6 worthwhile upgrades for an energy-efficient House | the ReFab Diaries

Energy-efficient homes are built to conserve energy in a number of ways. They have features to reduce the amount of energy you use, prevent energy waste and heat transfer, and prioritize clean energy use. 

Even if your home wasn’t built with sustainability in mind, you can upgrade your house to reduce your carbon footprint and your utility bills. Some upgrades are easier than others, but you can start with simple swaps and save to make larger investments later on.

The great thing about energy efficiency is that you can often break even on home upgrades by reducing your energy costs or even improving your home’s value. Ready to get started? Here are six energy-efficient upgrades for your home.

Swap Your Lawn for Something Native

Native landscaping is great for your yard and the local environment; and will save a TON of water. Native wildflowers and plants are designed to thrive in your yard, so you don’t need to water the grass or apply fertilizers to keep them healthy.

There’s also no need to mow, so you don’t have to burn fuel to keep your yard beautiful. The best part is that native landscaping is great for pollinators, so expect to see beautiful butterflies and buzzing bees at work in your new yard. 

Refresh Your Decor With New Curtains

Heat can easily transfer through your windows, and this is especially true if they’re older single-pane models. This means that a significant amount of your home’s heating and cooling may be going out the window — literally.

Blackout curtains or blinds help reduce the strain on your heating and cooling by providing extra insulation from the outside. They also reflect the sun’s light so less thermal energy is entering your home and heating it up from the outside.

Repair Any Air Leaks

Air leaks are common in homes, especially in attics and basements, and around windows and doors. Take a tour of your home and pay special attention to any entry points. You’ll likely be able to feel a draft coming in through gaps in window and door frames, and you may even see daylight through them.

Air leaks are usually easy to repair and they prevent drafts that make your heating and cooling system work harder. Install weather stripping or replace caulking around doors and windows with air leaks. It’s also a good idea to install draft stoppers at the bottom of your interior doors to prevent airflow between rooms.

Install Energy-Efficient Appliances

If you’re looking to upgrade any of your home appliances, be sure to look for the Energy Star logo. These appliances are EPA-certified to use less energy than standard appliances, and they often prevent energy and water waste.

If you want to prioritize your upgrades, water heaters, thermostats, and washers and dryers have the biggest impact on a home’s energy efficiency. Upgrade to tankless water heaters and a smart thermostat to help save on your electric bill.

Consider Alternative Energy

Most Americans have considered installing solar panels in their home. If you’re one of them, consider this your sign to switch to solar!

Even if you can’t invest in a solar system upfront, look for other ways you can reduce your reliance on fossil fuels. Start by replacing your garden lights with solar lights or even install a solar panel plug you can use for small appliances. 

Upgrade Your Roof

Roofs naturally see a lot of sunlight, and that direct light is absorbed as heat into your home. This can make it hard to keep cool in the summer and add stress to your heating and cooling systems.

There are several ways you can help prevent heat transfer in your roof, and many of them are easy to DIY. You can buy and apply a reflective coating that reflects sunlight so your roof doesn’t retain as much heat. Similarly, you can get a white or light-colored roof that naturally reflects the sun’s light.

If you’re really creative, you can even grow a green roof. Green roofs have a water-proof layer that allows you to grow vegetation on your roof to provide insulation and prevent heat transfer.

If you’re looking to reduce your carbon footprint and lower your utility bills, learn more about the features that make a home energy-efficient with this guide from Homebuyer. 



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