You don't have to be a die-hard environmentalist to see the benefits of implementing energy efficiency in the home. The application of green practices makes a great deal of sense, as far as reducing our reliance on diminishing resources, but it also has the potential to save us a fair bit of money. And who doesn't want to save some cash?
The actual amount an average householder can save, as a result of 'greening up' the home, depends on the level of change they are prepared to put in place. It's also dependent on the amount that they are prepared to spend, in order to achieve their desired goal. The unfortunate, and often off-putting, reality of energy saving initiatives is that one so often has to spend quite a bit of money in order to secure those long-term savings. But few would argue that it isn't money well spent.
The first simple, and relatively inexpensive, change should be to replace all lighting with low-energy fluorescent lamps. Although somewhat pricier to buy than their incandescent counterparts, they do use considerably less power and can last up to 15 times longer. And it has been estimated that each lamp can save over $30 in energy costs in its lifetime. Now, count how many fittings you could replace in your home, and calculate just how much money that could take off your electricity bill!
Everyone knows how insulation can help reduce heating and cooling costs, but many of our homes are woefully lacking in efficient measures. The benefits of having a well insulated building are many fold. Not only does effective insulation prevent heat loss, but it also helps produce a more consistent temperature balance by creating a uniform climate throughout a space. A well insulated house will also benefit from increased soundproofing, minimizing noise disturbance from outside, and even from other rooms within the same building. Insulating exposed pipes is a good idea, as it allows for water temperatures to remain consistent from source to outlet.
Not everybody wants to go to the expense of replacing all of their windows and doors, but these everyday features can be amongst the worst offenders when it comes to crimes against insulation. The US Department of Energy calculates that heat loss via windows alone, can account for up to 25% of the cost of the average household heating bill.
It is worth considering replacing any single-pane windows with high-performance, double-glazed units. These will help keep the heat in during the winter, and out during the summer. If fitting new windows is outside the realms of your current budget, you could always try using sealed, clear plastic sheeting, or even have storm windows fitted, to help reduce your heating costs. And check around all window sills and door frames, filling any gaps with a quality sealant to minimize those sneaky drafts.
If you do make energy efficient improvements to your home, you may be able to claim tax credits from the government. So, whether you have a serious green agenda, or are simply looking for ways to cut the costs of daily living, environmentally friendly solutions to improving your home's energy efficiency needn't cost the earth.
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