Making a Home More Energy Efficient

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Savvy home buyers will take into consideration the total cost of home ownership, when choosing what to buy. They must consider things such as local property taxes, home association fees, maintenance costs and energy costs. One aspect that is often very controllable is energy efficiency.  Electricity, heating and cooling costs can be lowered with wise architectural and landscaping decisions, but also with cost-effective retrofits.  Here are a few tips to increase energy efficiency.

  • Use Solar Panels

Solar panels will pay for themselves in energy savings.  Extra energy can be sold on the municipal grid and will balance out the times that the home uses more energy than it produces.  If you are a buyer, you can see this as a savings that is as good as a lower monthly mortgage payment.

  • Install a Programmable Thermostat

Much heating and cooling energy can be saved by adjusting the home’s thermostat to adjust for the season, time of day and outside ambient air temperature.  For example, in the winter, many people lower the home’s temperature at night, when they are nestled all snug in their beds. Or when they are on a trip, they raise or lower the temperature of the home, because no one is around to be bothered by a room too warm or cool.  Newer thermostats can be programmed and even managed from the internet, via a smartphone application.

  • Make Use of Shade

Windows are a big source of temperature gain or loss in a home.  They are thinner than walls and tend to lose heat to the air in the winter.  Sunlight’s solar radiation is made up of both light and heat energy. When light hits a window, some of that light is slowed down and changes from short wave light energy to slow wave heat energy, which heats up a home. This is good when it is cold out, but bad when it is hot.  Installing window shades, which can be opened and closed, to block or let in light can save hundreds of dollars per year.  SelectBlinds has many good choices, including electronically controlled blinds.

  • Install an Instant Hot Water Heater

Old style large hot water heaters are very energy inefficient. They spend most of their energy keeping water hot that may not be used for hours. They are also very annoying when they run out of hot water. Both of these problems are solved by using an instant hot water system. Water is quickly heated on demand, saving a tremendous amount of electricity.

  • Use LED Lighting

The cost of LED bulbs has dramatically dropped over the past few years, by as much as 75% for some styles.  LED bulbs use 1/10th of the power of regular bulbs and last much longer. Switching out incandescent lights with LED’s will pay for itself quickly and continue to give savings for years to come.

If you are a home seller, adding such energy efficient features to your home will raise its value to the home buyer. It will help you get a better price. If you are a prospective buyer, look for such features to choose a home that will have a lower total cost of ownership. You will get a better value for your money. And for home owners, follow these tips and you watch the savings add up, as you will save money year after year.

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