18 Jul 2016

As the real threat of global warming makes many people wonder what is to come in the future, it also allows homeowners to decide if there are any actions they can take to help reduce their carbon footprint on the planet.

There are a few things you can do to have an energy efficient home. Not only will you be helping the planet, but it can lead to big savings on your energy usage.

House materials and insulation

Half of a home’s energy costs can come from heating, with another 10 percent going on air conditioning costs. In fact, it all comes down to the materials of the home and your insulation. If you’re planning on building a home, you can look at spending extra funds on using materials that ensure that there are no gaps or anywhere for heating and cooling to leak out. The insulation doesn’t stop at the walls and roof space, but there are also options to insulate a concrete slab when building a home. Double glazing and doors will help tremendously as well. By adding in extra insulation and using energy efficient materials, you can ensure that you’re providing better temperatures and cost saving features to your home.

Switch to gas

If you’re building a new home, you may want to consider the installation of natural gas for several of your home’s needs. You can opt to have a gas hot water system or can extend this to your cooking needs by having a gas cooktop for your kitchen. If you’re in an existing home, the up front costs associated with such an installation may seem a little pricey, but the costs saved every year on electricity will soon pay for itself. From here, the savings will continue for years to come. As well as this, some find that gas cooking is a lot more economical than the electrical alternatives.

Energy efficient light bulbs

One of the easiest ways you can have a greener home is by using energy efficient lightbulbs. As well as ensuring you’re turning lights off when you don’t necessarily need them on, using energy efficient lightbulbs means you can save money when they are in use. LED (Light Emitting Diode) light bulbs use less energy and also last significantly longer than conventional light bulbs. Although they can be more expensive than the standard light bulb, they can last 35 – 50 times longer than a normal lightbulb meaning they certainly pay for themselves.

Turn down the thermostat

If you have a heater running at home in the winter, opt to keep the temperature at around 20 degrees. Wear appropriate clothing instead of turning up the temperature on your heater. This can essentially save you around 10 per cent of your energy costs, as well as decrease your carbon footprint. The same applies in the warmer months. If you keep your temperature down to around 24 degrees and wear cooler clothing, you can save costs on your electricity bill but still stay cool in summer.

Check your home appliances

By understanding the running costs of the appliances in your home, you can reduce your costs on your energy bill. Some appliances that are a little older don’t have energy saving features, so it may be worth your time (and money) to buy newer appliances with a better energy rating. It is also worth your effort to ensure your home appliances are switched off at the wall when not in use, which leads us to our next point.

Install automatic switches

If you have a number of appliances such as computers, laptops, tablets, smartphones or televisions, they’re generally don’t need to be on. In fact, when they are switched off, but still ON at the wall, they can still consume energy. The use of an appliance that can switch off appliances at the wall at the flick of a switch is a great way to turn off appliances at the wall without having to get under desks or on all fours behind an entertainment unit. Alternatively, you can just turn the switches off at the wall yourself to help save extra money on your energy costs.

Ensure good air circulation

One thing that many people overlook is the air circulation within the home. If better air flow is introduced into the home, there will be a lower need for further cooling such as an air conditioner and a simple ceiling fan may suffice. By ensuring windows are installed at opposite ends of the home, this means air can flow throughout the home a lot easier to help provide cleaner air and allow warm air in the home to escape easier.

Making your home smarter

With an increase in smartphones and other mobile devices, it’s no wonder there are apps for the home making their way to the property improvement market. Automated control systems installed to homes to track items such as heating and cooling units, lighting, as well as home humidity, light levels and temperatures can all help to benefit the homeowner. By seeing in real time how the home is running, you can make adjustments at the switch of a button to make the home more efficient and comfortable. A lot of these apps can also track how much energy appliances are using, to help you make any changes to the appliances in the home if they’re not as efficient as you would have hoped.