Environmental responsibility and lower electricity bills are two significant benefits of improving the efficiency and functionality of your home, and when you decide to renovate your home with new windows and doors, you’ll want to think about a home energy audit that may show you areas of your home that are leading to higher-than-necessary costs on electricity or gas.
Deciphering your Home Energy Audit
Sometimes called a “home energy assessment,” the results of this test will tell you where your home is lacking in efficiency. Did you know that if your windows and doors have leaks that your heating system might be working harder than necessary to warm your home? Conversely, those leaks could also create more work for your air conditioner in the summer.
You may choose to perform a basic home energy audit on your own or obtain the help of a professional. Remember to check your auditor’s membership in a state or local professional association.
One of the most interesting tests a professional might perform is called a blower door test. These tests determine whether a home is airtight or has leaks. Some of the benefits of a blower door test include:
- Reduction of condensation and moisture build-up
- Lower overall energy consumption
- Elimination of cold drafts
- Possible improvement of air quality.
Simpler options for reducing electricity cost in your home include switching to LEDs. You probably already have a slew of CFLs in your home – particularly since traditional incandescent aren’t manufactured anymore – but LEDs go even further in reducing your energy costs.
Tip: Don’t toss your CFLs before they’re exhausted. Upgrade to LEDs as needed whenever one of your bulbs burns out.
Choosing the Most Efficient Windows
Some windows are more efficient than others, and the type of windows you choose may carry a different rating than others. Visiting the Energy Star website for a list of the most efficient options is a helpful step in choosing your windows, as is discussing maximum window efficiency with your contractor.
Generally speaking, wood frames are great for reducing cold transfer, but choosing wood windows might not always be the best choice when you consider all of the pros and cons of each window material. According to HGTV Remodels:
There are several materials available for window frames, and each has positive and negative aspects. It’s up to you to decide what’s best for your style and your budget.
You’ll generally choose between vinyl, wood, aluminum, and wood-clad windows. In addition, you’ll need to make choices about the glass. One of the most popular options for significant efficiency in window panes is a double-paned window that features Low-E glass, which is also vacuum-sealed with argon fill.
It can be a pricey upgrade if you’re renovating all the windows on your home, but you may want to consider this option if you’re looking for the best efficiency without going too far with features like triple-paned windows. Sometimes triple-paned windows can help, but only if you’re smack-dab in the middle of the arctic circle.
Where You use Energy
Energy drain in your home comes from many sources, with space heating as the most significant cost of energy in the home. Numbers from the Department of Energy suggest the average home spends about 42% of its energy on space heating. Water heating, at 18%, is another significant portion of energy costs.
Other areas where your home uses a lot of energy include:
- Refrigeration (5%)
- Lighting (5%)
- Cooking (6%)
- Other (24%)
You might be wondering what “other” means, and there are a variety of things that add up to this mysterious percentage. For modern homes, gadgets and electronic devices drain an incredible amount of power even when they’re not in operation.
For example, the phone you leave on the charger all night that’s already at 100% is sucking power from your outlets that it doesn’t need. On its own, your phone isn’t going to drain the planet’s resources, but according to an article on Life Hacker, the 170 million iPhone 5s on the market (as of 2012) use as much electricity as 54,000 US households.
If everyone took their phones off the charger when they were full, we’d save a lot of energy.
Let Us Help You Make Your Home Energy Efficient
Want to improve your home’s energy efficiency? Looking to save money on running your home? Contact us today for a consultation on your new door.