Housing and energy-efficiency programs have been able to help save hundreds of billions of dollars in electricity costs. However, continued efforts are needed to stop the slow march of climate change. If you’re trying your best to help the environment, but want to do more, here are a few home upgrades you can make.

1. Install solar panels

Solar panels can help you save on electricity bills while conserving overall energy use. As reported in a recent New York Times article, tax credits for solar energy have been largely preserved in the most recent tax bill. This helps keep this climate-friendly innovation affordable. If you’re thinking about installing solar panels, consider hiring a professional to do it for you. Installing a solar panel costs most homeowners from around $9,865 to $15,241.

2. Use less hot water

Water-saving tips from the Department of Energy include easy things like installing water-efficient showerheads or fixing leaky faucets. If you have to wash only a few dishes, consider washing them by hand instead of running an entire load. You can also use less hot water by using the cold setting on your washing machine. While taking cold showers isn’t fun, you can take shorter ones by timing yourself and making your cleansing routine more efficient.

3. Insulate your home

It is possible to add insulation to your home after it’s been built. Some kinds of insulation allow nearly 30 percent of the air conditioning or heat in your home to escape. This is why having high-quality insulation is an important, long-term part of increasing the energy efficiency of your home.

You can hire a home energy auditor to see how much insulation you already have and which spots need extra help. You’ll need to find out what kind of insulation you already have, as well as how thick it is.

4. Use energy-efficient appliances

Energy-efficient appliances can be pricier than regular appliances, but the money you save will eventually add up. New smart thermostats track your family’s use of heating and air conditioning. They then adjust automatically to optimize your comfort. You can also get refrigerators, washing machine and dryers, dishwashers, ovens, and microwaves that are all energy-efficient.

To avoid spending a lot of money all at once, just look at what you could replace instead. Consuming and buying new products can be just as environmentally unsafe, so stick with your current appliances until fixing them is no longer an option.

5. Seal up windows

Getting good windows can reduce energy loss in your home by 30 percent to 50 percent. This can help if you’re not looking to insulate your home, but are still hoping to retain heat or air conditioning. Seal up the windows that are in the most heavily used areas of the home, since this project can be on the pricier side.

6. Nature-proof your home

Consider installing storm windows and doors, as these can help when the outside gets rough. Get your home inspected to identify any vulnerable spots, whether it’s a fragile window or an area prone to termites. Your location may also influence the kinds of disasters your home might be prone to, whether it’s fires, hurricanes, or earthquakes. Look at ways you can improve your home to enhance its longevity.

Studies show that in some places, making your home energy-efficient is a major way to bump up the value if you’re looking to sell or rent. Before you completely revamp your home, get an energy audit first. You might not to do an entire overhaul of your home—just focus on a few key areas. These efforts take time and money, so get a thorough evaluation before taking action.

Author: Neil Stawski


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