With prices going up on goods and services across the board, you might be looking for ways to lower your household expenses. Now is a great time to think about making some home improvements so you can save money on your utility bills throughout the year. With approximately 13% of greenhouse gas emissions coming directly from buildings due to heating, cooling, and cooking needs, here are a few ways to both save money on energy and reduce your carbon footprint this year.
Get a Free Home Energy Assessment. An energy audit completed by a professional is a great first step to help benchmark where your home stands in terms of energy efficiency, and will give you a better sense of what actions you can take to help improve your home’s energy performance.
Weatherize Your Home. You can do this by sealing any noticeable cracks, particularly around leaky doors and windows. Caulking these areas and weatherstripping can help air-seal troublesome spots in your house. For low- or moderate-income customers, you also might be eligible for the Weatherization Assistance Program to help offset costs.
Add Insulation. After you take steps to air-seal your home, adding insulation to your attic, basement, and walls can go a long way for saving money on electricity – the insulation helps keep the heat inside your house, also making your home more comfortable.
Make Window Improvements. Even if you don’t have the upfront cash to upgrade your windows at the moment, less expensive options include caulking, weatherstripping, and adding thicker window coverings to keep you warm during the winter.
Reduce Phantom Loads. Phantom loads include electricity being used by appliances or devices purely because they are plugged into the walls, even if the device is on standby mode or off. Consider getting a programmable smart power strip, or simply unplug your devices whenever they are not in use.
Check Your Water Heater Settings. Chances are you haven’t touched your water heater in years. Try lowering the temperature to reduce your energy use.
Take Advantage of Your Blinds. To best take advantage of the sun, let the natural light in during the day to help heat your house, but close your curtains at night to help lock the heat in.
Close Your Vents and Doors. For rooms you don’t use often, consider closing those vents and doors to help eliminate energy waste.
An NAHB Certified Green Professional (CGP) designation is a reliable way to identify builders, remodelers, manufacturers and other industry professionals who are committed to making your home green. To speak with a CGP-certified professional and learn more about the energy saving techniques for your home, visit www.ironsbc.com.
— By Joseph Irons, Irons Brothers Construction