Energy efficiency is more than just a buzzword. It can translate to real dollars and cents, especially when it comes to your home.
Homes are notorious energy guzzlers, from kitchen appliances to windows to the roof itself. There’s no shortage of ways you could be wasting energy — and money — by not upgrading the energy efficiency of your home, even if you’re living in a small space. Take a look at these five simple renovations that could make a huge impact on your energy usage.
Update The Kitchen
No room in the home gets more attention than kitchens when it comes to renovations. Kitchens are actually the most popular rooms to renovate. In part, it’s because there are so many easy ways to upgrade a kitchen to be more energy-efficient. Here are just a few suggested by the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors:
- Ensure your refrigerator is far from the oven, heating vents, and direct sunlight. This could force it to use more energy to stay cool.
- Get ENERGY STAR-rated appliance and electronics that are part of the Environmental Protection Agency’s ENERGY STAR program.
- Consider a skylight. A kitchen is a great place for a skylight, which can provide illumination without electricity.
- Use a convection oven, as they are more efficient than conventional ovens. Microwaves are even more efficient!
- Use lids to help pots and pans heat more quickly and efficiently.
Insulate Windows and Doors
One of the biggest culprits when it comes to lack of energy efficiency are air leaks, especially leaks around windows and doors. Particularly in winter, windows and doors can cost you a lot of lost heat. If you are thinking about replacing your windows, look into ENERGY STAR windows that are better about not letting heat escape through leaks.
Weather stripping and caulk are good solutions for most of the doors in a home. Everything from sliding doors, to front doors to even attic doors could be reducing your energy efficiency. An attic hatch or door might seem like a strange choice, but since attics often lead directly to roofs, they can contribute to the problem as well.
Replace Your Roof
Simply choosing the right roofing material could result in as much as a 30% decrease in your home’s energy needs. But choosing the right roof goes far deeper than that. There are a ton of roof materials to choose from, each with their own pros and cons when it comes to efficiency:
- Green Roofs: These are roofs that are literally covered in plants or grass. They are energy-efficient and can be aesthetically beautiful at the same time.
- Slate and Clay Tiles: Lighter colored tiles are more energy-efficient than darker ones. These kinds of tiles can even be reflective for added efficiency.
- Metal: A reflective metal roof is actually highly energy-efficient and great for warm climates.
- Sprayed Polyurethane Foam: This type of roof is great for insulating your roof. It could result in up to a 58% increase your energy savings.
- Thermoplastic Olefin/Polyolefin: This rubber coating is durable and flexible and good for all types of weather.
All of these roof types can improve your energy efficiency. No matter what material you choose, though, you may want to look into a roof that is able to reflect sunlight. These “cool roofs” are far more energy-efficient than conventional roofs.
Check For Leaks In The Bathroom
We mentioned air leaks around doors and windows, but don’t forget about other types of leaks, as well. Bathrooms are infamously leaky and that could be costing you. A leaky faucet sounds like a small problem, but a persistent leak could lead to gallons of water wasted.
If you suspect you have leaky pipes, try caulk or spray foam to patch them up. Caulk, in particular, is cheap and easy to use and could result in you saving a lot of money.
Upgrade Your Lighting
Last but not least, check out your lighting. It could probably be more efficient.
ENERGY STAR rated bulbs and lighting fixtures could drastically reduce your energy costs. Also, if you have a chandelier, consider not using it or at least changing out the bulbs. A chandelier can be a major energy drain because of the amount of light bulbs it uses. And for the simplest fix at all, remember to turn off the light any time you leave a room.
By implementing some or all of these tips, you can make your home a center of energy efficiency. While you’re focusing on the state of your home, it may also be a good time to invest time in checking your detectors for smoke, carbon monoxide, and radon. About one in 15 homes in the U.S. have radon levels at or above the EPA action level, which is very dangerous for residents’ health. To ensure the safety of your family, you can buy a radon detection kit. Start the new year off right with these improvements and you can even see significant financial improvements. Sounds like a win-win for 2020, right?