Making your home energy efficient may sound like a daunting task, but you don't have to go all out—instead of planning major home projects, smaller adjustments to each room can produce a more energy efficient home. With some time, these adjustments will help you lower energy bills and are better for the environment. Here's what you can accomplish room by room.
There are a lot of appliances in the kitchen that eat up energy on a daily basis. But low-flow faucets can reduce water usage by a third and help save annually on energy bills. Windows are another area that loose energy. Make sure each window is properly sealed against the outside and repair cracks and destroyed caulking where needed. If you are looking to replace appliances, always pick ones with an Energy Star rating, especially when it comes to refrigerators and dishwashers.
There are two areas of the living room where excessive energy use is a problem: windows and electronics. When it comes to exterior facing windows, install additional weatherstripping to prevent air from escaping. Well insulated windows are vital in keeping hot air in and cold air out. Also, consider investing in a programmable thermostat to help regulate temperatures more efficiently. You can also purchase Energy Star rated electronics, like televisions and Blu-ray players, that use less electricity than their traditional counterparts.
There are several small things you can do in the bedroom to help your home become more energy efficient. This includes installing LED bulbs, which use a quarter of the energy as traditional incandescents. Ceiling fans also use significantly less energy than your furnace or air conditioner and can help circulate air throughout the house. On a more practical note, a good down comforter will keep you from wanting to turn the heat up during those cold winter nights.
The biggest energy hog in the bathroom is the shower. Fortunately, switching to a more efficient showerhead is affordable and easy. It can also save you a lot of money on monthly water bills and will lessen the load on your hot water heater. Changing to a low-flow toilet can also help save on water use.
Electronics should be your main focus when it comes to the office. Plug in all your electronics, including computers and printers, into a power strip that can be switched off whenever they aren’t in use. Always look for computers that have an Energy Star rating as they can be as high as 25 percent more efficient than normal computers.
The attic is another area of the home that often gets overlooked when it comes to energy efficiency. Make sure the attic is well insulated to keep air from escaping from the roof. You can also plant shade trees on the outside of the home to help keep it cool during the hot summer months. Consider installing solar panels to take part of the electricity load. Solar panels can save you upwards of 50 percent of your total electricity bill.
It’s easy to forget that your basement plays an important part in the energy saving process. If your basement isn’t finished, concrete floors and walls can suck up a lot of energy. Proper insulation is the first step in creating an energy-efficient basement. Also, ensure all windows and doors have proper weatherstripping.
Washers and dryers use a lot of water and electricity on a weekly basis. Installing energy efficient models can save you on water, energy, and heat. (Not to mention offer the conveniences of modern technology.) In the long run, a new energy efficient washer and dryer set will pay itself off.
Garages are often the least energy efficient room in the house because of all the air that escapes when they open. Installing insulation on garage walls will help prevent excessive energy loss. Check under the garage door and install weatherstripping and caulking to fill any gaps. You can also insulate the garage door for added protection. Foam board can be used for this purpose, or simply purchase an insulation kit.