A home that is eco-friendly can be any shade of green… or any other color. Adopting some of the products that are friendly to the environment as well as techniques to save energy can improve the quality of your indoor air while lowering your energy bills and helping the environment. Where do you start, though? Here is a quick look at some of the things that you can do to make your home more energy efficient.
Start with the Energy Itself
If you live in Alberta, Canada, you have the option of choosing who your energy provider will be. This is great because it means that providers will compete to get your business by having lower rates. But, did you know that some of these energy providers also offer green energy? That means that right off the bat, you can find the best rates and make your home more energy efficient by choosing to go with a provider of green energy.
It doesn’t matter if you choose a great set of drapes to frame your window or if you opt for a quaint awning over that picture window, windows are often dressed more for looks than for function. However, with the right material and the right placement, window treatments can actually make your home more energy efficient and lower your energy bills. The impact on your bills can be quite significant too. If you get something like drapes in a medium color that have a white plastic backing, this can reduce the solar heat gain in your home by up to 33% according to the US Department of Energy.
More About Windows
Windows can be a major source of heat loss in your home. If you have aluminum frames, consider replacing them. Window frames that are made from aluminum allow the heat to transfer with ease. Frames made from vinyl are incredibly more resistant to the transfer of heat. Are your windows single paned? Opt for windows with multiple panes. Double or even triple paned windows that are filled with argon gas are amazing at keeping the heat in and making sure that the cold stays out (and vice versa). This is not just because of the multiple panes, either. The argon gas that is between the panes is actually quite an effective insulator. You might also think about getting the windows tinted. While you might not think that this is very attractive, you might be surprised at how much heat and cold the tint can keep out of your home.
Another way to make your home more energy efficient is to ensure that your attic and walls are properly insulated. Insulation that is effective will slow the rate of the heat flowing out of your home in the colder winter months and into the home in the hot summer months. This means that it takes less energy to heat and cool your home. If the home is not insulated or if there are significant cavities, getting insulation that is blown in can drastically improve your levels of comfort while saving enough energy so that it is cost effective. Also, if you have an unfinished attic, it can pay you to upgrade the insulation.
No article about energy efficiency in the home would ever be complete without talking at least a bit about appliances. Older appliances can be very not energy efficient. If you have older appliances, replace them with newer, more energy efficient models. Make sure that they are Energy Star certified. This can go far when it comes to saving you on your energy usage and lowering those energy bills. When it comes time to replace the appliances in the kitchen, your washer and dryer, a water heater, or a furnace, research all of the various models and all of their features so that you will have a good idea of which ones will be the most energy efficient for how you will be using them. For example, consider an on demand, high efficiency water heater. This type will only heat the water when you need it. It will heat the water quickly and then turn off, thereby saving energy.