortunately, reducing your hot water use doesn’t need to mean going without those showers. With low-flow showerheads, you can cut back and the amount of water you use without reducing the amount of time you shower for.
For many homeowners, making changes to improve the thermal envelope of their house is second in stress only to plumbing upgrades. Overhauling every part of the home to improve efficiency seems like a massive job, and unfortunatelythis keeps too many homeowners from getting started. The good news is, there are plenty of small changes that can be made one at a time. Instead of viewing the task as a renovation, think of it instead as a series of small renovations. If you start with the windows and doors and work your way up to the insulation, you’ll have a truly energy efficient home before you know it.