Energy Efficiency Leads the Way in Home Improvement Projects

For years, Energy Efficiency has been a topic buried under all the ‘green’ talk surrounding the use of solar power at home and alternative energy sources.

Today, energy efficient homes are taking center stage on a massive scale. Home improvement projects now focus on aspects of the home such as conducting energy audits and air sealing your home’s attic, walls, and basement. A home’s energy efficiency is priority number one before any homeowners should even consider using solar power at home. Think about it, if you’re home is an energy hog, and not using energy efficiently, it will take a whole lot more solar energy to power your home, driving up the price of installing such a solar power system.

So, first things first, energy efficient home improvements need to be understood at the outset of any ‘green’ home improvement project.

One of the misconceptions of going green is, If you add green features to your home, costs would also rise. Fortunately, the opposite is true. By redesigning processes — reducing mistakes, doing things right the first time — home owners can improve their home’s energy efficiency and cut their home energy costs.

Because so many people now need to save the green in their wallets, going green at home through energy efficient home improvements is the logical way to go.

So, just how much money can be saved in a household by improving home energy efficiency?

The average American home has about 40-50 light bulbs, excluding closet lights, and most homes are filled with incandescent bulbs. Compact fluorescent bulbs or CFLs are the easiest energy efficient home improvement you can make to start. Four CFL bulbs use the energy of one incandescent bulb, by replacing all of them, you could save $350 a year on your electric bill!

Water Efficiency

What about water efficiency? Bathrooms, which can easily be the most wasteful rooms in the house, have a great opportunity to be a very efficient room as well. Low flow toilets instead of the standard, 3.5-gallon toilets, which, for a family of five, can cut a water bill by $165 a year. Low flow sink faucets in both bathrooms can also reduce the water bill by another $200 a year. There are also adjustable shower heads that control the flow of water so it isn’t on full spray for the entire time in the shower. These attachable heads can slow down water flow by 80 percent when full power isn’t needed, such as when soaping up or shaving. By adjusting the water flow, a family of five can save up to $350 annually on their water bill and as much as $350 on their heating bill given the reduced use of hot water.

Heating and Cooling

Nothing in the home consumes more energy than the heating and cooling system. Keeping your home warm in the winter and cool in the summer is a constant battle to separate the inside elements from the outside. The best way to improve home energy efficiency when it comes to heating and cooling is through air sealing your home. Also known as weatherizing, this is a crucial element to any energy efficient home. Trouble areas include the roof where hot air can escape in the winter and also attract heat during the summer. Home improvements such as “Cool Roofs” are a great way to reduce summer time heat. The attic is a very important element to insulate the house. If your insulation is less than six inches thick, it’s time to make some improvements.

Understanding home energy efficiency doesn’t have to be hard, it just has to make sense.

Reasons For Building A Green Home

The earth’s behavior to human activities is changing with the passage of time. Issues such as greenhouse effect are appearing. Environmentalists are forced to create ways to avoid such unwanted situations that may pose a threat to the human life in the future. With the help of governments, they are able to convince the public to change their lifestyles and work for the betterment of the future of the earth. One such step is making a greener and environment friendly home. Since home improvement is on the rise due to the changing trends that the public tends to follow, the green home improvement can be one way to help the earth to keep up its beauty and a healthy future for the human race that is yet to come into existence.

One of the most important reasons to make your house a greener place is the regulation of healthy air that results from adding plants and greenery to the empty spaces of the house. Like this, you will be able to keep up the health of all the occupants of your house. The second advantage is that the beauty resulted from the filling of the empty spaces of your home with greenery helps support a comfortable living environment.

The house can be made greener by introducing solar panels, white-painted roof tops, and dual window panes. This means that the indoor temperatures can be maintained and the need for electrical appliances such as air-conditioning units and electrical heaters is reduced. As a result, the energy that is provided by the government and produced by those non environment friendly sources such as thermal and nuclear power plants, is consumed in lower amounts. Moreover, the lower energy costs favor your budget by allowing more money to be spent on stuff that you would love to spend on. Greener homes will also protect the non-renewable resources that are used to produce electrical energy.

