Having an energy efficient home on a small budget

Thu, 02/20/2014 - 15:06

While many homeowners would like to incorporate energy-efficient upgrades within their houses, some are confined by budgetary restrictions. For those who are considering purchasing, constructing or remodeling buildings within the next few months, examine ways in which eco-friendly additions can enhance the home without breaking the bank.

Embracing natural lighting

Instead of purchasing a wealth of lamps and shelling out money for installation, light bulbs and electrical fees, consider using the sun's rays to illuminate your home. Large windows placed throughout the home can use solar energy to naturally light the area. By sticking to using daylight instead of electricity, owners can save significant amounts of money in the long run. HGTV compiled a list of the four most important things to consider when purchasing materials for new windows for a home: frame, installation, design and glass. Different items that make up the frame could include vinyl, wood or aluminum, but each offers different benefits for the home. Wood, for example, is best suited for providing insulation, but it requires more maintenance. Vinyl may be cheaper, but it has limited color options and can be a difficult material to match.

Simplicity in design

Choosing simple materials, decorations and architectural designs may be best for ensuring your home stays efficient for a fraction of the price. Robert Riversong, a homebuilder who focuses on crafting eco​-friendly structures, said that most people build homes that are too large, which may lead to energy waste, according to Green Building Advisor.
"The most cost-effective approach to an efficient home is to build only the space actually required for basic shelter, which is generally no more than half of what the typical American believes they need," Riversong said, as quoted by the source.
Choosing less can lead to more, as smaller homes don't take as much energy to maintain. Additionally, those that employ less complex designs prove to be more easily manageable for residents.

Monitoring electrical use 

Whether you're turning off lights after exiting a room or unplugging devices that are not currently in use, monitoring items around your home is a great way to reduce your energy output. While one charger that remains in an electrical socket may not generate an exorbitantly wasteful amount of energy, the number of electronics that remain connected but not used can quickly accumulate, leading to higher energy bills. Be sure to keep devices in check when leaving the house for the day, including switching off computers, televisions and radios.

Investing in appliances to save money

While small budgets may restrict the amount of money you can spend on appliances, consider investing in high-efficiency ones that are both lower in cost and have the potential to use less energy. For example, one home highlighted on Freshome, which was built with low cost in mind, is described as installing systems that do not take a lot of effort to operate. The website describes how low-flow faucets and dual-flush toilets help slash water bills in the long run. If your budget is tight, think about spending funds on one of these devices, which may contribute to bigger savings.

Consider how you heat your home 

Heating costs eat up a large portion of one's energy bill, according to Mike Studer, a builder for Studer Residential Designs. In a statement on the company's website, Studer described that heat rising to the ceiling causes systems to work harder to heat a room, leading to larger expenses and harder-working heaters. However, homes that have installed radiant heat do not experience this as heat that rises from the floor stays stagnant in the room. These systems can save hundreds on yearly energy costs, as they can be specially adjusted for each room and do not require as much energy to power.