10 Ways to Make Your Home More Efficient

If you’re concerned about conserving environmental resources or simply want to save money on monthly energy bills, these tiny changes can significantly improve your home’s energy efficiency.

  1. Switch to LED light bulbs: Old-fashioned incandescent bulbs give off most of their energy as heat. Instead, choose LEDs with a warm white or soft white to mimic the incandescent light you may be accustomed to. Bright white is similar to daylight.
  2. Starve your home’s “energy vampires”: Just switching appliances and electronics to the “off” setting doesn’t mean they’re really no longer using energy. Today’s devices can be “always on” unless they’re completely unplugged. Your microwave has a clock, for example, so it is always using a bit of energy. Over time these bits can add up. Make “unplugging” easier by using a power strip where you can switch off/on multiple items simultaneously.
  3. Fill your home with Energy Star appliances/equipment: Look for the Energy Star label to identify products that meet their tough standards. Energystar.gov lists what to look for when buying energy-efficient products in almost any category–for example, energy-efficient refrigerators with top-mounted freezers.
  4. Seal your envelope: Caulk or otherwise plug up areas of air leakage, such as around plumbing pipes or electrical outlets. Add weatherstripping around doors and windows that don’t fit tightly. Insulate your attic or basement. This will help you keep your indoor temperature at the desired level without wasting energy.
  5. Save water and energy: When you can, opt for a cold-water laundry wash and set your washer for a small load when applicable to conserve. Consider installing low flow faucet aerators and shower heads. If you have a storage tank water heater, lower the temperature to save energy and avoid scalding accidents. Make sure the storage tank is insulated, too.
  6. Dial back your thermostat: Use fans in summer and experiment with setting your thermostat a few degrees higher. Installing a smart thermostat makes saving energy simpler. The thermostat can automatically let the indoor winter temperature fall when your family is sleeping, and turn on the AC in summer just before you arrive home. Consider installing a zoned home comfort system, so that you can use the HVAC only in occupied areas of the home.
  7. Get annual HVAC tune-ups: Annual professional maintenance of your home’s furnace and AC ensures that the systems run at high levels of efficiency. This also helps your system last longer, delaying replacement costs. Change air filters often, so that your system doesn’t have to work so hard (pushing conditioned air through a clogged filter) to heat or cool your house.
  8. Inspect your duct system: Your ductwork may be leaking a significant amount of conditioned air, before it gets to your home’s living areas, and duct sealing can help eliminate these leaks and reduce energy waste.
  9. Go solar: Depending upon the amount of roof area you have and its sun exposure, you could save money on electricity, while using less fossil fuels. Consult a solar contractor to determine how much energy your home could generate.
  10. Schedule a professional home energy audit: A certified auditor can assess your home’s energy usage and identify areas of waste. You’ll receive a prioritized list of fixes to improve energy efficiency in your house.

How to “Build In” Energy Efficiency from the Start

An expert builder can recommend and include energy-saving features in your new custom home or incorporate green elements into your remodel. At Miller’s Residential Creations, we are skilled in building sustainable custom homes and adding energy-efficient attributes to your existing home during renovation. Contact us for a free consultation to discuss your new build, home addition or remodel today.

Brian Miller is the owner of Miller's Residential Creations, a custom home builder and remodeling company servicing Berkeley, Jefferson and Morgan Counties of West Virginia since 2004.
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