With a reduced dependence on fossil fuels, the earth’s atmosphere can be sustained well. This means that lower amounts of carbon emissions will enter the ozone layer and lower depletion of the ozone layer will result. If a large population of the world starts green home improvement, a global impact can be experienced. Just by some small changes such as switching to energy conserving appliances can make a huge difference and benefit the world for years to come.

Even various governments appreciate the green house improvements. Some of the ways of showing off their appreciation is to give the owners of such buildings with tax benefits. This is surely a great short-term benefit for becoming an environmentalist. The real estate resale value of the green houses is also greater than the traditional houses that do not include features of the eco-friendly buildings.

Insulation – A Great Green Home Improvement

Insulation is one of the most popular forms of green home improvement – and with good reason.

It has been estimated that the average property that does not have the benefit of home insulation could see owners forking out hundreds of pounds every year to pay for higher heating bills. This is because without wall, floor and loft insulation, adequate draught-proofing and double glazing, a building literally leaks away much of the warm air that is pumped into it by radiators, gas heaters or wood burning stoves.

As a result, people compensate by turning up their heaters higher or leaving them running for longer, resulting in larger bills.

And it is not just the wallet that an un-insulated property is bad for, but also the planet. Households who have to leave their heating running for longer in order to keep warm are consuming more fuel as a result. This, in turn, leads to more emissions being released into the atmosphere – something which can contribute to climate change.

So, to save money and protect the environment, there really has never been a better time to consider insulation.

But what choices are available? Well, there are so many areas of a property that can be insulated you have plenty to choose from! From cavity or solid wall insulation to floor and loft insulation, in addition to insulation for water pipes and tanks, double glazing and draught-proofing, there are many different ways in which you can ensure your property is running more efficiently.

Cavity wall insulation is one way to help keep heat inside where it belongs and net a reduction on energy bills at the same time. Many properties built after the early part of the 20th century typically have an outer shell made up of two walls with a small space between them and it is this cavity which can be filled to help keep warm air inside.

In addition to staying warm, this type of insulation can also help to reduce a build-up of condensation, which, if left untreated, can cause more serious damage to buildings in the future. Furthermore, it can help to reduce the sound that emits from your property.

If your property is older – such as if it was built before the 1920s – it may be that it has solid walls, rather than a cavity, but it may surprise you to learn that this too can be insulated. In cavity walls, the space itself can help to trap heat inside rather than letting it slip out, but the lack of a gap in solid walls means that they are actually less efficient at retaining hot air than their newer counterparts. By choosing either internal or external insulation on the outside or inside of walls, you could soon be enjoying some financial savings and a warmer home.

Once your walls are all as insulated as they can be, you will want to turn your attentions elsewhere in the home. Loft insulation is a good place to start. Just like your head, much of a home’s heat can escape through the top. It is recommended that your loft or attic is insulated to a depth of at least 270mm with mineral wool if you want to make a real difference to your property’s ability to retain heat.

While it does not make such a major impact financially, insulating your floor could still see you saving a small amount on your annual energy bills. And this is a job you could have a go at yourself, by filling any gaps in the floorboards or skirting boards with a sealant. Alternatively, you could arrange for an insulating layer to be installed beneath your current floor.

And it doesn’t end there – modern double glazing is proven to make a real difference to energy bills and the heat retaining capabilities of a property. And when all that is done you can turn to your own DIY skills by searching out any gaps or cracks in the walls and floors of your home and sealing them. Even placing a draught excluder at the base of a door is helping the planet in some way!

Installing wall, loft and floor insulation can be a big job and one that it is worth getting right in order to really feel the benefits. For this reason it may be worthwhile seeking the services of qualified and experienced tradesmen who have previously worked on eco friendly homes, rather than tackling the job yourself.

And with Rated People, you will find that tracking down the best professionals is far more affordable than you realised. Indeed, you could have a greener home and a heavier wallet sooner than you think!