There are many improvements that can be done to create an energy efficient home. While most are cheaper to do during the design and construction phase of the home, many can be accomplished once the home is already built as well. Understanding where homes can be the most energy inefficient is the key to finding spots for improvement.
Most climate controlled air is lost in one of two places, either around openings or through the top of the house. Naturally, these are the places where improvements will be most effective in creating an energy efficient home. Focusing on the attic, doors and windows will help keep heat and air conditioning in and thus keep electricity and natural gas bills down.
The energy efficient home starts with the proper insulation. The attic could be responsible for as much as 45 percent of the heat loss in a home and represents the biggest single source of heat loss. Starting with the proper insulation will help. For those who are thinking about insulating, there are a number of tools that can help determine the type of insulation and thickness needed. In many cases, this may depend on your latitude.
Windows are another energy drain. An energy efficient home must have proper windows installed to realize its full potential. Nearly every window will cause some air leakage. That is to be assumed. However, the pleasure of the window is usually a tradeoff for the additional costs it creates. Still, there are ways to cut down on how much windows drain out of a budget.
Homes with windows 20 years or older are using outdated technology that can significantly hinder efforts to make an energy efficient home. Substantial improvements in both aluminum and vinyl windows have been made in the past couple of decades. Replacing the windows should yield immediate results with lower energy bills. However, this is often an expensive proposition that many homeowners use only as a last resort. Still, saving up for such a project or taking out a home equity loan may be a wise choice in the long run.
Doors are another area where there is a large amount of energy lost. While all homes need entries and exits, those interested in an energy efficient home will want to make sure all seals, on doors and on windows, are tight and working properly. Further, caulking around door and window frames also helps a house become more energy efficient.
There are numerous ways to save on electricity in an energy efficient home, some costly and some very affordable. If appliances are older, replacing them with newer models will help make for an energy efficient home. Changing light bulbs to compact fluorescent can also help save energy. A programmable thermostat can save money by keeping the temperature at a more energy efficient temperature during times when no one is home. Some may also consider installing motion detectors for light switches in some rooms.