Summer is quickly approaching, and with it comes the inevitable sweltering heat and harsh sunlight. You may think that running your air conditioner all summer long is the quick and easy solution to keeping cool, but that's bound to make your energy bills skyrocket. Of course, if you have the budget, there are a number of home improvement projects and renovations intended to improve both sustainability and efficiency when it comes to your home's HVAC system. Keep reading for ways to Lower Your Energy Costs With These 4 Smart and Sustainable Home Improvement Ideas
Here are just a few ways to Lower Your Energy Costs With These 4 Smart and Sustainable home improvement ideas
Lower Your Energy Costs With These 4 Smart and Sustainable Home Improvement Ideas
Most homeowners know to keep their windows closed when the air conditioning is on, but not many know just how much cool air can be lost through your home's windows, even if they're completely closed. It can be difficult to determine whether or not your windows truly need replaced, but if they're more than 10 to 15 years old, upgrading to a newer and more sustainable model can make a major difference in energy savings, not to mention the overall value of your home. Florida has the highest number of interior design firms in the U.S. (1,536), but regardless of where you live, don't hesitate to find a company that will take the time to help you explore all of your energy-saving and eco-friendly options.
If you don't have the budget to upgrade your home's windows, consider making a smaller but still impactful improvement by installing a storm door. Not only can storm doors protect you in the event of a weather emergency, but they're energy-efficient as well. This makes them beneficial for all homes, even those already equipped with energy-efficient front or side doors. Most importantly, they're relatively affordable considering their energy savings potential. It's typically best to get a storm door made of aluminum, one of the four most commonly used metals in the construction industry.
“Storm doors typically have low-emissivity glass or a protective coating that can help reduce energy loss by up to 50%, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Most storm doors last between 25 and 50 years and can cost as little as $75,” writes Dawn Jamison on Quicken Loans.
If you have the budget for a larger renovation project, ICF (Insulated Concrete Form) walls can yield significant energy savings. In fact, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, ICF walls can save homeowners 20% to 25% on annual heating and cooling costs. They're essentially hollow blocks made of foam-like material that are filled with a concrete mixture and installed around your home's foundation for extra insulation.
“When completed, ICF walls provide a solid monolithic structure. The material offers a variety of benefits for residential, commercial, medical, educational, and multistory construction. The continuous insulation, thermal mass of the concrete, and airtight envelope all combine to offer energy efficiency in warm and cold climates,” writes Murray Snider on ConstructionCanada.
As with storm doors, ICFs offer weather protection as well, but to a much higher degree. ICFs are fire-resistant and can withstand even tornadoes and hurricanes.
Finally, installing a programmable thermostat is the best way to truly optimize your home's energy use. No more blasting the air conditioner all day long just to make sure the house is cool when you come home from work; with a programmable thermostat, you can set the specific hours and temperature preferences for your home. This means you can turn your system off when you leave your home and make sure it's cold and refreshing when you return — definitely a worthwhile investment.
Ultimately, the U.S. is the second largest construction market in the world, with a market share of 10%, and there are countless home improvement projects that boost home energy efficiency. If you're still uncertain, don't hesitate to reach out to a professional to conduct a complete home energy audit.