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Published On: Mon, Dec 17th, 2018

Sustainability became a controversial issue: see if your house is energy efficient

With the latest news regarding sustainability, people should focus more on adopting the practices that currently protect the environment. If everyone would make a small change in the way they live, things would get rapidly better. The problem is that most people are not aware of the implications of pollution and energy consumption, they don’t know the meaning of important aspects such as carbon footprint or global warming, or they don’t take the topic seriously in the first place. This is surely a mistake that has to be corrected by spreading the appropriate information and make it accessible for all people.

The problem is bigger when talking about companies, regardless of their size. Transforming a business in a sustainable one is a long process that could take up plenty of resources, from time to money. The steps are more difficult to tackle in these cases, but individuals don’t have to fight so many obstacles in changing a few of their habits to become environmental-friendly. Energy is the biggest issue related to sustainability, so here is a list of practices that could transform any household from a non-energy efficient one to an energy-efficient one:

photo/ StockSnap

Improve insulation

The first investment you should make to transform your house in an energy-efficient one while also improving the comfort is represented by insulation. Insulation will keep your home heated during winter and cool during summer, causing you to spend less money on the bills at the end of the month and reducing the quantity of energy that you consume throughout the whole year on air conditioning and heating. Even though it seems like insulation won’t make a difference, in the long run, you will be surprised at the dramatic impact it has. Proper insulation is definitely the first step you want to complete if you decided to transform your house from scratch and become energy efficient from all points of view.

Of course, your day-to-day behavior should change as well. You should turn the appliances off whenever you don’t use them, turn off the lights when you are not in a room and so on. Analyze your behavior and adjust them to your new goals.

Replace windows and doors

This is another costly upgrade that you will need to make in order to transform your house into an energy efficient one. It goes hand in hand with insulation. Changing the windows and doors is tricky because you will have to opt for the ones that meet the energy-efficient standards you need to respect. Poor quality windows and doors will let the warmth slip outside and the cold protrude inside, which is the exact results you want to avoid at all costs. Considering that almost half of your energy consumption goes on cooling and heating, the investment will be worth it in the long run. Glazing and sealing are the two characteristics that make a difference. To avoid thermal breaks, choose the proper design and glass type for your windows and doors.  

Change your lightbulbs

You should understand the difference between regular light bulbs and CFLs (Compact Fluorescent Bulbs). The first type of lightbulb mentioned consumes twice the energy that a CFL lightbulb would. Plus, regular light bulbs have a shorter lifespan compared to CFLs, which makes the investment in fluorescent bulbs much more convenient. CFLs last around 10 times more than regular light bulbs, which means you will change them in years. You will start noticing a huge difference in the amount of energy consumed. First of all, you will pay less on your energy bills. Second of all, you will help the environment tremendously by reducing your overall usage of energy so dramatically.

Upgrade your appliances

If you have appliances that are not energy-star certified, then you might want to consider selling those or trading them in for new appliances. You will get substantial discounts if you bring in your old appliances, and the upgrade will surely be worth it. First of all, you will improve the comfort in your house because newer appliances that are energy-star certified also come with more features to take advantage of. As for habit changes, you should stop overusing appliances and use their energy feature whenever you can instead of leaving them functioning all the time without purpose.

Invest in solar panels

This is an investment that not everyone can afford, but in case you have some spare money that you want to wisely invest into something, solar panels would be the right decision. Mounting solar panels on your house could actually cut down the electricity costs to almost zero. Keep in mind that solar panels only generate energy while the sun is out, so for more cloudy days or for locations where the sun doesn’t really show up, this is not a viable option.

Run an energy efficiency audit

After making some of these changes, you will want to have professionals assess the state of your house in terms of energy consumption. For that, you need to contact a team of energy advisors that can analyze your house and determine what other changes you should make in the future. By skipping this step, you will never know exactly how energy-efficient your house is. The experts at Barrier Sciences Group recommend that both companies and individuals should run energy efficiency audits to see how much energy is consumed and by what. Based on the results of the audit, make additional changes that could make the situation even better.

Warm water instead of hot

This is another change that has to do with your day-to-day habits and it refers to setting the thermostat to a lower degree. Using warm water instead of hot will help you save money, become environmentally friendly and it will also improve your skin’s aspect. Taking hot showers is actually not recommended because it can harm the skin and lead to problems. Warm water is better from all points of view and you should take this into account next time you set up your thermostat. If you don’t want to do this each time, invest in a smart thermostat that will adapt on its own based on your past preferences.

Author: Cynthia Madison

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- Outside contributors to the Dispatch are always welcome to offer their unique voices, contradictory opinions or presentation of information not included on the site.

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