As more millennials turn their eyes toward buying their first home and current homeowners look for a way to reduce costs, many are finding that their homes need an energy upgrade. Repairing or replacing simple items can save money each year, according to Energy Saver. An annual energy audit will show you where your home is losing energy and indicate places where it can become more energy efficient home.
Energy Efficient Home
Few ways to upgrade your home to make it as energy efficient as possible.
* Update Windows:
Windows can be the biggest energy loss for your home. From simple repairs, such as weatherstripping, to installing low energy windows will increase your home’s efficiency. You can save between 12 to 33 percent annually from replacing older windows with low energy storm windows, as reported by Energy Saver.
* Conserve Water:
Water heating account’s for an average of eighteen percent of your energy bill. Changing from a traditional water heater to an energy efficient one will save you money in the long run. They tend to last longer than storage water heaters, as well. Consider getting an energy efficient heater the next time your existing water heater needs repairing.
* Cooling and Heating:
Cooling and heating your home are two of the biggest bills homeowners pay monthly. Using a heat pump for heating and air can significantly cut your utility bills down from what you are currently paying. A heat pump of a variable speed motor can save money due to less energy involved in running the unit. Along with a new heat pump, consider getting a programmable thermostat as well; you can control the temperature in your home during times you are away or are sleeping. This will also lower your energy bills.
* Change Light Bulbs:
Instead of using the incandescent light bulbs, switch to either compact fluorescent or LED bulbs to conserve energy. The next time you need to change out a light bulb, replace it with one of these. The initial cost of purchasing multiple bulbs may be a deterrent, but you will save money and energy over the long run.
* Replace Appliances and Home Electronics:
Many homes currently run on older appliances and electronics. When they start to break down, they can become energy suckers. You should consider upgrading them at that point. When you shop for new appliances and electronics, look at the yellow sticker placed on them to view their energy saver amounts. If you are looking to make repairs, see if there are energy efficient parts to replace the damaged ones.
You don’t have to buy new to upgrade your electronics. For example, if your current computer is already energy-efficient but lacks the connectivity you need, get a USB hub to add two or more ports and connect more peripherals to your device. Many times, improving or modifying your existing electronics, machines, or home fixtures rather than buying new ones is the best way to help the environment.
There are common ways in which energy can be lost in your homes, such as from drafts, water, heating and cooling, lighting, and appliances and home electronics. Upgrade the home to a more energy efficient one may require a higher upfront cost than you would like, but over time, the savings will more than makeup for the problems and bills you currently have.
How We’re Making Our Manufactured Home Energy Efficient
When we designed our manufactured home, we knew we wanted to make it as energy efficient as possible. We were able to make some energy-efficient choices in the building process such as upgrading the insulation and selecting thicker padding under the carpet and wood laminate to minimize heat loss. (Serious savings: our house remains a consistent temperature during the day and only drops about 4-6 degrees on a cold night.) But we didn’t stop there.
We also included a couple of solar tubes to increase the natural lighting in our den and guest bathroom. Because our floor plan has lots of double-paned windows as well, we literally don’t need to turn on the lights in our house until it gets dark outside.
During the design and planning phase of the home, we increased the number of recessed lights in the main living area and are currently replacing the incandescent bulbs with dimmable LED bulbs (that we got for FREE from our utility provider).
Another energy-saving upgrade we’ve recently made is purchasing Zap remote outlet switches. It allows us to turn on lights and items with a remote AND saves us up to 15% of the energy the item uses. We’ve programmed our living room and den lights to turn on with one click of a button.
* Appliances and Saving Water:
Our home came with an appliance package that we upgraded to a more energy efficient one, but it didn’t come with a washer or dryer. So, we did a lot of homework and selected a top-load, high-efficiency Maytag washer and dryer. The washer automatically determines how much water is needed to wash a load of clothes. We’ve noticed that it doesn’t take much water at all and only fills the drum about one-third of the way up. Our dryer also senses when the clothes are dry and turns off once it’s determined they’re dry. Important side notes: We purchased the Bravos 4.3 set and we love it. However, we had to read the directions first. The washer seems to work best using the detergent pods, like Gain Flings, since it’s a high-efficiency washer. Too much detergent and clothes will not rinse properly.
We switched out our shower heads to a Delta super-low-flow shower head that pumps 1.5 gallons of water out per minute but can be adjusted to 2.5 gallons per minute. I honestly can’t tell the difference and have been using the lower setting.
We’re in the process of finalizing our landscaping and have selected drought-tolerant plants. We are also putting together a rain barrel system that collects the small amount of rain we get to water a few plants by channeling our rain gutters to the barrels (for us, most of that water will be used by late spring so we won’t have a mosquito problem in the future). Our plot of land is also really small so we won’t be using much water anyway.
* In the Future:
Our ultimate goal is to include some solar panels in the future. We know we won’t be able to power all of our items off them, but even a little bit will be helpful. We find that between our computers and appliances, we often reach the second energy tier with our electric company. If the solar panels could keep us in tier one, that would be worth it.