Energy Saving Tips to Make Your New Home Efficient and Green
Moving into a new home is a big expense, and the last thing you want to do is waste money every day on poor energy efficiency.
Just after you’ve moved in is the ideal time to focus on your home energy saving by incorporating small projects into your decorating or more complex ideas into renovation work. To help you get started, here are a few energy saving tips suitable for all budgets.
Small Changes For Home Energy Savings
Hang a clothesline
Reduce your energy bills by hanging a clothesline soon after you move in. If your home has a backyard, check if clotheslines are allowed outdoors in your neighbourhood. Otherwise, other options include your garage, carport, or laundry room — these are also good choices for drying clothes during wet weather. However, keep in mind, that if you're drying clothes in an enclosed area, the room should be well-ventilated.
Switch your light bulbs
Replace all the incandescent light bulbs in your home with Compact Fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) or light-emitting diodes (LEDs). Find out how much you will save by using this monthly savings calculator.
Clean the air filters
During the initial clean of your home, remember the air filters in your furnace and AC system. Include the task in your cleaning calendar once a month to ensure the system always runs at optimal performance.
Add some rugs
If you have wood floors, cover them with a few large area rugs. The area rugs act as additional insulation, which could result in an energy savings of between 4 and 6 percent.
Change the layout of your kitchen
Moving the refrigerator can have a surprisingly significant impact on home energy saving. Placing the refrigerator in a shady spot will mean it won't have to work so hard to cool the inside. Also, keep your refrigerator at least 7.6 centimetres from the wall, which will optimize airflow, and make the unit operate more efficiently.
Improve air quality the natural way
Incorporate plenty of houseplants in your interior design. This is a better way to improve air quality than an air purifier. In addition to removing CO2 from your air, recent studies conducted by NASA and several universities, indicate that plants can also assist in filtering out Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC's) as well as many other air contaminants. Plus, it will make your home look and smell great! Check out this post for 17 Amazing Houseplants that Clean the Air.
In most of the country, there are no restrictions on harvesting rainwater to use in your home and yard. However, rules and restrictions may apply, depending on your province. Install a system to collect rainwater runoff from roofs that would otherwise be wasted. This water can be used to water plants in your gardens, or even provide water for flushing toilets.
Midsize Projects To Save Energy at Home
Upgrade to energy-efficient appliances
If your new home has old, inefficient appliances, it may be worth the investment to replace them with new equipment. You can decide if it’s the right time by considering the ages of the appliances. Typical life spans are as follows:
- Refrigerator - 13 years
- Freezer - 11 years
- Dishwasher - 9 years
- Washer - 10 years
- Dryer - 13 years
- Kitchen range and gas oven - 15 years
To find appliances that use the least energy, look out for the ENERGY STAR® label. When you buy ENERGY STAR certified, you can receive a cash rebate of up to 1 percent the cost on your mortgage. Find out more about this program along with other national home financing programs here.
Regulate your home temperature
Blinds and drapes can insulate your home your home in the winter and prevent the sun from heating it up in the summer. Outdoors, planting trees and shrubs in sunny spots can create shade on your home. Both methods will reduce your reliance on your heating and cooling systems.
Install ceiling fans
If you’re looking for a cost-effective way to stay cool in the summer, use ceiling fans, which use about the same amount of electricity as a light bulb. Ceiling fans will maximize the efforts of your air conditioning unit by circulating air, and in some cases, they might be enough to keep your home cool and you may not even have to use your full AC system.
Also consider that an AC unit is designed to cool every room in your home, which may only be necessary at night. If you spend most of your time in one room during that day, taking the steps to cool that room will cost much less than cooling the entire home.
Want to stay warmer in winter? Ceiling fans can help with that as well. Simply switch the direction of your fan blades and you'll be circulating warm air around your home all winter long.
Switch to a programmable thermostat
If you want to come home to a comfortable temperature, a better option to leaving heat on all day is to program your thermostat to turn on shortly before you arrive. This may mean changing the current thermostat to a more modern model in your new home. The latest technology even allows you to control the temperature remotely.
Install motion detector lights
Instead of leaving lights on outside all day for your arrival home in the evening, switch to motion detector lighting. This will turn on automatically when anyone approaches your home after dark, saving energy while retaining safety.
Fix water leaks
A single leaky faucet may cost you an extra 182 litres of water per week, and usually all it requires to fix is a change of washer in a connection point in the faucet. Leaky toilets require slightly more work, but you’ll save a massive amount of water - around 757 litres of water per day - if you're able to stop it from slowing running all day.
Major Renovations to Improve Home Energy Savings
One of the top energy saving tips is to focus on the insulation of your home. Adding extra insulation or caulking where there are cracks or small openings throughout your home will keep outside air from seeping into your home. Check for air leaks in ducts, in the attic, and around windows, doors, and fireplace dampers.
One of the most cost-effective and easy-to-use types of insulation is foam insulation. If the cracks you’re filling are small, foam insulation is something you can do yourself. First, visit your local building supply company, such as the Home Depot, RONA and Lowes for foam to inject into your walls. If you need to spray foam entire walls or ceilings, it’s a good idea to hire a professional.
Replace Old Windows
Older, single-pane windows are notoriously poor in providing insulation for your home. Typically, you can lose between 20 to 30% of your energy through your windows. Replacing your old windows can save you up to $465 per year.
You will want to replace any outdated windows with energy-efficient panes — like appliances, the most efficient products are those with the ENERGY STAR label. If you already have double-pane windows, check for condensation between the panes. This suggests a seal is broken and the windows are no longer functioning properly to insulate your home.
Use green building materials
If you’re planning a large renovation that will require lumber, you can save money from the start and limit your impact on the environment by opting for green building materials. Materials such as recycled lumber can be used in many places in your home, either on feature walls, or in other unique ways.
Your flooring is another area where green building materials can come into play. Renovate rather than replace wood floors, doors, and furniture and choose recycled materials like glass, aluminum, tile, lumber, and plastic. If you must replace a floor, bamboo is a top “green” choice, as it is both strong and fast-growing, making it a more easily renewable resource.
Upgrade your bathroom
Save up to 30 percent of your indoor water use by changing to a low-flow toilet and around 160,000 litres per year with a low-flow shower head.
Energy efficient toilets, in particular, Water Sense toilets, can end up saving over 15,000 gallons of water per year. Think of your current water bills and imagine how much you could be saving!
Install solar panels
Many areas of the country are ideal for solar panels. If your new home is suitable, consider this investment — it may initially seem expensive, but the payoffs are huge. You may be able to rely on your own solar-power generated electricity to power your entire home and still have some left over, which you can sell to your local utility company or government.
Storage During a Home Renovation
Large renovations are particularly difficult if you’ve already moved all your belongings into your new home. Stagger the moving process by utilizing portable storage container for some of your items, which will give you the freedom to adapt your home without the risk of damaging your possessions.