Tips for superior energy efficiency of your home
The U.S. Energy Information Administration predicts that global energy consumption will increase by 48% by the year 2040. A 2015 global energy status report shows that the percentage of renewable energy growth had risen to approximately 19.1% of global energy consumption by 2013. That figure is expected to continue to rise. In 2014, 58.5% of the additions to the global energy efficiency capacity were renewables, including wind and solar power, raising that number to 22.8%. That number is expected to continue to rise. By 2015 164 countries had adopted renewable energy targets and 144 of them had put policies supporting renewable energy into place.
Despite continued progress, the fact remains that over 70% of the world’s energy consumption is still dependent on finite resources like oil and gas. As those resources are depleted, their prices continue to rise. Many local municipalities are setting and achieving higher energy sustainability goals. Their examples are helping to set national trends and form new government policies. To help citizens manage rising energy costs, some governments offer homeowners tax credits for energy conservation. Others have created and instituted government programs that provide information about how people can reduce their monthly energy costs.
Experts suggest that the first step in reducing monthly energy costs is to conduct an energy audit of your home. While many people have found the cost of a professional inspection to be a good investment, The Building Performance Institute, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping homeowners conserve energy has some great tips for performing a DIY energy audit. That audit can reveal a number of ways that you save both energy and money.
A lot of expensive energy in the form of heat can escape from a home through leaks. Plugging those leaks keeps warm air in and cold air that can needlessly overwork your heating system out. According to Kateri Callahan, president of the Alliance to Save Energy, approximately half of the homes in the U.S. are under-insulated. Adequate insulation is one of the best ways to control temperature.
Heating and cooling system ducts are another common source of leaks. Homeowners should inspect their ducts regularly and have a supply of duct sealant on hand to plug any leaks. Today’s HVAC systems are more energy-efficient than older models, and replacing an outdated system is also an investment that will provide an excellent return over time. It’s estimated that a programmable thermostat can save 10% on heating bills in winter and cooling bills in summer.
Windows are also a common source of energy leaks. Experts recommend wood windows rather than aluminum for maximum energy savings. However, wood is more expensive, and the same level of energy efficiency can be achieved by the less expensive method of adding storm windows to existing ones. Doors should be made of a solid material because air can penetrate a hollow door more easily. The area around the door should also be sealed properly to avoid drafts. Garage doors should also be properly insulated, especially in garages that are connected to the house or those that are frequently used for other purposes and where people enter and exit frequently.
It’s estimated that water heating uses from 15 to 25 percent of a home’s total energy usage. Having an energy efficient water heater in good repair is essential to lowering energy costs. Lighting costs also pose a significant amount of energy use. Fluorescent lighting is the most cost-effective, as they use 75% less energy and radiate 75% less heat. They also don’t have to be purchased as often since they can last up to ten times longer than regular bulbs. If you’re not a fan of fluorescent lighting, using Energy Star qualified light bulbs such as CDLs or LEDs to reduce your lighting costs.
Solar panels are another increasingly common investment that homeowners are making to conserve energy. Many homeowners who have installed them have reported reductions in their usage of electricity of of up to 50% Another exciting new technological development in home energy conservation is the Tesla powerwall. Perhaps every new home of the future will have one, but until then, following these tips can help you reduce your energy costs right now.