According to the U.S. Department of Energy, simple energy improvements can cut energy costs by over 40 percent in most affordable housing. Though it is best to consider energy saving techniques during the home’s design and construction process, there are still many adjustments you can make to your current home which improve the overall efficiency and reduce your energy bill.
Reduce your electric bill & keep your home cool with compact or tubular fluorescent lights. Energy Start reports that CLF’s use about 75 percent less energy and will last nearly 10 times longer than a traditional incandescent bulb. Though they are a bit more expensive than traditional bulbs, CLF’s save about $30 on energy costs and pay for themselves in just 6 months.
The greatest energy use generally comes the large house hold appliances such as refrigerators, washers and dryers, and dishwashers. Cut your related energy costs my more than a third by using appliances with the ENERGY STAR label. According to Energy star, Over the life of an ENERGY STAR qualified washer, you’ll save enough money in operating costs to pay for the matching dryer and save enough water to fill three backyard swimming pools. Energy efficient refrigerators use 20 percent less energy and can cut your energy bills by nearly $170 over the lifetime of your fridge. Energy efficient dishwashers use 31% less energy and 33% less water than conventional machines, saving you nearly $40 a year and and 2 gallons of water per cycle.
Energy-efficient, ENERGY STAR windows may be expensive than standard models but the energy savings are well worth it as they can cut your heating and cooling costs up to 30 percent. Energy Star reports savings up to $465 a year on energy bills when replacing single-pane windows and up to $111 a year over double-pane, clear glass replacement windows. Additionally, storm windows can reduce heat loss in the winter by up to 50 percent. Alternatively, windows with solar shade glass allow light in, deflect unwanted solar heat and blocks 95% of damaging UV rays which can cause fading.
According to the Smart Energy Living Alliance, an average home leaks 60% of its air every hour. This excess air leakage in homes can increase heating and cooling bills by 30 percent. While windows and doors contribute to air leakage, the biggest culprits are generally in the attic, crawl space, or basement.
Reducing air leakage typically costs less than $200 for the average home. Caulking, sealing, or weather stripping to plug air leaks can help save 10 percent or more on energy costs. Tightening up your home can lower your heating and cooling needs, enabling you to switch to a smaller-capacity HVAC system which uses less energy.
In addition to energy bills, you can also save thousands on maintenance costs down the road. Energy efficient homes have more control of moisture and temperature which reduces the movement of building materials, preventing drywall cracks and wall distortions. Moisture control also reduces condensation which can warp framing, windows and finish materials as well as cause mold.