it's favorable to all homeowners, and understanding what it is, and how to improve it, is the key to reaping the benefits. Simply speaking, an energy efficient home is one that reduces unnecessary energy consumption, and usually relates to the home's structure and heating and cooling capabilities.
The benefits of an energy efficient home are numerous and well-known. We spend so much of our time indoors, and it's important that our homes are at a comfortable temperature, with low humidity and rich air quality. An energy efficient home should help you to relax and feel your best in a pleasant environment.
Good quality air should also decrease humidity, reducing moisture issues such as mold and condensation. These can be tricky to resolve once they're present, and, if you're thinking of upping and selling anytime in the near future, might decrease the value of your property. Simply ensuring your home is energy efficient can greatly reduce the risk of these issues arising in the first place.
Air quality aside, the advantages of an energy efficient home go above and far beyond. Noe only can energy efficiency enable you to save money in the long run, it can also help to reduce fossil fuel use, decreasing greenhouse gas emissions. A house that is more energy efficient requires less artificial means of heating and cooling in the hotter and colder months.
On a global scale, collective energy efficiency is really important for looking after the overall state of the planet. By needlessly producing unnecessarily-high energy bills and carbon emissions, we're not only doing ourselves a disservice but the world we live in. The importance of sustainability cannot go ignored.
If all of this sounds appealing to you, and you're curious to know how to improve the energy efficiency of your own home, take a look at the points below:
Insulate, insulate, insulate
Insulation is usually carried out on a home to act as a heat barrier, preventing heat from leaving a house in the colder months, and equally stopping it from entering a building in the summer season. Typically, the materials used for home insulation are fiberglass and mineral wool, both of which are effective at preventing heat from passing through.
If your home is poorly insulated, or not insulated at all, the first step toward energy efficiency is to do something about it. You will most likely be shocked at how much energy your home has been wasting simply for the lack of insulation.
You should insulate the brick walls on the outside of your house, known as cavity walls, first and foremost, as heat can most easily escape through these. Insulating your home should see a decrease in your energy bills, and your individual carbon footprint will decrease by default.
Consider solar panels
There is arguably nothing more energy efficient than solar panels. They are advantageous on so many levels, of the fact that they create energy naturally, through absorbing sunlight. Switching to this natural energy source, which doesn't release carbon emissions through the burning of fossil fuels, is energy efficient in itself.
Many people are put off solar panels by their price, but once they're fitted, they offer an ideal permanent solution to a more energy efficient home. Their ability to warm up water in smaller sections reduces the cost of energy bills, on the whole, saving you money in the long run.
Once they're in place, solar panels should require very little maintenance. They do need to be kept clean, but this is something that should only be necessary once or twice a year. If you live in an area with not a lot of sunlight, don't worry- solar panels work in all daylight hours, even when it's cloudy.
Replace your old appliances
We've come a long way since the technology of ten years ago, and you'd be shocked to know just how energy-wasting some of your older electric appliances really are. If you've had a washing machine, refrigerator, television, oven, or anything of a similar nature for nearing-on ten years, it's high time to do a switch-up.
Your biggest appliances are always going to use up the most energy, but the newer models have been designed far more successfully with energy efficiency in mind. If you're considering purchasing a new appliance, but don't know much about how much energy it uses, look out for the EU Energy Label. You should find it on a product for sale, and it should provide useful information about the product's energy efficiency.
Save water in the shower
It's a well-known fact that showering wastes energy, and yet so many of us are still guilty of standing under the hot water for far longer than necessary. It may work out better for you to switch up your showers for baths every now and then. Equally, purchasing a water-saving shower head will cut down on your water loss, even if you don't shorten your shower time.
Consider energy-saving light bulbs
It's easy to forget about our light bulbs unless they're not working, but if you've had some for longer than you can remember, chances are, they're not very energy efficient compared to the ones on the market now. If that's the case, it may be time to consider switching to something a little more effective.
You might not think that something as small as a light bulb can really do much to improve your energy efficiency, but energy efficient bulbs can actually use up to 80% less energy than traditional bulbs. When you consider all the light bulbs in your house, and for how long you leave certain lights on, this really does all add up.
Energy efficient light bulbs do what they say on the tin: they reduce energy waste when they're in use. Because of this, they also last longer than traditional bulbs, making them a worthy investment. If you're after a specific size or brightness, there are plenty of varieties of energy efficient bulbs out there, so you should be able to find whatever it is you're after.
Select the ‘cold wash' option when you can
Understandably, sometimes, only a hot wash is going to cut it. But if you've got laundry that isn't necessarily dirty, but still requires washing, consider keeping the heat low. This means your washing machine doesn't have to work as hard during its wash cycle, reducing energy waste and helping to improve your overall home efficiency.
Double-glaze your windows
The difference double glazing can make to a home is quite astonishing. Not only does it act as an impressive sound barrier, muffling the noises of passing traffic and noisy weather, it is also incredibly effective at helping a home to retain its heat.
While double glazing can be an expensive investment, the accumulated saved costs on heating bills make it worth it in the long run. Heat can escape the easiest through windows, and double glazing prevents such a substantial loss, providing an effective means towards ultimate energy efficiency.
It may also help to replace your windows if they're old and leaky. Old windows are prone to letting air in in the same way that they would if they were open, meaning your artificial means of heating must work even harder to keep your home at an optimum temperature.
Install a smart thermostat
Sometimes, being able to keep track of your energy use is what it takes for you to take action to reduce it. Installing a thermostat that can tell you exactly how much energy is being used, and from what, can help you to see where you need to reduce energy loss the most. Over time, this should enable you to cut down on your energy bills- and improve your home efficiency at the same time.
The loft is often the forgotten part of the household. Many people make the mistake of believing that just because it's a relatively unused, rarely-visited location, insulating it is not important.
Actually, this isn't true. Heat rises, so it makes sense that when your heating comes on in the colder season, all the heat being produced inside your home will eventually rise towards the loft. If the loft is poorly insulated, or not insulated at all, heat will escape far more quickly and easily than if it had adequate insulation. Therefore, the heat is not trapped in the home, but released outside, resulting in poor energy efficiency.
Loft insulation is similar to general home insulation in the materials that are used for the job. Usually, unless you've had a loft conversion, the insulating materials will be lined along the underside of the roof and held in place by wood attached to the rafters. Many loft conversions will recommend insulation at the same time, and in this case, the insulation will be concealed between walls.
Check for leaky faucets
It might not sound like a big deal, but leaky faucets can actually result in a massive loss of energy, and an unnecessary water bill. If your faucets are leaking even just a little bit, consider fixing or replacing them. The cost of doing so will be minimal compared to what you'll be shelling out in the long run, and your home will be more energy efficient because of it.