5 DIY home energy tips anyone can tackle. The movement towards sustainable living has even reached the world of home improvement. Many homeowners are now looking for ways to live more sustainably in their homes, committing to using less energy and going green on everything they can. “People are definitely interested in the energy efficiency of building and design right now, more so than they were as recently as 10 years ago,” Charles Roberts, a principal with Kuhn Riddle Architects recently told Business West magazine.
Sustainable communities, clean energy, local economies, and a better standard of living are being championed by a new generation of homebuyers. They are conscious of the impact they can have on the environment and are committed to making eco-friendly living happen at home. According to the National Association of Realtors, 61 percent of homebuyers are drawn to homes with sustainable and energy-efficient features and 71 percent of realtors highlight those features when marketing listings.
“Consumers continue to make it clear that environmentally-friendly features and neighborhoods are an important factor in deciding where and what home to buy,” said NAR President Elizabeth Mendenhall.
Sustainability is no longer just a buzzword — it is impacting how consumers think about their home and how they use it. At the end of the day, energy efficiency and sustainability will benefit you both as an individual and a community.
Homeowners that are interested in increasing their energy efficiency can make an incredible return on their investments by simply making small changes to their homes. Making the smallest improvements to your home’s insulation, lighting, design, and maintenance can lead to huge increases in energy efficiency without having to go out and buy new appliances or replace all your floors with locally sourced wood.
If you want to save energy in your home, there are plenty of practical steps you can take. These DIY home energy tips won’t just help you make your home more comfortable; they’ll also help you cut down on those utility bills.
In cold climates, energy loss through windows can be greatly reduced by using drafty windows. This isn’t just an aesthetic preference — drafts reduce energy use; help reduce warming in the winter and cooling in the summer and delay interior heating loads that cause damage in cold weather.
“Heat gain and heat loss through windows are responsible for 25%–30% of residential heating and cooling energy use,” notes the Department of Energy.
The first step is to ensure you have efficient windows with gas insulation, high-performing glazing and spacers, and an insulated fiberglass exterior door. If your windows and doors are in good shape, then sealing up leaks with caulk can be a cheap, low-tech way to help reduce your carbon footprint. Seal the gaps around your house—the cracks where the air edge meets the roof, or where windows open onto a balcony. Insulate the walls around pillars, chimneys, and columns to prevent warm air from leaking in and cold air venting out.
The energy-efficient materials you choose for this task will have a big impact on the quality of your home’s performance—and how much it costs to heat or cool your home. Overall costs for such a project is $3-$30, according to DOE, should take one-to-two hours, and can provide 10-20 percent in energy savings.
You may also add foam weather stripping to doors and windows. Weather stripping is a quick and easy way to ensure that exterior doors and windows stay closed when it is cold outside without adding a lot of bulk or cost. If you are concerned about mold and mildew growing inside your home, then there’s no better way to protect your investment than by using weather stripping on the outside of your windows and doors. Self-adhesive versions are easy to apply and are available at any hardware store or home improvement center. DOE estimates that the overall cost of a weather-stripping project is around $5-$10 and should only take an hour to complete.
In addition, you might consider putting window film on your windows to help block against solar heat gain and protect against glare and ultraviolet exposure. It’s easy to install and is available at most hardware stores and home centers. Best of all, it can help save on utility bills without obstructing the view.
Insulation is an important part of any space. When done correctly, it can reduce your home’s temperature by an additional 6-10 degrees F, keeping you comfortable throughout the year. Unfortunately, many people don’t take the time to do the installation properly, leaving their homes vulnerable to mold and mildew growth. Energy experts say as much as 35 percent of heating and cooling is lost through leaks in the roof and attic. Check your attic to make sure you have the proper amount of insulation. The Department of Energy has information on how much insulation is recommended in your part of the country.
Insulation also must be installed correctly. If installed improperly, it can trap heat and cause you to get uncomfortable in cold weather. Vapor barriers on insulation should be face down, toward the living space. If the vapor barrier is facing up, the insulation will trap moisture and could cause water and condensation problems. Also, there should be slits cut into the vapor barrier to allow moisture to escape.
“Making your home energy efficient means starting with the basics, and the most important of these are the proper sealing of air leaks and insulating sufficiently for your climate,” Alliance to Save Energy’s Ronnie Kweller told Business Insider. “Those steps can cut heating and cooling bills by up to 20 percent.”
Shading your home is an excellent way to make it more efficient — and to reduce your carbon footprint. It will save you money on your utility bills because you will have less air conditioning and heating on hot days. Plant deciduous trees and consider attaching awnings and extending roof overhangs to reduce solar heat gain from your windows. “On average, a well-designed landscape saves enough energy to pay for itself in less than eight years,” the Department of Energy estimates.
Programmable thermostats are a type of energy management device that uses sensors and software to control various aspects of your home’s temperature. Depending on how they are set up, they can save you money by managing your energy usage, turning off appliances when you’re not home, and even sending you text messages or emails when your home temperature is too high or low. Programmable thermostats can save up to $180 a year in energy costs when used properly, according to the Department of Energy. DOE recommends that homeowners turn their thermostats back 7º-10º from its normal setting eight hours a day. This change, which is simple to do on a programmable thermostat, could save homeowners as much as 10 percent annually on heating and cooling bills.
One easy way to make sure that your AC is working properly, and keeping you cool during those hot summer days, is to clean your air conditioner’s filter (if it’s a reusable one) or replace the air conditioner filter every four to six weeks. That small measure can ensure that your unit is working properly and consuming less energy. Replacing a dirty, clogged filter with a clean one can lower your air conditioner’s energy consumption by 5 percent to 15 percent.
Making your home more efficient keeps the cost of living down, provides people with more energy security, improves the quality of life for everyone in your home, and helps reduce our carbon footprint. Whether it’s a small switch to smart bulbs or a smart thermostat that can automatically adjust the temperature in your home while you’re away, there are a lot of ways to make your home more energy efficient. Whether you’re looking to reduce utility bills, plan on starting a family, or just want to be more energy efficient for the sake of the environment, Ridge Valley Home Products can help you get started. If you need energy-efficient roofing, windows, doors, or siding, Contact Ridge Valley Home Products at 844-741-7663 or online. We build trust and peace of mind into every Ridge Valley product.