Top 4 Energy Efficient Home Upgrades
Energy costs are on the rise across the globe. In Canada, about one in ten households spends 10% or more of the home budget on heating and cooling bills. It's estimated that around 80% of a home's energy usage is heating or cooling water and the living space, while another 16% is running lights and appliances. On average, these energy costs total approximately $2,100 annually per home.
However, it's possible to reduce energy costs and boost energy efficiency with home upgrades. The key is choosing the right home upgrades that offer high returns on investment (ROI). Just as considering commute times during homebuying can save you money, making one or more of these energy-efficient home upgrades can seriously benefit your wallet.
NRCan (Natural Resources Canada) reports that homes can lose up to 25% of their heating and cooling energy through inefficient doors, skylights, and windows. It's not just older homes that may suffer from inefficient windows either. Newer constructions can also have issues if the windows are not properly installed. One easy way to tell if a home's windows are causing energy losses is to check for the following:
- Water seepage
Window replacement typically lands at the top of the list as one of the best high-ROI upgrades for a home, especially if there are plans to sell the property in the future. It can increase the listing price when the home has new, energy-efficient windows. Even if the home isn't going up for sale, replacing inefficient windows is smart and usually offers a high ROI. Over time, energy-efficient windows can help save significantly on a home's heating and cooling bills.
Technically, the first programmable thermostat came out in the early 1900s, but it wasn't until the 1980s that digital units became available. These helped streamline heating and cooling, offering better energy efficiency for the home because these thermostats made it easy to adjust heating and cooling times. Turn the heat or air conditioning down when away or sleeping, and then adjust for comfort when home.
As technology has continued to develop, homeowners now have various options. However, for a home upgrade with high ROI, look for a smart thermostat. Smart thermostats can help reduce a home's energy efficiency, reducing heating and cooling bills. Homeowners who install smart thermostats can control heating and cooling via the touchscreen on the smart thermostat or through an app on a smartphone, tablet, or computer. Some may offer zone control, allowing the homeowner to designate areas of the home to heat or cool while keeping others at a different temperature if not in use.
Whether you're buying a new construction home or you're an established residen, installing a smart thermostat can equate to serious savings.
It's not uncommon for homes to be lacking in insulation. Sufficient insulation, properly installed, keeps the warm air in during the cold months and the cool air in during the hot months. Insulation works with energy-efficient windows and a smart thermostat to help reduce home energy costs. Areas lacking insulation can usually be found in the attic, the basement, and around doorways.
When it comes to upgrading the insulation in a home, it can be a do-it-yourself (DIY) project or one hired out to a professional. It typically depends on the homeowner's ability, the size of the job, and the type of insulation needed. If going DIY, several safety protocols should be followed. Adding or upgrading a home's insulation can offer significant energy cost savings each year, making this one a high-ROI upgrade for energy efficiency.
High-Efficiency Water Heater
According to NRCan, a home's water heater consumes as much energy as all the household's lights and appliances combined. This comes to approximately 20% of the home's energy consumption. The water heater is the second-largest energy user in most homes. Heating for the living space is the largest consumer. Investing in a high-efficiency water heater can reduce overall energy costs, offering a strong ROI as a home upgrade.
Streamline Your Home
When choosing energy-efficient upgrades for a home, from windows and insulation to smart thermostats and small appliances, be sure to look for products with the blue-and-white ENERGY STAR logo or the EnerGuide label. By implementing one or more of these high-ROI energy-efficient upgrades, homeowners can save money and increase the value of their homes.