As building firms and contractors introduce new zero-energy homes, you’ll see eco-friendly properties popping up all over the country. If you’re on the lookout for a new home or you’re planning to relocate, choosing a zero-energy property could be a viable option.
Of course, the vast majority of properties aren’t built to a zero-energy specification. However, this doesn’t mean that you can’t improve their energy efficiency. If you want to reduce your carbon footprint, making minor changes to your current home can have a major impact.
If you want to make your home greener, take a look at these ten tips now:
1. Assess Your Energy Usage
Before you start making modifications to your home, take the time to assess your energy usage. Smart home meters, visual inspections, and building pressurization tests can be an effective way to do this.
Once you know how much power you’re using or how much energy it takes to keep your home comfortable, you’ll be able to set realistic energy efficiency goals. Furthermore, you’ll be able to address the areas that consume the most energy first and make meaningful changes to your carbon footprint.
2. Replace Your Windows
If you don’t already have double-glazing, it’s time to upgrade your windows to something more energy efficient. In fact, even homes with double-glazing can benefit from having new windows fitted. Triple-glazing is now becoming standard and the increased energy efficiency it offers can have a big impact on the carbon footprint of your property.
In addition to this, thermal coatings do a great job of keeping your home warm during the winter and cool during the summer or vice versa. When you can maintain a comfortable temperature this way, you’ll reduce your energy usage and your fuel bills, which will make your home much more energy-efficient.
3. Install Solar Panels
You’ll need some form of energy to power your home, but it doesn’t have to come from sources that damage the planet. A reputable solar panel company can help you to identify the right panels for your property and your usage levels. Once installed, you’ll have continuous access to renewable energy.
If you’re worried that your area doesn’t get enough sun to produce solar power, there’s no need to panic. Solar panels can use the sun’s rays to produce energy even when it’s overcast or dull outside. This means you can produce solar energy to power your home at any time of the year.
Remember – if you switch to solar panels doesn’t mean you have to be completely reliant on solar power. If you find that you need more energy than your panels can produce, you can supplement your energy resources by retaining your electric supply, for example. You’ll still significantly reduce your carbon footprint and reduce the amount you’re spending too.
4. Improve Your Insulation
If your home hasn’t been properly insulated, you’re going to be wasting a lot of energy. Similarly, if your home is fitted with poor quality insulation, there is going to be a significant amount of energy leakage. Not only does this increase your carbon footprint, but it can also have a considerable impact on your energy bills too.
Replacing your current insulation with a more effective option will instantly make your home more energy-efficient. It will retain heat or cool air better, depending on whether you’re using your heating system to keep your living space cozy or your air conditioning to keep your home comfortable.
As a result, you’ll be able to use both your heating and you’re A/C systems less frequently, which means your home will be much more energy-efficient. Additionally, when these systems are in use, you’ll be able to set them to different temperatures, which means they won’t be working as hard and will be using less energy.
5. Air Seal Your Property
When new homes are built with energy efficiency in mind, architects and builders factor air sealing into the design and construction of the building. If you want to make your home greener, you can take steps to air seal the existing structure. Even relatively small modifications, like putting weather stripping around windows and doors, will significantly reduce the energy that’s wasted.
Although preventing air leaks is an effective way to make your home more energy-efficient, it’s important to remember that every property needs adequate ventilation. To prevent problems with damp and mold, don’t cover any designated ventilation features unless you’ve talked to a professional first.
6. Use Eco-Friendly Materials to Decorate
When you’re updating your décor or rethinking your interior design, make energy efficiency a top priority. Environmentally friendly paints and finishes are now widely available, which means you can combine style with eco-friendly ideals when decorating your home.
Similarly, you can choose kitchen countertops, living room furniture, and bedroom wardrobes that are made to eco-friendly standards. If you prefer wooden furniture, for example, be sure to choose pieces that use wood from sustainable forests. Alternatively, if you like a contemporary style, scout out furniture that’s been created from recycled materials, like iron, steel, or concrete.
7. Choose Energy Efficiency Appliances
Most modern homes are filled with a range of appliances, such as washing machines, dishwashers, and refrigerators. Next time you need to replace one of these appliances, take the time to find a model that’s energy-efficient. Fortunately, this is easy to do.
As demand for more energy-efficient products increased, the ENERGY STAR program was introduced. Backed by the government, this is a scheme that allows consumers to determine how energy efficient a product is by looking at a simple rating. As the program applies universally, it’s easy to compare models from different manufacturers and determine which one is the most energy-efficient.
You’d be surprised at home much energy standard home appliances can use over a year, so choosing a more energy-efficient option goes a long way towards making your home greener. If you’re switching from older, less efficient appliances to newer, eco-friendly designs, you’ll be impressed by the reduced running costs they offer too!
8. Install Underfloor Heating
Heating systems tend to use large amounts of energy but switching to a different type of radiator or replacing your heating system can drastically reduce your carbon footprint. Underfloor heating typically distributes indoor heat more evenly, which means it can operate at a lower temperature. This minimizes the amount of energy it requires and allows you to make your home greener.
Furthermore, the lower operating temperature means it’s easier to use underfloor heating alongside newer, more energy-efficient heating methods. If you’re renovating your property or replacing an outdated system, low-temperature outputs, like heat pumps or solar thermal, can be a great option.
9. Use Low-Flow Fixtures
Most households across the U.S. waste an alarming amount of water every day. Leaving a tap running while you’re brushing your teeth, turning the shower on before you’re ready to get in, and using old fixtures and fittings contributes to the amount of water wasted and the amount of energy used.
Installing low-flow fixtures is a quick and low-cost way to make your home greener. While you’ll still get to enjoy a powerful shower and have functional fixtures, you’ll simply use less water. Low-flow showerheads, taps, and toilets are widely available and can be installed relatively easily. If you’re looking for an easy way to retrofit an older property to make it more energy-efficient, this should be at the top of your list.
If you want to save even more water, why not collect rainwater and use it to flush toilets, water your garden or fill your washing machine? There are simple systems that collect the rainwater that falls on your roof and repurposes it so that it doesn’t go to waste. By adding on to your property, you can significantly reduce the amount of water you use from your supplier and become far more eco-friendly.
10. Improve Heating Controls
Even if you’re not ready to replace your heating system, you can improve its energy efficiency by enhancing its controls. Traditionally, heating controls and thermostats were used to control the temperature in an entire property. While radiators can sometimes be individually controlled, the overall temperature is usually set via a central thermostat.
Modern systems enable you to set different temperatures in each room or in specific zones in your property. This means you can maintain a comfortable environment, without heating empty space or unused areas. By doing so, you’ll use less energy to maintain your property, thus you will make your home greener and more eco-friendly.
Enjoying a Greener Home
Making your home more energy-efficient doesn’t have to be a difficult or onerous task. In fact, you might actually enjoy trying to make your home greener and watching your energy consumption drop. By involving everyone in the family in your green revolution, you can achieve your goals more quickly and reduce your household’s carbon footprint in record time.
With so many ways to make your home greener, the only difficult part of making your property more energy-efficient is deciding where to start!