There are a lot of benefits to boosting your homestead's energy efficiency. Not only can you reduce the amount of energy you use and save money, but you can also cut back on waste and neutralize your family's carbon footprint. If you're ready to tackle your next homestead project, consider one of these six options for increasing energy efficiency.
1. Add New Insulation
If your home is poorly insulated, you could be wasting precious money on heating and air conditioning. It's estimated that 98 million households in the U.S. are inadequately insulted, losing more than 20% of the heat generated. Reduce waste and energy usage by adding new insulation to walls and around openings like doors and windows. The most common types of insulation are loose fill, blanket and spray foam.
2. Install a Skylight
Skylights used to be costly and complex to install, but today, they are simple to add and energy efficient. Traditional skylights are similar to a window in the roof, while tubular versions harvest the sun's rays from above and direct light through up to 40 feet of highly reflective tubing. This type of skylight is leak-proof and impact-resistant while also offering a simple way to install around critical building components, like joists and rafters.
3. Invest in Windows
Energy-efficient windows are coated with low-E, designed to let light in your home without allowing heat inside. During the colder months, low-E keeps warmth from escaping into the chilly air outside. Look for windows with low air leakage, which is the amount of air that can be lost. Keep an eye out for a low U-Factor, the rate of the non-solar flow of heat through the window. Depending on where you live, energy-efficient windows could save you a lot of money.
4. Opt for Solar Panels
There has never been a better time to install solar panels. The price of solar has dropped more than 70 percent since 2010. Plus, solar panels have become much more energy conscious in the past couple of decades, increasing in efficiency from 6-40% since 1954. By adding solar power to your home, you can reduce your family's carbon footprint will also cutting your energy bill.
If you want to conserve energy on your homestead, consider installing a tankless water heater. A tankless heater takes up very little space and uses 30-50% less energy than tank units. According to experts, this could save you $100 or more each year. This type of water heater only activates when you turn on the faucet, eliminating the cost to store 40 to 50 gallons of hot water on demand.
6. Buy New Appliances
If you have old appliances in your home, now is the time to seek energy-efficient replacements. An old dryer can consume as much energy as an efficient refrigerator, washing machine and dishwasher combined. Look for Energy Star-certified models that use 20% less electricity and can save you hundreds of dollars over the dryer's lifetime. New refrigerators, which have seen plenty of advances in the past decade, use up to 40 percent less energy than models made in 2001.
How to Improve Your Homestead's Energy Efficiency
Improving your homestead's energy efficiency doesn't have to be a complicated or lengthy process. In just a weekend, you can install a tubular skylight or replace outdated appliances. Not only will you reduce the amount of energy you use and save money, but you can also lessen your carbon footprint and waste put out into the environment. That's a win for you, your wallet and the planet.