If there’s one buzzword on everyone’s lips these days, no matter what industry you’re in, it’s “green.” Sometimes, it can refer to the ingredients in a cleaning product, but other times, like in the term “green building,” it can actually refer to a more energy efficient home.
Sometimes, taking on a large-scale renovation project in order to increase your home’s energy efficiency just isn’t possible. That doesn’t mean you can’t take smaller steps to improve your home’s energy efficiency, though. It can be much simpler and cost effective this way, and you can remain within your budget, too. Here are some energy efficient upgrade tips for your home.
Smart Home Upgrades
This is a large umbrella under which many energy efficient upgrades lie. More and more appliances are being designed to connect to the Internet of Things. If this term is new to you, it essentially means that appliances are becoming Wi-Fi enabled, which allows them to communicate with each other on the same network, or with an app on your phone. This can allow you to adjust your thermostat, your lights, preheat your oven, and more, while you’re out of the house, allowing you to make adjustments according to your schedule and needs. Here are a few examples.
There are several different upgrades you can make to your home’s lighting to improve energy efficiency. First of all, it’s important to ensure that all your incandescent light bulbs have been replaced with more energy efficient alternatives. There are two options that will create a lower energy output – compact fluorescent bulbs (sometimes called CFLs) and LEDs. While LEDs are generally more expensive upfront, they tend to last longer than CFLs, and don’t have mercury either, which is a concern should a CFL break.
In addition to choosing energy efficient light bulbs, replacing your regular light switches with dimmers can also increase your home’s energy efficiency. Not only will a light dimmer add ambiance, it gives you more freedom to control the amount of electricity your lights are using, when you turn them on.
Finally, upgrading to smart light fixtures, which can be programmed and controlled remotely, can go a long way in reducing your energy footprint. Imagine knowing you’re going to be coming home late and not having to keep your front porch light on all day? Setting the timer to come on shortly before you expect to arrive home is far more energy efficient.
Upgrading your washer and dryer to high efficiency and making certain all of your appliances are Energy Star rated to the latest specifications are both important steps to take, to ensure your home is more energy efficient. Again, many of these appliances can now be connected to a smart home device, from which you can centrally control your appliances to strategically run during the lowest energy consumption time of day. In fact, there are refrigerators that now have cameras inside of them, allowing you to see your fridge’s contents without having to open the door. Imagine how much more energy efficient it would be not to have a child standing in front of an open fridge for 10 minutes at a time!
Another great appliance you can upgrade to a smart device is your thermostat. When your thermostat is a smart device, it can actually learn from your behavior and adapt to anticipate your heating and cooling needs. This can result in optimized performance of your HVAC system, creating a more energy efficient home. Even beyond that optimized performance, there is often an energy efficiency option that you can choose to program your thermostat at, making this upgrade truly worth the investment.
Finally, insulation can play a major role in how energy efficient your home truly is. If your home is currently insulated with a traditional material such as fiberglass or cellulose, your home may be experiencing heat loss without you even realizing it. The average home’s small cracks and crevices where air is escaping can add up to the size of a basketball, when put together. That’s a lot of air leaking out of your home!
The coverage of traditional insulation can be compromised over time, creating gaps and potentially new places where conditioned air can come through, which, in turn, can lead to increased heating and cooling costs as your HVAC works harder to compensate. In addition, traditional insulation can be difficult to fit into hard-to-reach areas, preventing full coverage of the insulation.
In contrast, spray foam insulation like Icynene expands within seconds of application to fill any small gaps or crevices that may be present. This helps to create an effective air seal on your home, wherever it is applied, which helps to ease the load of your HVAC system. Because Icynene won’t degrade over time the some insulation can, it is guaranteed for the life of the house.
Talk to a licensed Icynene spray foam insulation contractor in your area, to find out more reasons why Icynene is the energy efficient choice for your home, or your project.