There are many ways to make your home more eco-friendly— and you don’t always have to hire a professional to get the job done. Here are five easy home improvement projects that can save you money while reducing your energy consumption.
Did you know...?
Making green improvements can not only reduce the cost of your utilities but can also increase the value of your home. In fact, Freddie Mac research has shown that homes with an energy efficient rating sell for 2.7% more on average than homes without these ratings. Learn more.
Seal the gaps
Your HVAC system works hard to keep the temperature inside your home consistent— but hot air is always trying to move from warm spaces to cooler ones. Walls, windows, doors and the roof are all places where heat is likely to enter or escape.
Applying caulk around the windows casings and weather stripping around the doors creates a proper seal, so treated air stays where you want it, and untreated air stays out. This simple solution alone can significantly reduce the amount of energy it takes to heat and air condition your home.
Add attic insulation
Insulation creates a barrier that helps keep warm air where you want it most. The problem is it wears out over time. Fortunately, upgrading the insulation in your attic is one of the easiest ways to increase the energy efficiency of your home.
You don’t have to be an expert, either. There are many types of insulation, so choose the material that fits your budget. Make sure to evenly distribute the insulation throughout the attic space to create a sufficient barrier. The goal is to run your HVAC system less often, which will help lower your energy consumption and the cost of heating and cooling your home.
Replace light bulbs
As far as do-it-yourself projects go, it doesn’t get much simpler than replacing the light bulbs in your home. Energy-efficient lightbulbs like compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) and light emitting diodes (LEDs) last longer and use significantly less energy than traditional incandescent bulbs. They may cost a little more up front than traditional lightbulbs, but the long-term savings should more than make up for the difference.
Swap out old appliances
If your appliances and fixtures are getting older, you may want to replace them with newer, more energy-efficient models. Certified products like ENERGY STAR® and WaterSense perform just as well or better than non-certified products—and they use less energy to get the job done. Simple items that could make a big difference in your home’s energy and water usage include:
- Low-flow bathroom fixtures (showerheads, faucets, toilets)
- Programmable thermostats
- Energy-efficient appliances (washer and dryer, refrigerator, dishwasher, etc.)
It's important to consider your budget when you are updating major appliances. Fortunately, as green technology develops, affordable options are becoming more available. When shopping around, be sure to contact your local utility companies and ask if they offer any rebates for upgrading your appliances. They may even know where you can recycle your old items.
Schedule an energy audit
Contact an energy auditor to conduct a thorough inspection of your home. They will look for air leaks, weak insulation and your utility bill usage over time. The results of the audit should give you a clearer understanding of what upgrades will impact your overall efficiency the most.
Don’t have time to schedule an audit? To get an idea of how your home is using energy, use these free online tools and calculators by Energy.gov.
For more information about maintaining your home, visit My Home by Freddie Mac®.