There’s always a new, better product available in stores, and it’s not always worth the money. However, when it comes to home improvements that boost your energy efficiency, the upgrade is worth it. While it’s important to recycle and carpool, you can save big and enjoy long-term benefits by upgrading your home’s windows and insulation. Know what to look for and why it’s important with these energy saving improvements.
ENERGY STAR windows
ENERGY STAR certified windows are built to save you money. The windows are more efficient, which means your energy bills will be lower all year long. In the winter, the heat will stay indoors. No more cold air drafting into your house. In the summer, your air conditioner won’t have to work as hard to keep your home comfortable. While you benefit from energy savings, the environment benefits from your lower energy usage. Traditional home heating and cooling systems draw from nonrenewable resources, like coal or natural gas. Decreasing the power consumption in your home means you’re reducing fossil fuel use and becoming more eco-friendly.
Energy efficient windows have a low-emissivity coating. Low-E glass minimizes the amount of UV and infrared rays that pass through the glass. This means that you’ll still benefit from plenty of natural light indoors but your furniture and photos won’t fade over time. The effectiveness of Low-E windows is measured by how much heat loss is allowed, how much light passes through, and by evaluating the light to solar gain.
Double-pane windows have two layers of glass between you and the outside world. The panes of glass are separated from each other by a layer of air. This air creates an insulation barrier that blocks cold air during the winter and hot air during the summer. This barrier also helps block outside noise from entering your home.
Unless your home was built with energy efficiency in mind, it probably needs an insulation upgrade. Thicker insulation increases a home’s energy efficiency by reducing the amount of heat that moves through the walls. Basic laws of thermodynamics tell us that heat flows from high temperatures to low temperatures. This means warm air will try to escape into the cold air outside during the winter. In the summer, the opposite is true. Since insulation is designed to contain air movement, it should be installed in roofs, walls, ceilings and all around your house. Without energy efficient insulation you’ll be spending way more on your home’s heating and air conditioning bills.
The R-value measures how well insulation works. Your home’s R-value should be between R-30 and R-60. When insulation eco-friendliness is measured, consider the safety and sustainability of the materials used in the manufacturing process. Wool and cotton are safer than fiberglass. Some insulation is made from recycled materials. Choosing the products that are better for the environment is another way to lower your carbon footprint.
Put energy savings at the top of your home improvement list this summer by upgrading your windows and insulation to a more environmentally friendly alternative.