Upgrading your home to be more energy-saving will reduce your bills, lower your home’s ecological impact, and even make a difference in your quality of life (for the better).
While there was always an incentive to make your home more energy-friendly, it’s just that it has never been as easy. Nowadays, you can just go and check exactly how much you can save by replacing your windows, compare it to how much you will save by cladding your home’s exterior walls, and make a decision based on that. In other words, there’s far more data than ever before.
Second, so many businesses focus on the production of eco-friendly materials, and they use environment-friendly methods. Therefore, it’s easier than ever before to make energy-saving improvements to your home. A lot of remodeling contractors specialize in this kind of work, and their suppliers are fairly reliable.
With all of this on your side, here’s how you can get started!
1. Switch to Energy-Saving Appliances
One of the first things you can do is just replace your appliances with energy-saving alternatives. This is convenient for several reasons. First of all, it’s something that doesn’t require a big project. You just buy a new appliance to replace an old one. Second, you can do it one at a time. Getting a new freezer one year and a new washing machine the next is quite simple and natural.
Wet appliances and cold appliances use the most power. We’re talking about washing machines, dishwashers, fridges, and freezers. So, if you’re even in a spot where you have to prioritize and you want to save as much as possible, start with these two appliance types. While cooking gets a lot of bad reputation, the truth is that it makes barely 4% of your monthly bill.
Seeing as how the savings that you’ll see are cumulative, the sooner you start, the better, even if you feel like it might not be the best time for a purchase.
2. Replace Your Roof
According to some rough estimates, about 25% of all heat leaves your home via a roof. This means that it takes 25% more power and resources to keep the temperature in your home at the same level. It also means that replacing your roof, as expensive as it may be, could be worth it.
Keep in mind that the cost of your roof remodel may vary drastically, depending on the shingle materials that you plan to go for, as well as the scope of work that you plan to get done. An asphalt roof is considered to be the most energy-efficient, but you can also go for slate, metal, or tile.
There are two more things you need to take into consideration. First, we’ll talk about the installation of solar panels later on. For this to work, it’s important that the structure of your roof can carry that extra weight. Second, sometimes, insulating your attic can make an even greater impact than just re-roofing.
3. Improve Your Windows
Perhaps the single biggest improvement that you can make, in terms of eco-friendliness is to improve your windows. If you have single-pane windows, the first thing you should do is replace them with double-pane alternatives. This way, you can save about $250 every year.
The reason why we suggested that you should improve your windows and not outright replace them is that window replacement can be quite expensive. Also, there are alternatives, like energy saver window inserts, which are a form of interior window insulation. This is far less expensive and ends up saving quite a bit.
Lastly, keep in mind that the material of the frame, the number of panes, and insulation will give limited effects if the windows are not properly sealed. A weather sealing tape can take you a long way, as well as filing any cracks that you notice. This way, the heat loss will be brought down to a minimum.
4. Change Your Exterior Doors
What good is even the best window replacement if your exterior doors are thin and have no insulation? Keep in mind that this is an improvement that a lot of people fail to see as a priority. A door that’s not airtight will let a draft seep into your home and nullify a lot of what you’ve tried to achieve with all the other improvements.
Of course, there are more reasons to replace your door than just to save energy. First of all, it’s a security boost and a boost to the overall visuals of your home. Second, it’s a quality-of-life improvement since a door that is hard to open and close causes a lot of frustration (several times per day).
5. Install Solar Panels
Finally, to make your home zero-energy, you need to produce some of the power, as well. Solar panels are the most common way to go. Chances are that there’s a grant in your area for switching to solar power, which means that you might end up paying less than you initially expected.
Also, keep in mind that if you’re a Tesla driver and get a home charger installation, you can make an even greater difference in your budget.
Another thing you need to keep in mind is that there’s also a societal effect of installing solar panels. Some studies have shown that when a house installs solar panels on its rooftop, there’s a 50% increase in the chance that its neighbors will follow suit. Speaking of being the change you want to see in the world, it doesn’t get any more direct than that.
In the end, it all comes down to your budget and ambition. While some people want to make their home completely self-sufficient, others are content with just reducing their power bill a bit.
Keep in mind that since saving energy means saving money, the sooner you do these remodeling projects, the sooner you’ll start saving money. Also, since you are saving money, one could argue that each of these upgrades has a positive ROI.
Lastly, you shouldn’t ignore the fact that this is an ethical thing to do. With all of this on your side, you’ll soon run out of excuses.
Infographic provided by Rock Solid Stabilization & Reclamation, Inc., a soil modification company