Increase the Energy Efficiency of Your Home
The idea of increasing the energy efficiency within our homes is either entirely overwhelming, or sounds like a whole lot of extra money that we may or may not have.
Suggestions floating around out there hint at an entire overhaul of our living space, but increasing the energy efficiency in our homes can be done in small, incremental steps that won’t break your schedule planner- or your wallet.
Okanagan residents are looking towards energy efficiency when building new homes, and new home builders are continually coming to the forefront with the Net Zero movement (internally link to blog) and advanced options (internally link to about us page) for energy efficiency in new Okanagan homes.
The development of energy driven programs such as the BC Step Code (internally or externally link depending on SEO ratio) speaks to the heightened concern of BC residents, governments and new home builders when it comes to the energy efficiency of Okanagan homes- both previously built and new construction.
New home and building developers in the Okanagan have adopted energy efficient processes within construction, but previously built homes can also benefit from minor to large adaptations to become more energy efficient.
And hey- this isn’t just for the planet either. Boosting the energy efficiency of your home can really add up to some savings each month for you.
We share some tips for new and experienced home owners to undertake, some big to consider for the future and some smaller to start right now.
Ten Ways to Become More Energy Efficient
#1- Cut the unnecessary water
(start now- save next month!) It’s estimated that the average family can save up to $170 per year by simply acknowledging their extra water use. A habit for some, leaving the water running while brushing your teeth or shaving can really add up to wasted water and dollars. Try cutting your shower time by two minutes, make your laundry loads a little fuller each time and don’t wash dishes one by one. What seems like normal water usage can easily be cut down to save you money per month.
#2- Change your lightbulbs
(start now- save next month!) Lightbulbs have come a long way. Seriously, they have- wattage requirements and actual energy used have decreased substantially over the years with developers producing lightbulbs that are 100% greener. Look for compact fluorescent bulbs, or light emitting diode bulbs that are up to 35% more energy efficient stand standard incandescent bulbs.
(CBS did a great piece on picking the right “green” lightbulb and kind of how they work.) – externally link
#3- Annual tune up on HVAC systems
(consult the budget, save each season) Not only would an annual check up on your heating and air conditioning systems keep your furnace in check- and saves you a bill of up to $8000 for a replacement. Having your systems running at peak efficiency instantly saves you money each month, but the annual check up and tweaks can cost you an average of $600 annually.
#4- Unplug chargers not in use
(start now- save next month!) This one surprised us too. Idle chargers use so much energy vs. what they are, that the industry calls them “energy vampires.” Energy.gov shares that an unplugged charger used 2.24 watts when connected a device, while idling chargers still use 0.26 watts. If you took a look around your home, you’d be surprised how many charging devices you actually have as a family unit.
#5- Consider a laptop over a desktop
(Save up for it, save each month)- It’s suggested that you replace your computer every four years, but you should consider taking it a little further. Compared to desktop computers, laptops use 80% less electricity and runs on a lot less energy than their counterparts. At max energy output, laptops use around 60 watts, while desktop computers can be expected to produce over double that wattage. Yes, laptops do come with a price tag, but the savings are great.
#6 Install a ceiling fan
(consider the budget, save daily) – Say goodbye to air conditioning and grab a ceiling fan. Almost. A ceiling fan only runs at about 30 watts and costs you a penny per hour. On the other hand, your window unit runs at an average of 1.2 kilowatts and costs you 14 cents an hour. Does your home have a central AC unit? You’re paying 36 cents an hour, as these run on an average of 3 kilowatts. The installation of a ceiling fan can cost you up to $100 a month- we aren’t kidding.
#7- Use cold water, not hot
(start now, save next month)- While we wouldn’t suggestion following this recommendation while showering, turning down the heat while you’re washing clothes and dishes can save you pretty big bucks. A washing machine spends 90% of its energy heating the water, while only 10% is actually used to run the machine. Cooler water- energy savings.
#8 Install a storm door
(consult the budget, save down the road) Adding a storm door to your home gives you an additional layer of protection from external factors all year round. These doors usually have a protective coating or low-emissivity glass that reduces energy loss by almost 50%. They’re long lasting too, with a shelf life of 35 years. These doors plus insulation can run you around $400.
#9 Insulate your attic
(save up for it, save monthly) Insulating your attic (a huge source of air leaks) drastically improves your home heating and cooling costs. By reducing the amount of air that leaks out of this naturally big crevice (typically known as “building envelopes”) you can expect to save money. At the pricier end, the average attic insulation runs around $1200.
#10 Fill in your air leaks
(save for it, save monthly) According to Energy.gov, air sealing (sometime as known as envelope sealing (link to blog article) ) is the biggest and most effective way to drastically boost the energy efficiency of your home. Typical areas for air sealing are the attic or around windows, but our homes are full of air leaks that can really mess with the heating and cooling of your home.
Well, how much you pay for it anyway.
Air sealing fills these holes and reduces the amount of wasted air going in and out of the house. Sometimes known as “building envelopes”, these areas of air leakage can be sealed with traditional methods or more effectively with more advanced air sealing technology.