Efficiency is a popular term these days, but many people are unsure of exactly what it means, especially when it comes to the home.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, energy efficiency refers to products or systems that use less energy to do the same or better job than conventional products or systems.
Many people strive to make their homes more efficient in order to reduce their energy bills, give them greater control over their energy costs and improve the environment by reducing air pollution and greenhouse gasses.
Individuals can increase their homes' efficiency in a variety of ways including purchasing new appliances and electronics, weatherizing and upgrading heating and cooling systems. Whether they're looking to improve the efficiency of their existing home or are searching for a more efficient home to purchase, there are certain things anyone who is interested in reaping the benefits of these products and systems should look for.
Efficient heating and cooling equipment
Purchasing efficient heating and cooling systems is easier than ever. Consumers can look for products that are EnergyStar-certified or should seek out their EnergyGuide label in order to determine how efficient they will be.
According to EnergyStar.gov, efficient heating and cooling systems use less energy to operate, are quieter than standard models, reduce indoor humidity and improve the overall comfort of the home. Energy-efficient equipment is also typically more durable and requires less maintenance than standard models.
Electric radiant heating is one of the best options for those looking to improve efficiency and comfort. WarmlyYours reports that homeowners who install these systems enjoy annual savings of as much as 30 percent on their heating bills.
Insulate and seal
Installing appropriate insulation and sealing holes and cracks in a home and its duct systems can help ensure temperatures are maintained better.
Windows and doors
Improved windows, doors and skylights help keep heat in during the winter and out during the summer, resulting in a more comfortable home.
While these upgrades may cost more upfront, it's important to remember that an energy efficient home will significantly reduce costs over the long-term. In fact, according to the U.S. Department of Energy, a true energy efficient home will be at least 15 percent more efficient than a conventional home.
Individuals who want to know how efficient their homes are can have a professional home energy assessment done on their property. This may help them identify areas that can offer them the greatest return on investment.