Creating a home that uses less energy will ultimately be more comfortable, save you money on utility bills, and be better for the environment as technology continues to develop and become readily available, the cost of running a home should go down and money which is invested in energy saving products will pay dividends in the end.
Install a Smart Thermostat
This device controls the energy system in a house. It can be programmed to adjust settings for heating and hot water at different times and can be controlled remotely by a smart phone. It can give real time data on the energy being used, how long it takes to heat or cool the house, and when energy consumption is the highest. The smart phone can enable the user to adjust the heat up or down accordingly when leaving or returning home, allowing the house to be a comfortable temperature without consuming energy all day.
Insulating Water Pipes
Pipe insulation is another way to save energy. Pipe Insulation will keep heat from dissipating quickly which could also allow a lower setting on the water heater. Cold water pipes can be insulated to keep water from condensing which will lead to higher humidity levels. Higher humidity will make the temperature feel hotter than what it really is so this is a good way to create a more comfortable living area. All exposed water pipes in the crawl space and elsewhere should be insulated to help keep water from freezing.
Keep Filters Changed
Clean filters keep AC units and furnaces working at peak performance. The filters should be changed 3 or 4 times a year, more often if there are pets in the house. A furnace that isn't operate properly can also be a source of carbon monoxide. Keeping a furnace running efficiently will save money on both energy and health problems.
Replace Incandescent Light Bulbs
Replacing old fashioned incandescent lights with Compact fluorescent (CFL) bulbs can save approximately 70 percent of energy costs. LED bulbs are even more efficient and will outlast both types of bulbs for many years. They are now available in 3 way bulbs emitting either soft or warm lighting. They are also cool to the touch and some types feature a dimming mode.
Adding a layer of blown-in insulation in the attic will decrease heat loss through the ceiling. An alternative method is using 12 inch thick fiberglass batt insulation which will give an R value of 38. Don't compress the insulation or it decreases the R value. Also seal around light fixtures and ceiling fans. This will keep the furnace from cycling on as much, which saves a huge of amount of energy loss.
If the roofing needs replacing on the house, pick a lighter colour. Dark shingles will absorb more heat, making the house hotter meaning you are more likely to use fans or air conditioning in the Summer which uses more energy. There are also cool roofing shingles that help reflect the heat which will make a house more energy efficient. Solar shingles are also available which produce electrical energy for the home as well as functioning as shingles.
Replace Old Ceiling Fans
Update old ceiling fans with ones that have the energy star label. They put out more volume of air flow using less energy. Turn off any fans when no one is in the room. Fans cool people and not the air. The motors actually produce a small amount of heat, so running them when no one is in the room is a waste of energy.
Use Curtains Efficiently
During winter months, curtains should be open on windows where the sun comes in. This takes advantage of natural solar heat. They should be closed once the sun is no longer shining through that particular window. Windows that receive no sunlight should remain closed to help block off the cold air seeping through the windows. Close to 25 percent of energy loss is due to windows in a house.
Add a Porch
The addition of a porch at the entryway can help keep the weather outdoors. This keeps a draft from coming through every time someone enters or exits the house. It also adds value and attraction to a home. An enclosed front porch can also serve this purpose. This also keeps a lot of dirt and dust from entering the main part of the house.
Replacing a storage tank water heater with a tankless model can save a considerable amount of money each year. A water heater using a storage tank heats the same water over even when it's not being used so that it stays at a desired temperature. A tankless model just heats the water as its being used. For larger families that consume a lot of hot water, it is recommended that more than one tankless heater is installed.
There are several things that can be done to conserve water. Leaking taps should be fixed as they waste a large amount of water. Toilets can be replaced with a dual flush system. Only run a dishwasher or washer with full loads. Saving water will not just save money, it will help conserve a finite resource.
Replace Outdated Appliances
Refrigerators, cookers, washing machines, and dryers can all be updated to more energy efficient models. Older furnaces and air conditioners that are replaced with new ones will save a huge amount of energy. New models are much more efficient and will make a house more comfortable.
Using solar panels can create a large percentage of the energy use in a typical home. Net metering is available from most utility companies which lets power be stored in their system for later use.
Just about all energy saving products will save money over a several year period. An energy efficient home isn't just about saving energy though, it is also good for the environment. As technology continues to increase, there will be more energy saving devices on the market. Other new products might even produce energy.