In the past, the term “home energy efficiency” brought visions of expensive solar panels, giant wind turbines or quirky lifestyle changes. But as the strategy has reached the mainstream, the public has come to better understand what energy efficiency is and how it benefits everyone. In addition to cutting down on pollution and conserving natural resources, increasing home energy efficiency is a valuable investment that saves consumers money. If you’re just starting to look at how to make your home more energy efficient, know that there are several time and cost effective home projects that can immediately decrease consumption as well as the price of your energy and utilities bills.
You don’t have to be a contractor to buy and install green building materials. In fact, there are hundreds of home improvement ideas that will make your house more energy efficient. Most energy saving projects can be completed in a few spare hours, including improving these three areas with five easy tasks
Switching out showerheads and faucets is a simple task that can make a big difference in your water consumption. Low-flow water fixtures are designed to produce a strong flow of water while using less water than a standard water fixture. Low-flow fixtures run anywhere from $15-$30 and can be installed without the help of a professional.
Electric lighting represents a sizable chunk of a home energy bill. Update your light fixtures and bulbs with halogen incandescent, CFL or LED light bulbs. According to the US Department of Energy, switching to these more efficient bulbs can save you $75 a year. Take your time choosing what bulbs to buy as newer light bulbs and fixtures give you a variety of choices when it comes to color and intensity.
Refrigerators, washers and dishwashers use a lot of energy and water, especially if they’re more than ten years old. Federal law has forced many manufacturers to produce more efficient home appliances, which means updating your appliances could make a big difference. If replacing all of your major appliances at the same time is too expensive, consider replacing the refrigerator first, as older refrigerators are big energy hogs.
Many homes were built before energy efficiency was a focus, meaning green building materials weren’t used during construction. Update your home’s look and efficiency with the installation of faux stone panels. Adding faux stone can increase the R-value of your siding, which is a measure of insulation. These easy-to-install panels are an attractive upgrade to your home’s exterior that could even increase the value of your home.