8 Affordable Energy-Efficient Ideas To Upgrade Your Vail, Colorado Home Now
Did you know that the average American spends $2000 a year on energy? And it is estimated that $200 – $400 of that is lost to waste from drafts, air leaks around openings, and outdated heating and cooling systems. By investing in energy efficient upgrades for your home, you can save money and be more comfortable.
Investing in energy efficiency and renewable energy pay off in reduced energy bills, which adds up to significant savings over time. Making these investments will help do your part for the planet, too, as you will lighten your demand on our limited natural resources.
When making the decision to upgrade an existing home, it is a good idea to start with an energy assessment to prioritize your wish list. An assessment will show you how your home is currently consuming energy. Some states have government agencies who will assess your home, so check your local options. In other states, you can inquire about an objective assessment from your gas or electric company.
Here are the top 8 ways you can increase your Vail, Colorado home’s energy efficiency:
Over time ducts can develop gaps or holes where air can leak out. Have your local heat energy company evaluate your ducts to be sure they are properly connected, insulated and free from leakage.
Tune up heating & cooling systems
Regular maintenance to ensure proper insulation, air sealing, and thermostat settings mean your energy dollars are being spent efficiently with no waste. An annual cleaning will free the system of dust which builds up and decreases efficiency. If the systems are old, consider the long-term value of upgrading to more modern equipment.
When replacing, purchase ENERGY STAR certified for the most efficient products. If an appliance has the ENERGY STAR seal of approval, it has been tested by the U.S. Department of Energy and has passed strict criteria. Look for ENERGY STAR whenever you are replacing appliances – especially the highest energy consumers – refrigerators, clothes washers and clothes dryers.
replace standard incandescent lighting with one of the several energy-efficient choices available. Here, again, ENERGY STAR certified is a wise choice. Consider these popular options:
Halogen incandescent lights
Last about 3 times longer than standard incandescent lights, but these were the stepping stone to the even better options below.
Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs)
Were designed to easily replace standard light bulbs and halogens. They screw into most lamps the same way a standard light bulb does, however, they do not work with dimmer switches, timers, or photo sensors.
Light-Emitting Diodes or LED lights
Currently believed to be the most energy efficient option available. Residential ENERGY STAR LEDs use at least 75% less energy, and last 25 times longer than incandescent. More savings and more light!
Seal air leaks
Windows, doors, fireplaces are typical culprits and can easily be sealed with weather stripping, spray foam, or caulk. Here are the common places around your home to check for air leaks:
- Perimeters of windows and doors/moldings
- Places where brick and wood meet (or any other combinations of 2 building materials)
- Wiring holes in drywall
- Holes created for recessed lighting
- Behind short walls often found in attics
- Basement or attic access door or hatch
- Where chimney meets ceilings, floors, and walls
- Where plumbing penetrates ceilings, floors, and walls
- Where the basement foundation meets the wood framing (sill plates and rims)
- Where gas piping enters your house
Add another layer to the attic, crawl space, basement, pipes or cold walls. This is an easy DIY project that can yield solid results in warmth and comfort.
Install and set programmable thermostats for when you are home, asleep, and away. Turning your thermostat down during an 8 hour ‘work day’ when no one is home can result in saving up to 10% of your energy bill.
If your current windows are drafty, consider replacing them with storm windows. With a double pane, storm windows provide a tight seal and can reduce heat loss by 25-50%.
While many of these upgrades can be a long-term investment, there are also several inexpensive products on the market that can help you save money and consume less energy:
Energy-saving power switches
draw no energy when switched to the off position. Great for kitchen counter appliances and electronic device docking stations.
A LED night light
with the light sensor will automatically brighten as the room darkens and typically will last for years before it needs to be replaced.
Low flow showerheads
use pressure technology to keep the water pressure you love, but with a dramatic decrease in water used.
Countertop pressure cookers
use the power of steam to cook food quickly and with a fraction of the energy used by your oven or stovetop. Soups, stews, pot roast, brisket, mashed potatoes, or rice will become a delicious, energy-saving meal when prepared in a pressure cooker.
Solar powered exterior lights
are perfect for entryways, gardens, patios – they provide energy efficiency and safety, and look attractive, too! You can also find hanging solar power string lights for your deck or patio.