11 Ways To Make Your Colorado Home More Energy Efficient -Part II
Tips for making your Colorado home more energy efficient -Part II
Air-seal (and insulate) your attic and basement You may know that heat rises, and that applies as much inside your house as it does in the world outside. That means a drafty attic could result in a lot of energy spent keeping the house warm in the wintertime, and it won't do you any favors in the summer, either. An uninsulated basement can also let in cold air in the wintertime and out in the summertime. Check to see if your basement and attic are air-sealed and insulated. If not, consider investing in an upgrade.
Turn off unnecessary water
Even if your faucets aren't leaking or toilets aren't running, it can still save a little bit of water to eliminate water to any pipes that aren't using it. If you have a guest bathroom that gets little use or a kitchenette that only sees action once a year, then consider turning off the water to those sinks.
Use ceiling fans instead of air conditioning
Air conditioning is a wonderful invention, but it sure can be an energy hog. Instead of turning on the air conditioning, try opening all your windows and turning on the ceiling fans. When it's hot outside, sometimes just getting the air moving inside can make a big difference, especially at night once the sun is down.
Reconsider space heaters, and use fans judiciously
That said, plugging in devices to help keep you cool (or warm) in general are big users of energy, so if you're serious about cleaning up your carbon footprint, think about whether you can do without that space heater or fan in the window.
Use cold or warm water to wash clothes
Some stains just won't budge without bringing the heat, but for the most part, your clothes will get just as clean in cold or warm water as in hot water. Washing with cold water is also a little easier on the fabrics, making your clothes last a bit longer. Most washers have a cold-water setting, so try it the next time you're washing up a load and see what you think.
Only run full dish/laundry loads
When the time does come to wash, it will save a lot of energy, water, and money if you make sure you're only washing full loads of both dishes and clothes. This might mean you have to invest in a bigger laundry basket or buy a few more plates so you won't run out, so think about the best way you can make sure your loads are as big as possible and then commit to only running the appliances when they're at full capacity.
Add solar screens to windows
The sun can be used to heat your home without using much energy, and that can be a really nice thing in the wintertime, yet not so nice in the summer when you'd really prefer not to heat your home at all. Solar screens can keep the sun out of any windows where it shines in directly. In the northern hemisphere, they'll be most effective on south-facing windows.
Install solar panels (or solar shingles)
Solar panels can offset your energy usage (and your bill) by quite a lot, and now there are even more options for making your roof an energy-catching addition to your house. Solar shingles are smaller and less obvious than full panels but still bring good solar generation. The next time you have to re-shingle the top of your house, consider adding some solar shingles into the mix.
Choose a roof with a light color
The sun beats down on your roof all day, and if you've chosen a dark-colored roof, then the roof is absorbing all of that sunlight (and associated heat) every day, which isn't always ideal. To keep your attic relatively cool, pick light-colored roofing materials, which can reflect the sun's rays more than absorb them.
Use reclaimed wood or bamboo for floors
Not all wood flooring is created equal when it comes to environmental friendliness, so if you're refinishing your floors or building new, consider a renewable wood source that looks good and doesn't require cutting down more trees. Reclaimed wood is one good option, as are bamboo floors -- the plant grows quickly and is replenished by pruning, making it a great choice if you want new floors without feeling like you have cleared a forest.
Add some storm doors
Every time you open your doors to the outside, it's letting the outside in. One way to combat this leakage of warm or cool air into the great outdoors is to install storm doors, especially on the most-used entrance to the house. A storm door helps provide an additional layer of protection to the doorway (already a spot where a lot of your air-conditioned or heated air escapes), giving it an extra seal and allowing less to escape when you enter or exit through the door.
The key to making your home more energy efficient can involve simple things like turning off water to rarely used sinks and toilets, or as complicated and involved as replacing appliances and installing solar panels. Figure out your ideal level of investment and take things one step at a time. Eventually, you will have a "greener" home that saves money without sacrificing comfort.
Looking for a new home, or one that is more energy efficient?
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