Tips for Energy Efficient Homes

The average household in the United States usually spends around $2,100 on their energy bills annually. This is based on the data from the U.S. Department of Energy. In the report released by Katherine Friedrich et. al. in 2009, many people have thought of ways on how to save energy by embracing energy-efficient programs. However, the energy savings produced by conventional methods only account between $0.016 and $0.033 per KWh.

The thing is everybody is responsible for their own energy consumption; thus, whether you are a homeowner, an entrepreneur, student, or if you simply live with your parents, you can still do simple things to reduce your energy consumption. This article will discuss the different ways of achieving an energy-efficient home.

Adapt Energy-Saving Habits

Adopting energy-saving habits is very important if you want to have an energy-efficient home. These energy-saving habits refer to the simple things that you do in your house that can help save electricity. Below are some of the energy-saving habits that you can adopt.

  • Unplug your appliances: Many people turn off their electricity and put them on the standby mode. Unfortunately, electrical devices on standby mode still consume 5% of electricity. So, instead of putting your devices on standby mode, make sure that you unplug your appliances from the outlet. You can save as much as $30 annually if you do this habit every day.
  • Control your heating: More than half of the money that you spend on your energy bills goes to heating your house. It is important to control your heating by installing a thermostat, programmer, and radiator valves to control the temperature in your room. It is also crucial to remember that lowering the thermostat setting by as much as one degree can save between $80 and $90 annually. According to the study conducted by the researchers from the School of Architecture in the University of Virginia, using smart sensors can greatly save around 6.8% of your annual energy bill. By installing smart heating controls, you can program your thermostat to automatically regulate how warm you want your home to be.
  • Use LED lights: Using LED lights does not only brighten homes, but it can also save a lot of energy. In fact, it is 80% more energy efficient than halogen and incandescent lamps combined.

Design an Energy-Efficient Home

 

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Image courtesy of Borys Bond at Wikimedia Commons.

An energy-efficient home has a passive solar design. If your house is designed properly, it can contribute to better heating, cooling as well as daylighting of any kind of building.  According to Judy Fosdick (2012), passive solar heating design involves the collection of solar energy by properly orienting the south windows, storage of energy in thermal mass materials like brick walls and concrete slabs, and the natural distribution of stored energy in living spaces by using radiation and natural convections.

Passive solar design does not cost a lot and it can be implemented during the construction or renovation of buildings. A properly designed house has fewer temperature fluctuations during the day, thus higher stability of thermal comfort resulting to a more energy efficient home.

Installing Rooftop Solar Panels

Installing rooftop solar panels allow you to harness the energy from the sun and convert it to electricity using small semiconductors. Also called photovoltaic cells, the energy harnessed from the sun fires the electrons in the semiconductors which produces direct current which will eventually be converted to alternate current. The electricity can then be saved for later use.

Rooftop solar panels cost approximately $3,000 KWh which already includes the installation charges. Although installing rooftop solar panels has a high initial cost, it can bring a lot of long-term benefits. According to the US Department of Energy, many households have saved between $44 and $187 monthly on their electric bills. Below are several ways that rooftop solar panels can help you save money.

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Image courtesy of CoCreatr at Flickr.
  • Solar incentives: Many states in the US provide strong tax breaks and incentives for homeowners installing solar energy panels; thus consumers do not only save money on their energy costs, but they also earn money from incentives. This policy has helped in lowering the total cost for solar power system installation making it a more viable option for many people.
  • Price of solar panels: It used to be that the price of installing rooftop solar panels was pretty high; however, recently the price has dropped down significantly. This made solar panels more accessible to many organizations and homeowners for a more sustainable source of energy while also saving money long-term.

There are many things that you can do to make your home energy efficient. You can drastically change your home to incorporate an energy-efficient design or you can simply adopt small changes at a time.