A Step-by-Step Guide to Making Your Home More Energy Efficient


July 5, 2023

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Energy efficiency in homes has become a topic of great importance in recent years. It’s not just about reducing energy bills but also about enhancing comfort and contributing to a healthier planet.

This guide provides valuable tips from many industry experts, answering all the questions you might have on the way to making your home more energy efficient.

Understanding Energy Efficiency

Why is it so important? Energy efficiency in a home context refers to the effective use of energy to perform various tasks, from heating and cooling to powering appliances. The benefits are substantial. According to the US Department of Energy, efficiency upgrades can result in savings of up to 30% on energy bills.

Furthermore, additional studies reveal that energy-efficient homes have a smaller carbon footprint, contributing to environmental sustainability. So let’s look at how to make your house more energy efficient, what it will cost you, and the expected results.

#1. Conducting an Energy Audit

Energy Efficient

The first step towards energy efficiency is conducting a home energy audit. This involves a comprehensive assessment of energy consumption and potential improvements.

Homeowners can either hire a professional or conduct a simple audit themselves, checking for drafts, inspecting insulation, and identifying energy-guzzling appliances.

However, window replacement Winnipeg experts say that if homeowners plan to apply for government incentives when renovating their houses, the energy audit can only be made by a professional assessor who will check your home’s overall thermal performance and suggest the most efficient home improvements.

#2. Improving Insulation

Proper insulation is crucial for maintaining a home’s temperature and reducing energy consumption. Energy Star, a program run by the US and Canadian governments, reports that homeowners can save an average of 15% on heating and cooling costs by properly sealing their homes and adding insulation.

There are several popular DIY methods for improving home insulation that experts recommend if you want to boost energy efficiency while on a tight budget:

  • Sealing Cracks and Gaps: Small cracks and gaps can be a significant source of heat loss. Homeowners can use caulk to seal gaps in the stationary components of their homes and weatherstripping for the moving parts, like doors and operable windows.
  • Installing Window Insulation Film: Window insulation film is a plastic film which can be applied to glass windows to reduce heat transfer. It’s a cost-effective way to improve the insulating properties of windows, especially for those who can’t afford double-glazing.
  • Adding Insulation to the Attic: The attic is often the biggest source of heat loss in a home. Adding insulation to the attic can be a relatively straightforward DIY project that can significantly impact a home’s energy efficiency. Several types of insulation are suitable for attics, including blanket insulation (batts and rolls) and loose-fill insulation.
  • Using Door Draft Stoppers: A draft stopper is a simple and cost-effective way to prevent drafts from entering under doors. They can be easily made at home with common household materials.
  • Insulating Water Heater Tanks: Insulating your hot water tank is an easy and inexpensive way to improve energy efficiency and save on water heating costs. Insulation blankets are available for this purpose.

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#3. Replacing Windows and Doors to Energy-Efficient Models

Energy efficient casement windows

Windows and doors significantly impact a home’s energy efficiency. Energy-efficient models can reduce heat loss in winter and keep homes cooler in summer. Many homes in North America are still equipped with single-pane windows, resulting in energy loss of around 30% and high energy bills.

New triple pane windows offer a lot better insulation and thermal performance, being up to 55% more energy efficient than regular units. Even though window and door replacements can be considered a major home renovation project, it is one of the best renovations to boost your house’s energy efficiency while retaining an ROI of ~70%.

When choosing new windows and doors, make sure to consider factors like energy ratings (minimum 34), local climate, and the window’s orientation. Moreover, install only Energy-Star-rated models after consultation with your local replacement experts to decide on the best fitting units.

#4. Energy-Efficient Appliances and Lighting

Appliances and lighting are significant contributors to a home’s energy use. According to statistics, they can account for up to 25% of a home’s energy consumption. Therefore, focusing on these areas can lead to substantial energy savings.

When it comes to appliances, it’s essential to consider their energy efficiency when purchasing new ones. Energy Star-certified products, for instance, use less energy than their non-certified counterparts. They might cost more upfront, but the energy savings over their lifetime often make up for the initial cost. These appliances range from refrigerators and dishwashers to air conditioners and water heaters.

Furthermore, regular maintenance of appliances can also improve their efficiency. For example, cleaning the coils of a refrigerator can help it operate more efficiently. Similarly, emptying the lint filter in a dryer after every use can improve its efficiency and safety.

Lighting is another area where energy efficiency can be improved. Traditional incandescent light bulbs consume a lot of energy and need to be replaced more often than their energy-efficient alternatives. Compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs), light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs, and halogen incandescent bulbs use 25-80% less electricity and last three to 25 times longer.

Moreover, considering natural light can also contribute to energy savings. By strategically using window coverings to allow or block out sunlight, homeowners can reduce the need for artificial lighting and heating or cooling.

#5. Adopting Energy-Saving Habits

Energy efficient doors

Adopting energy-saving habits is vital in improving a home’s energy efficiency. These habits don’t require a significant investment but can lead to substantial energy savings.

One of the simplest habits is turning off lights when leaving a room. According to the International Energy Agency, if everyone in the world diligently turned off lights when not in use, the world could see a 1.4% reduction in total energy consumption.

Using energy-saving modes on appliances is another easy habit. Many appliances have energy-saving features that reduce energy consumption when the appliance is not in use or when it’s operating at less than full capacity.

Washing clothes in cold water can also save energy. As per statistics, almost 90% of the energy consumed by a washing machine goes to heating water. Switching from hot to cold water for an average of three loads per week could save up to $37 per year.

Lastly, regular maintenance of heating and cooling systems can improve their efficiency. This includes replacing filters regularly and having the systems serviced by a professional annually.

Final Say

Improving your home’s energy efficiency can seem like a daunting task. Still, by taking it one step at a time, homeowners can make significant improvements that benefit both their wallets and the planet.

No matter how small, every effort contributes to a more energy-efficient home and healthier environment.

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