10 Ways to an Energy-Efficient Home

energy-efficient homeImproving your home’s energy efficiency will save you a lot of money, especially in the long run. The good news is that even one change can significantly boost energy savings and reduce utility costs. Here are some ways you can create a more energy-efficient home.

Check IRC & IECC Requirements

Before you take on any action toward remodeling your house, make sure that all future renovation works are IRC- (international residential code) and IECC- (international energy conservation code) compliant. As federal IRC requirements may differ from state to state, it is best to obtain valid information through your local municipal office.

Get a Professional Energy Audit

Knowing where your problem areas lie is the first step in taking on the challenge of upgrading your home to energy-efficiency practices. Contact a professional contractor, like Först Consulting Group, to perform an energy audit. Using specialized equipment like thermal imaging infrared technology and surface thermometers, the audit can locate hot and cool spots and detect air leaks, among other items.

Add Thermal Insulation

Insulation is the key to preventing air leaks and drafts and keeping your house warm and cozy in winter and cooler in summer. Unattended cracks, spaces or opening around windows and doors, especially in the attic and basement, can create constant airflow that results in more money being spend on energy for your heating and cooling system, thus increasing utility bills. Thermal insulation is the optimal choice.

Sealing off and placing thermal insulation in outer walls and the roof space can be the most cost-effective method to improving energy efficiency. Insulate plumbing and pipes as well. This can minimize hot water costs and prevent pipes from freezing.

Replace Windows

Replacing older windows with energy-efficient models will not only increase heating and cooling performance, they will also insulate against noise. Performance-driven windows are created to stop heat from passing through the glass while also preventing air from leading around the window frames. Pay attention to the U-value of the window when purchasing new windows. U-value measures how easily heat can pass through the windows, so the lower the U-value, the higher quality the window.

Install a Storm Door

The extra layer of protection a storm door adds can impact your energy costs. Storm doors with protective coating or low-emissivity glass can reduce energy loss by up to 50%, states the U.S. Department of Energy.

Switch to Fluorescent Light Bulbs

Save lots of energy by replacing standard light bulbs with fluorescent ones. Although fluorescent bulbs can cost more, they last significantly longer (8 to 12 times). If you plan to set up holiday lighting, use LED lights as they can last up 25 times longer than average lighting decorations.

Lower the Thermostat

Lowering the temperature by just three to five degrees can make an impact on your utility bills, and lowering it by 10-15 degrees can save between 5% and 15% annually. Utilize a programmable thermostat.

Get Regular Maintenance

Regular tune-ups on your heating and cooling system will ensure it runs to its peak efficiency.

Unplug

Appliances and chargers that are plugged in but not in use still use energy, and can result in 10% of your energy bill. Unplug anything you are not currently using.

Use Décor and Appliances

Hang curtain panels and lay rugs to retain heat and make your house warmer. Look for Energy Star products that meet Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) standards. They can use between 10 and 50% less energy and aid in reduction of greenhouse gases. Energy Star products include refrigerators, stoves, washers, dryers, air conditioners, televisions, etc.

Transforming your house into an energy-efficient home is one of the best ways for homeowners to save money, especially in the long run. By incorporating energy-efficient practices into your home, you create a viable option for cutting utility costs, including heating and electricity, and creating an environmentally-friendly, sustainable solution for living comfortably.

Call Först Consulting for an Energy-Efficiency Audit

If you are considering an energy-efficient makeover of your household and are located in Northern Virginia or Washington, D.C., let Först Consulting Group do an overall energy audit to see where problems may be occurring in your home now. Contact us today.

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