The Top 7 Home Energy Efficiency Upgrades

by Tanya Mayer

It has never been a more vital time to address energy efficiency issues in your home. Not only will making improvements save money on your monthly bills, it will also reduce your carbon footprint at a time when our planet needs us to act. However small and simple some of the changes may seem, they add up to a significant amount of energy - and money - saved. Faced with the realities of global warming and a dark forecast for climate change, there is a growing focus on what we, as individuals, families, and households, can do. Let’s have a look at some advancements that will save you money and help save the planet as well.

1. Insulation

This is a good place to start when improving the energy efficiency of your home. Many of our properties suffer from chronically bad insulation - we are literally leaking energy out through the walls, windows, floors, and roof. Many new build homes are reasonably well insulated, but older properties usually require some serious attention. No matter what age your home is, it’s worth checking to see if you meet the required level of insulation for your local climate. Attics, basements, and windows are major trouble areas, so pay attention to those. Once you've got your home properly insulated, it will take less energy to heat, warm up more quickly, and stay warmer longer.

2. Smart Thermostat

A massive portion of the energy we waste in our homes is from the heating. It is very easy, particularly during the winter months, to leave the central heating on more than necessary. If you live in an area where the temperature drops below freezing, you may find yourself leaving the heating on when you are away from home to stop the pipes from freezing. A smart meter will help reduce the costs and waste usually associated with heating your house. It can be programmed to switch the heating on and off at specific times and can be programmed remotely so that the house can heat up before you arrive home. You can even switch off the heating from work if you've forgotten.

3. Water Heaters

We touched on smart thermostats before, but having a state of the art thermostat is largely pointless if your home has an old, unreliable, inefficient boiler. It may seem like a big purchase, but installing a modern boiler will bring huge savings in the long term. Newer models are made for efficiency - the heating elements use much less power to work effectively, they stay warmer longer, and they have much better insulation.

4. Alternative Energy

As the world focuses on climate change, many of us are looking to use alternative energy sources in our homes. Many new water heaters can make use of non-fossil fuels and solar, geothermal and hydrogen technology. Valve technology has now been designed to support alternative energy as well. 

5. Lighting

Energy-saving lightbulbs can knock up to a third off your energy bill. It's a simple switch, but one that makes total sense - they are just as bright, last much longer, and use far less energy than 'traditional' light bulbs. It’s worth updating your lighting fixtures and fittings as well - old ones can use more energy for no extra effect. Don't forget to keep your curtains or blinds open - natural light adds some natural warmth to the room, and best of all, it’s free!

6. Appliances

We use so much unnecessary energy via appliances. Switching to energy-efficient (known as Energy Star) appliances is an increasingly popular option. These appliances will save you money each year, so the return investment is almost guaranteed. You'll have peace of mind that you're helping the planet, too.

7. Water

There are small changes you can make to lessen your water usage, such as not running the tap while you shave or brush your teeth, and if you can bear to, flush the toilet less. Low-flow shower heads and faucets are really effective, and even better when used in conjunction with smart water meters. We also waste loads of water in our gardens, so simple measures, such as installing a rain barrel to catch rainfall, can help make the outdoors more efficient as well!

There are many small (and not so small) changes you can make to streamline the efficiency of your home. Take action now to keep your wallet and your planet happy!

About the Author

Tanya is a writer and a mother of two youngsters. She enjoys spending time with her husband and kids, reading books and cooking.