How to Make Your Home More Energy Efficient
Get energy saving tips, find ENERGY STAR® appliances and learn about maximizing your home’s energy efficiency.
Being environmentally friendly starts with you, and by making your home more energy efficient, you’ll not only help to reduce your carbon footprint but you’ll also save money by cutting down on how much water and electricity you use. The ways to save energy are endless--and the best part is, many projects may cost little or no money.
Ways to Save Energy
Almost every area of your home has energy-saving potential. Plus, when you reduce your energy costs, you’ll save money, too. You can start small by changing daily habits and work your way up to bigger actions like replacing your existing appliances with ENERGY STAR® appliances.
Energy Efficiency Inside Your Home
Some of the most important places to focus on making more energy efficient include insulation, doors and windows, and HVAC systems.
According to many online energy saving resources and consumer guides, about one-third of a home's total heat loss typically occurs through windows and doors. There are a number of ways to increase the energy efficiency of these entryways to help prevent heat and cool air from escaping your home.
Caulking - Check the caulk around window and door frames for cracks, broken or loose pieces. If you find any of these, that means air could be flowing in and out, and it’s time to caulk the area again. Before applying new caulk, be sure to remove all existing caulk and clean the area thoroughly. When shopping for caulk products, keep in mind the area you’re caulking so you’re able to select the right kind for your project.
- Weatherstripping – Apply to moveable areas, such as window tracks and door jambs. Different materials (foam, vinyl, metal) are available, so you’ll want to choose a type that will withstand temperature, weather, and wear and tear. Install door sweeps on the bottom of doors for increased energy efficiency.
When weather permits, keep your windows and doors open and turn off your air conditioning or heat to cut down on energy use. Additionally, keep drapes and curtains open during daylight hours to allow natural light to illuminate your home instead of turning on lamps. If your budget allows, installing double pane ENERGY STAR® certified windows is an optimal way to make your windows more energy efficient.
There are many benefits to having a well-insulated home including energy efficiency, reduced energy bills and improved air quality. A good way to save energy is by upgrading to materials that are resistant to heat transfer (or have a high R-value), making sure to choose insulation that’s appropriate for the specified location. Some of the main areas where air “leaks” or drafts occur that should be properly insulated include attics, crawlspaces, floors and baseboards, fireplaces, exterior walls, electrical outlets, pipes and wires, and wall- or window-mounted air conditioners.
Different types include blanket (batt and roll) insulation, loose-fill or blown-in, sprayed foam, foam board/rigid foam, concrete block insulation, structural insulated panels and insulating concrete forms.
Ensure your heating/cooling system is in working order by having regular maintenance performed. It’s recommended to have it checked twice a year – once in the fall before it gets cold, and once in the spring before the weather gets hot. A good energy saving tip for heating and cooling your home properly is to install a programmable thermostat and keep your air/heat turned off when no one is home. Try to set the AC temperature to the highest degree possible (that’s still comfortable) in the summer and increase it when you’re sleeping. Follow these directions accordingly in the winter, and decrease the temperature when you’re using the heat.
Replacing air filters to increase air flow and installing a ceiling fan can both significantly help increase your energy savings. Even simple things like keeping your drapes closed at night and open during the day can help maximize sunlight and insulation throughout every season.
Lowe’s offers a full line of ENERGY STAR® appliances with trusted brand names including Samsung, Whirlpool, GE, LG, Maytag and Bosch. Washers, dryers, dishwashers and tankless water heaters are all available in models that help your home save energy and help you save money. Here’s how:
- Certified ENERGY STAR ® washing machines use about 45 percent less water and about 25 percent less electricity than standard washers. They have sensors that monitor the water level and temperature, plus the rinse cycle utilizes a high-pressure spraying system instead of refilling the entire tub.
Certified ENERGY STAR ® dryers are more energy efficient because they have built-in technology including moisture sensors and automatic shut off once clothes are dry. These dryers typically require about 20 percent less energy than non-energy efficient dryers.
- Certified ENERGY STAR ® dishwashers work similarly to washing machines by using less water, and technology that senses how dirty the dishes are to optimize the cleaning cycle. Improved water filtration, designed with more space, and more efficient spray jets are other features that make these dishwashers a better choice.
Benefits of Energy Efficiency
There are countless ways to make your home more energy efficient and many lasting benefits as well. Upgrading your home’s systems – HVAC, appliances, and windows/doors – will help you be warmer in the winter, cooler in the summer and use less energy. By being more “green,” you’ll save more green because your energy costs will be reduced. If your home is older than 10 years, consider having a professional energy audit conducted to find out what you can do to maximize how your home uses energy.
The information and advice contained in this article is intended as a general guide for informational purposes only. It does not take into account your personal situation. While we at Resolve have significant experience and history operating in the home restoration industry and working closely with construction contractors, we are not licensed as a general or specialty contractor. We encourage you to consider the information we’ve provided but urge you not to rely upon it in place of appropriate professional advice from a licensed, experienced construction contractor.