There are many reasons to make a home more energy efficient. It is the socially responsible thing to do, as scientists across the world continue to warn of the dangers of unfettered energy use. It is also financially responsible, since energy bills can constitute a large hit to a monthly budget, especially during the height of either winter or summer. Taking even small steps to curb that energy usage can have a big impact. Below are some of the updates that will provide the most savings.
Double Pane Windows
Old windows leak both heat and air conditioning, essentially leaking money. While an upgrade is a fairly large initial investment, it is one that will pay for itself many times over. Not only that, but double pane windows more effectively block traffic noise and raise the overall value of the home, making it a smart long-term investment. For homeowners on a tighter budget, energy efficient window treatments can also provide some of the same benefits at a reduced cost.
Another huge source of temperature leakage is an older roof. In summer, roofs can soak up heat and radiate it down towards the home, and in winter the heat you want can escape through any cracks or faults. If your roof is older, roof replacement can help reduce your overall energy usage.
When selecting roofing material, asphalt shingles often do not rate well in regards to energy efficiency. Tiles, metal roofs, and materials treated with special reflective coating all perform better. Insulation is also key, providing savings from the inside out.
Energy Efficient Light Bulbs
One of the least costly upgrades, new light bulbs, is also one of the most immediately effective. LED bulbs are the clear winner in the energy wars. While a little more expensive than their less efficient cousins, the incandescent bulb, they very quickly result in lowered monthly bills. Moreover, not only do LEDs consume less electricity, but they also last years longer than incandescents, making that investment more than worth it.
New Air Conditioner
An energy-efficient air conditioner is particularly necessary in warm climates, but will result in savings just about anywhere in the country. This is an upgrade that can save you money at tax time as well—certain units qualify for a federal HVAC tax credit, which starts the savings in April before the really hot weather even rolls around.
Choosing to do an energy makeover has long lasting benefits to the wallet, the home's value, and the planet. Nor is it difficult to do. Light bulbs, roofs, AC units, and windows all need replacing eventually anyway—choosing energy efficient replacements is just common sense.