Six Surprising Alterations that can Make Your Home Even More Energy Efficient
Making your home more energy efficient not only decreases the size of your carbon footprint, but it also helps you to save money. Your home may even have a better resale value compared to others in the neighborhood if you make it more efficient. As a homeowner trying to go green, you might feel like you already know the ropes when it comes to making your home more energy efficient, but there are a few projects off the beaten path that will help you increase efficiency even more. The following six surprising changes are easy to do and make your home even more energy efficient than you thought possible.
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Instead of replacing the old, clunky water heater with another large tank, consider going tankless. These instantaneous water heating systems require minimal space and can operate with geothermal, solar, natural gas or electric power. They will provide you with a nearly limitless supply of hot water more efficiently than the tank system can.
Re-orient the Windows
When putting an addition onto your house or building a new home, orient the windows to be south-facing. In the winter, you can open the curtains and allow solar heat to warm the house. In the summer, close them to prevent heat from getting in. Also consider planting a row a deciduous trees on the south side of your property line. The deciduous trees shield your home from summer heat. In the winter, when the trees have lost their leaves, the sunshine can make its way toward your house to reduce the need for heating.
Build Roof Overhangs
Extend your roof one to two feet past the windows. During the summer, the roof extension reduces the amount of sunlight and heat that gets into your home. In the winter, the extension protects your home against the cold air.
Replace Your Shingles
Dark colored roofing shingles absorb the sun's heat during the summer, causing your air conditioner to work overtime. Replace those shingles with light-colored, high-reflectivity shingles and your home's summertime energy usage will plummet. For even greater efficiency, chose an Energy Star rated shingle.
Upgrade to Thermal Mass Materials
If renovating or putting an addition onto your home, use materials with a high thermal mass. These include concrete, stone and metal. These materials act as insulators against unwanted air exchange.
As much as 30 percent of the heated or conditioned air produced by your HVAC system may be lost to leaky air ducts. Have a professional inspect and seal your air ducts every three to five years in order to prevent leaking.
Making your home more energy efficient is an ongoing process. Each of these steps will send you in the right direction for better efficiency and lower utility costs.
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