With the continuing crisis in the world's economy, suffering homeowners across the globe are seeking new ways to save money. Whether that be coupon clipping, tightening up on frivolous spending or using more off-brand products, there are indeed many ways that a family can maximize their income.
One option that is both kinder to Mother Nature and your wallet is to improve the energy efficiency of your home. The following are some green home improvements that are cost-effective and energy efficient.
Beefing Up Insulation:
Especially for those living in an older home beefing up your property's insulation can lead to big energy savings in the long run. The insulation options available to today's homeowner offer not only superior efficiency as compared to the insulation used in building in the past but also the ability to insulate an existing dwelling without need for major demolition or reconstruction. If you feel that your handy-man skills might be up to the task this is a job that can be completed DIY in a weekend. See the National Assocation of REALTORS® article on DIY insulation at http://www.realtor.com/home-garden/do-it-yourself/heating-air-conditioning/insulating-existing-walls.aspx.
By now chances are that you've heard of Energy Star appliances. These appliances provide a higher degree of energy efficiency than their outdated counterparts, and depending on the frequency with which you use the appliance can decrease your utility bills by hundreds of dollars per year. If you don't have the budget to buy new hvac unit, make sure that your current system receives annual tune ups from a certified hvac services contractor. Replacing your refrigerator alone can have a large impact on energy efficiency and savings.
Change Your Bulbs:
Replacing your home's incandescent bulbs with more energy efficient compact fluorescent bulbs might not net you huge savings, but it does increase your home's efficiency. A compact fluorescent bulb uses about 1/3 the energy of traditional incandescent bulbs and lasts up to 10 times longer, meaning not only less bulb changes in hard to reach fixtures but also savings over the life of the bulb. Don't be fooled by the price tag: these bulbs will easily pay for themselves over time.
Embrace the Double Pane: Installing double pane windows in your home can yield great energy savings while also keeping your home more comfortable. Not only will the outside elements be kept out and the inside heating/cooling be kept in, you can also enjoy more quiet in high traffic areas by installing these more efficient windows.
This improvement is admittedly on the more costly side of going green but the potential savings are worth the initial investment. Underfloor heating has been popular in Europe and the U.K. for decades. The concept might sound highly scientific when in fact it's not all that complicated: underfloor heating radiates heat from the floor upward, keeping with the scientific fact that heat rises. These floors offer a much more even and efficient heat source than traditional heating options, not to mention no more cold hardwoods in the morning. Due to the invasive nature of this project you might consider an underfloor heating installation at the same time as a new flooring project.
Upgrading your home's energy efficiency will not only save you money in the long run but also decrease your carbon footprint. Most of these improvements also go along way in improving the comfort level inside your home, so you have nothing more than the initial investment to lose. For more information on the many ways to make your home a greener one visit http://www.realtor.com/home-garden/Green-Your-Home/Simple-Household-Products-to-Green-Your-Home.aspx.
Insulation is something that makes such a big difference, that is often overlooked by homeowners, especially in the warmer months. We tend to think of insulation as something that keeps heat INSIDE in the winter, which is true, but it also keeps heat OUT in the summertime! It's important all year round.
I couldn't agree more that this particular improvement is so often forgotten by homeowners, I believe because many consider it to be far too invasive and expensive an improvement to take on unless they live in an older home with very inefficient insulation. While many newer homes are built with more efficient insulation installed I believe that many a homeowner would be surprised at how much upgrading their insulation, even in a newer home, could make an impact on their home's efficiency and, as a result, utility bills.