In winter, you might expect to pay more for your energy bill. But if the difference is really noticeable, then perhaps it’s time to examine some home improvements that are more eco-friendly. Here are some ways you can become more energy efficient in the New Year.
Make the most of Nature
In winter, sunshine flooding into a cool room can warm it up. But in summer, the same amount of morning sun can turn the room into a sauna by noon. Allowing the sun to heat the room cuts your energy consumption in wintertime while adding an awning or retractable window treatment will keep the sun out during the summer months.
Redesign the landscaping around your home to create shade. Deciduous shade trees and vines act as sun and heat screens, reducing the amount of air conditioning you use in the summertime.
During the day, open curtains and blinds instead of turning on lamps and switching on lights.
Hallways that run from the front of the house to the back increase a home’s natural ventilation. The same goes for open-concept living spaces. Unimpeded airflow helps regulate the process of heating and cooling a home’s interior.
While airflow is important to moving hot and cool air around and through, you will want to stop air leakage. When air escapes from windows, doors, and vents, it’s not efficiently heating or cooling your home, increasing energy costs. Replace doors with eco-friendly options. Upgrade windows to ones with multiple panes. Seal vents and stop air escaping or entering from behind wall plates, switch covers and electrical panels.
If your home is 15 or more years old, it might be insulated only in certain parts of the house like the first floor but not the upstairs, basement or attic. Consider also insulating water pipes, ducts, and recessed areas. A fully insulated home keeps energy costs down and reduces environmental impact.
Replace old siding using eco-friendly materials with better insulating properties. Include house wrap or a weather barrier for added insulation.
Consult the professionals. An energy audit will alert you to the ways you and your home are currently consuming energy, and suggest methods and renovations that will help your home become more energy-efficient. Simple changes such as adding solar shingles to a roof and trimming back trees that block light or are potentially harmful to siding panels can significantly lower energy costs.