If you are thinking about renovating your home anytime soon, you might want to consider energy-efficiency. Not only will this add to the value of your home, but it will also cut down on those pesky utility bills that pile up in your mailbox on a regular basis. With a few small tweaks here and there or a full-on major renovation, you can transform your home into something that saves you money (in the long-term) and is good for the environment, too. In this article, we will give you a few ideas that we think are both practical and aesthetically pleasing.
Install a cool roof
A cool roof is both trendy in name and by nature, as they are becoming increasingly popular in home renovations. Using materials that are environmentally sound, such as shingles or reflective tiles, a cool roof is designed to lower the temperature in your home. Not so great in colder months maybe (although they do conserve the heat from within your property) but in warmer seasons, you will be less reliant on air-conditioning to keep your house cool. There are all kinds of other benefits of a cool roof, from preserving the lifetime of your roof to reducing carbon emissions, so consider whether it is right for where you live.
Consider solar panels
There are two main types of solar panel, both of which save you money on your energy bills. Photovoltaic solar panels will transform the sun’s energy into electricity and will power your household appliances. Then there are Solar Thermal panels which will cut down on your heating bills, and warm up your water. While costly to install (unless you can get a government grant) the long-term benefits to your finances are clear, and you are reducing the carbon footprint through a reliance on the greatest heat source we have, the sun!
Change your flooring
The flooring you use can make a difference on the temperature of your home. Vinyl or stone flooring isn’t very effective, being both cold to the touch and without the capacity to hold heat for long. If this is prevalent in your home, you should add rugs or replace them carpets. Not only does the thick layering feel good underfoot, but it also traps the heat in your home for longer. Hardwood flooring is also great for conserving heat, as well as being aesthetically pleasing, with exciting options, such as tigerwood, teak, or cherrywood. Engineered hardwood is recommended, due to the foam base which adds insulation. Then there’s underfloor heating, which can be expensive to install but will also save you money on central heating bills. It’s nice and toasty for your feet too, especially during chillier months.
Think about your windows
In warmer months, your utility bills will be reduced anyway if you utilise your windows. Opening your curtains will let in natural light and warmth, without the need to use artificial heat and light sources. Still, the type of window you install and what you do with them can also improve your energy-efficiency rating. A skylight is a good idea, letting in plenty of light from the top of your house. Then there are sash windows. Popular in conservation areas, the good thing about beautiful sliding sash windows is the aesthetical beauty, while being eco-friendly to boot. Double and triple glazed windows are also advisable, as there is less chance of heat escaping from your property.You also need to consider your window treatments. Wooden blinds or shutters are ideal, as they use renewable resources, and can be fitted to match the decor of your home.
Replace appliances and lighting fixtures
We are all guilty of overusing our appliances and leaving too many lights on, so we do need to form better habits. Using your washing machine or dishwasher for a full, rather than half-load is a start. Still, if you have an older appliance, you may be adding to your utility bill, as well as wasting energy. Thankfully, regulations have been put in place, and you can now buy something that will not only look good in your home but will be more energy-efficient as well. Look for the Energy Star sticker the next time you are out shopping. Then replace your light bulbs. While LED or CFL bulbs are slightly more expensive than regular light bulbs, they will last a lot longer, and won’t make that annoying buzzing noise when they are turned on.
A few small (or large) changes to your home will make a difference. Not only will you make significant savings, but you will also improve the quality of your life in your home environment, as well as doing your bit to protect the overall environment of the world we live in.