Methods to Help You Boost Your Home's Energy Efficiency
Keeping your home energy efficient during summer and winter is important to keeping you and your family comfortable and reducing your home's energy bill. Here are some tips and methods you can use in and around your home to help maximize the energy efficiency of your home.
Upgrade Your Home's Windows
An average home can lose a great deal of its energy through leaking windows, as your windows can actually lose more heat during winter and gain more heat during summer than any other surface in your home. So it is no surprise that by replacing your home's older windows you can save yourself a considerable amount on your energy bill. According to the Efficient Windows Collaborative, you can save up to 15 percent a year on your energy bill by replacing your older double-paned windows with energy efficient low-E coated windows.
There are many types of new energy efficient windows you can choose from and methods to upgrade your windows' efficiency. You can remove your existing windows and replace them with vinyl or fiberglass-framed windows to reduce the loss of energy in your home.
You can also install double or triple-paned windows filled with argon or krypton gas to increase the window's insulation and reduce the heat transfer. Or, you can have your current windows coated with a low-E film to help reflect the outside heat from off your window. You can complete this addition yourself, or hire a company to apply it professional to your windows.
Add Shade to Your Yard
Another way to keep your home's energy from escaping is to help shade your yard through landscaping. Planting trees and vegetation around your yard in a strategic manner can help you utilize the shade created to keep your home's exterior walls and roof cooler.
Shade created by vegetation and trees cools the surrounding air to help keep your home's interior cooler. Shading of pavements prevents the paved surfaces from absorbing the sun's energy and heating up the exterior of your home. For example, it was found that the air under the shade of a tree was 25 degrees F cooler than the air above a black asphalt paved surface. As the tree releases water vapor into the air through a process called evapotranspiration, the air around the tree is cooled.
You can also plant larger trees positioned east, south, and west of your home to direct their shade onto your home's exterior and roof through the day as the sun crosses the sky. By planting trees that lose their leaves in the fall, you can benefit from solar heat gain during the winter to help keep your home warmer as the trees allow the sun to shine upon your home and into your windows.
Use Window Treatments
Another method to improve your home's energy efficiency is to add curtains and blinds to the interior of your windows. As the sun travels through the sky in summer, close the curtains and blinds against the sun to block it out of your home. This helps to prevent any solar heat gain in your home and makes your windows more efficient. Be sure to hang curtains that are light-colored or have light-colored linings to reflect the sunlight back outside. Using curtains with a white lining has been shown to reduce the solar heat gain in a home by up to 33 percent.
During the winter curtains can similarly keep your home's energy from escaping through the windows. Curtains closed against your windows, especially at night when the temperature can drop extremely low, will insulate your windows and prevent the escaping of heat from your home. Studies have found that closing your curtains on a window can reduce the heat loss through window by up to 10 percent.
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