10 Energy-Efficient Home Improvements

Posted on Wednesday, December 2nd, 2015 at 4:43pm.

10 Energy-Efficient Home Improvements

Whether you’re facing high utility bills or want to minimize your environmental impact, there are several small and large changes you can make around your home to save energy. In addition to saving on utility costs, some changes may also make you eligible for certain tax breaks on your home. Check out our list below for ten energy-efficient home improvement ideas:

1. Professional Energy Audit- Before taking on any home improvement projects, it’s a good ideal to schedule a professional energy audit of your home. A professional energy auditor will examine your lifestyle, past utility bills, and take a thorough walk-through of your home. After the assessment, the energy auditor will point out areas of your home where you can make energy-saving improvements.

2. Programmable Thermostat- One of the easiest changes you can make to save energy is installing a programmable thermostat. You can program your system to adjust the air to different temperatures throughout the day. For example, raising the temperature during the day while you’re at work and cooling down before you return home. There are many thermostats to choose from, so do your research to determine which one fits your needs.

3. Seal and Insulate- Your home’s insulation keeps you comfortable all year round. Make sure there is adequate insulation throughout your home, especially in the attic. Take time to seal up openings around windows and doors to prevent air from escaping. Leaks can also happen within the ductwork of your home, so be sure to patch them up.

4. Replace Appliances- Appliances in your home require tons of electricity and water to run. Updating your old dishwasher or washing machine can help you save on utility costs. Look for models with Energy Star labels to get the most bang for your buck.

5. Upgrade Lighting- Another easy fix to make is replacing the lighting in your home. Switch out traditional bulbs with energy-efficient models like halogen incandescents, compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs), and LED bulbs. These bulbs may cost more up front, but they typically last longer.

6. Replace Windows- If your windows are old and outdated, replacing them with new energy-saving models can help you keep heating and cooling costs down. Energy-efficient windows are especially important for the east, west, and north facing sides of your home, which receive the most sunlight. If your windows are in good shape, consider installing solar screens or storm windows to achieve the same savings.

7. Conserve Water- Installing low-flow toilets, faucets, and shower heads can help conserve water throughout your home. It also takes a lot of energy to heat the water used in your home, so upgrading to a tankless or energy-efficient water heater can help you save on utility costs.

8. Plant a Tree- Take advantage of the vegetation in your front yard to help conserve energy. Large trees and bushes can help block the sun and keep your home cool in the hot summers. Covered patios and screens can also help shade your home.

9. Lifestyle Changes- By adjusting your daily routine, your family can contribute to energy savings in your home. Even the smallest change can make a difference. Switch off lights when you leave a room, unplug appliances not in use, and shut down the computer and the TV. See a full list of helpful tips at the website for the U.S. Department of Energy.

10. Use the Environment- Installing solar panels or rainwater collection systems are just two examples of major projects that can contribute to energy savings in your home. These upgrades give you alternative resources that are friendly to the environment. Talk to a professional before beginning any installation to ensure the savings you achieve are worth the cost of the project.

There are plenty of homes in the Austin area with energy-saving features. If an environment-friendly home is on your wish list, our agents can help you find the perfect match in Austin. Contact us today with your questions about Austin real estate.

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