Construction in the 2020s has heavily incorporated energy efficiency into new projects. Homes have continually seen dramatic improvements in reducing their energy use as new technology has come into the new home market. From improvements for retaining heat in the winter to the use of energy-efficient lighting, you can have your existing home saving energy just like new construction in no time at all. Here are four of the best changes you can make right away for high energy efficiency and savings.
LED lights are the single biggest savings that can be realized when weighed against the cost of installing them. Very likely you’ve started changing out many of your current lights to LEDs but if you have others you’re waiting for to go out, stop waiting. New home builds are an average of 17% more efficient in energy use due to building code updates. Continuing to use a non-LED light can easily cost more than the cost of its LED replacement.
It’s safe to say that LED lights have been a massive change for the better. Rated to last as long as 15 years and consume only 10%-15% of the energy of traditional bulbs, there isn’t one single good reason to have an incandescent bulb left anywhere on the planet. Expect a very large decrease in your power bill right away after swapping to LEDs.
Currently, just 1.8% of total electrical generation in the U.S. is accounted for by solar energy. That number is growing rapidly. With the large jump in natural gas prices in 2021, solar has become the least expensive power source. Power companies are procuring solar from large solar farms for under $0.02 per kWh.
With solar prices falling so rapidly, while solar panel tech is becoming even more efficient, it might be reasonable to start planning for a time when those power companies aren’t needed. The economics of solar can change dramatically based on your local power rates. If you’re in an area with high power rates, check out solar now.
You most likely still have all of the original glass that came with your home. Windows tend to last unless they come into contact with their only natural predator, kids with baseballs. Unfortunately, this also means that your windows might not be Energy Star rated. Energy Star windows can result in average annual cost savings between $126 and $465. Replacing those old, single-pane windows will result in the highest cost savings, easily hitting that $465 mark.
Heating / Cooling
One of the biggest energy savers for a reasonable cost is a smart thermostat. Simply being able to control the temperature in your home from your smartphone can result in savings. Forget to turn off the air before going on vacation? No problem. If you’re toasty in bed, you might even find yourself saying, “Alexa, Turn the heat down to 67.”
Supplementing cooling with inexpensive ceiling fans can result in extensive savings. Any fan will draw far less electricity than an A/C unit. Inexpensive indoor evaporative coolers can be a great way to cool a room. One new trend for those that move to solar is to replace gas heating systems with electric baseboard heaters. Think, “free heat”.
Even small and inexpensive improvements like swapping light bulbs or installing a new thermostat can make a massive difference in energy usage. Big changes like going solar can make the power company a much smaller part of your life. If your home is over a decade old, a quick walk around the house will likely reveal some simple changes worth big savings.