Affordable Choices for a More Energy-Efficient Home

on March 31, 2017 at 5:26 PM

Energy-Efficient Home3Having an energy-efficient home is more affordable than ever before with new options continually being introduced in the market. The long-term benefits are positive not only for individual consumers, but also for the nation and the global environmental.

The following choices are not only affordable, but they are also an investment for the well-being of our planet.

Do an Energy Audit

The best place to begin is with a residential or commercial energy audit, also known as an energy assessment. Local utility companies or energy-related businesses sometimes help customers create a report showing how much energy their home or business consumes each year. With this information, the owners will be able to evaluate which measures can be taken to make the dwelling more energy efficient. This assessment will reveal problem areas that may, when corrected, save significant amounts of money over time.

When it comes to making any facility energy efficient, openings, such as doors and windows, are where energy, in the form of heating or cooling, is lost. Other places considered in the assessment include the amount of insulation in walls, floors, and roofs. Having a professional conduct this audit adds the benefit of receiving recommendations for improvement materials based on the client’s budget.

LED Bulbs

Switching to LED bulbs is a small change that really can make a significant difference. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, LED is a highly energy-efficient technology and has the potential to fundamentally change the future of lighting. Residential LEDs use at least 75 percent less energy and last 25 times longer than incandescent lighting.

By 2027, widespread use of LEDs could save about 348 terawatts (TWh) of electricity when compared to no LED use. This is the equivalent of an annual electrical output of 44 large electric power plants with 1000 megawatts each, and a total cost savings of more than $30 billion at today’s electricity prices.

Seal Air Leaks

Before buying Energy Star appliances, all of the air leaks identified in the home energy audit need to be addressed. These areas include the obvious ones such as doors and windows but also the not so obvious ones, such as energy lost through electrical outlets and light switch plates.

Caulking and weatherstripping are two effective air-sealing techniques that offer good return on investment. Caulk is used for cracks around doors and window frames, baseboards, and other energy-loss sites. Weatherstripping is used to seal parts of the home that move, such as doors and windows. The weatherstripping provides a cushion that seals the opening tightly and eliminates air leaks.

Another place often overlooked, but will be highlighted in the energy audit, is the area around pipes. Holes for pipes have to be made larger than the pipe itself, and this opening can be a place where outside air gets into the home. This area requires sealing, and the product used to make the seal needs to be checked periodically throughout the life of the home.

Add Solar Film to Your Windows

The cost of replacing windows can be high. A very affordable fix that not everyone is aware of, is the use of protective film on the windows. There are a variety of products available on the market today that are designed to prevent the home from heating up too much in the summer through excessive sunlight.

Homeowners can ask for a sample before purchasing the product, and they would do well to make sure that the window manufacturer will still honor the window warranty after the solar film is applied.

The color of the film and the amount of light a room will receive are things to consider also. Some homeowners do not like the mirrored appearance of the film, while others do not want to have to spend more money on artificial indoor lighting because the room is too dark.

Smart Thermostats Affect Global Warming

HVAC systems are constantly innovating, bringing more comfort to personal home space, but having a smart thermostat installed along with the system is sometimes overlooked.

Having a programmable thermostat to adjust the temperature in the home is a significant step towards greater energy efficiency. Knowing the estimated cost of heating and cooling and checking the thermostat setting on a regular basis is an excellent way to make needed adjustments. On some cool days, it will make sense just to put on a sweater instead of turning the heat up several degrees.

Having a larger home with several floors, a basement, a loft, or an added garage makes the idea of adding a second thermostat a popular one. The second setting can be adjusted lower or higher based on how often the room is used.

According to Energy Star, a programmable thermostat can save a homeowner about $180 each year.

Every adjustment a homeowner makes to the thermostat can affect global warming. When an air-conditioner or heating system is turned on, the planet gets a little warmer because of the increased use of non-renewable energy. Setting a thermostat to 68 degrees Fahrenheit in winter and 78 degrees Fahrenheit in summer provides comfort without using excess energy.

Add Insulation

How much it costs to insulate a home depends on many factors, including where the home is built. Real estate agents know that areas with cool summers and mild winters make it easier to insulate against weather and make home insulation less costly. In places where weather fluctuations are extreme, winters harsh, or summers very hot, the cost to insulate a home will naturally be higher.

Walls facing directions where the winds are strong need extra insulation, and places that receive a lot of rain and snow need to consider that fact when choosing insulation for attics, roofs, and floor boards.

Here’s a Home Insulation Cost Guide to help.

Cool Roof Technology Can Reduce Pollution

A cool roof is one designed to reflect, not absorb, energy from the sun.

Most of the roofs in the world, including over 90 percent of the roofs in the United States, are dark-colored. In the heat of the full sun, the surface of a black roof increases and can reach temperatures up to 190º degrees Fahrenheit. This increase in surface temperature can contribute to increased cooling energy use and higher utility bills.

This high heat can also cause excess wear and tear on roofing materials and increased roof maintenance costs.

Different products are available on the market today that give many choices to the homeowner, such as foam roof systems, metal roofing, and roof coatings among others. When considering a new or replacement roof, ask about the product rating before making a purchase. The Cool Roof Rating Council, created in 1998, offers methods for evaluating and labeling the solar reflectance and thermal emittance of roofing products.

Cool roofs provide a number of benefits beyond urban heat island mitigation, including reduced air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions by lowering energy use.


There are different ways you can reduce greenhouse emissions without giving up comfort at home. The first step is to decide what changes you are willing to make.



Investing in your home’s energy efficiency is beneficial for the homeowner and reducing the carbon footprint of any building has a long-term beneficial impact on the planet. These small but important changes pave the way to a more energy-efficient future for everyone. is a website where you can find home remodeling cost guides, comparisons and term cheatsheets for remodeling, installation and repair projects. It connects consumers with service professionals in their area and estimates the cost for home improvement projects.