It’s all the rage these days. You can make a little but real impact to the environment, helping to push society in a more sustainable direction. You can end up with a more comfortable home. You can even end up saving a lot of money. We hear these reasons all the time to make the switch to more energy efficient living, but how true is it? Are the supposed energy efficient changes we make really going to save us money, or will we never see back the investment that we make?
The power of the sun
It’s the big one. We’re being told that some people can spend zero on energy costs with solar panels and that you can even make money selling energy back to the grid by installing them. But the installation fees are far from cheap. So, you need to make sure you actually get enough sun to make up for the initial costs. Thankfully, there are charts that show solar energy efficiency depending on where you live. By pointing out where you are on the map, you can get a pretty good idea of whether you’re really going to be able to get all your energy needs from the sun.
Plugging up the home
Air leaks are a real problem in the home and your doors and windows can be a significant source of them. Double glazing windows can make them much better at keeping the warm air in (or out, depending on the season). But they can be expensive enough that you won’t make back the costs in terms of money saved on energy bills for a long time. They don’t necessarily have to be that expensive, however. Here is a great discussion on what affects the cost of double glazing. It’s not always, or even often, the glass itself that’s so expensive. The materials and even the aesthetic style of the window can be a huge factor. There’s no doubt that you will pay more for windows that offer better thermal performance, but that’s the part that’s worth investing in.
Insulation is another way of keeping heat from leaving the home, especially in the attic, as heat tends to escape through the top of the home. Insulation might not be cheap, but you don’t necessarily have to pay for it all yourself. There are state incentives offering the funds that homes need to insulate if they don’t already have it, for instance. In some states, you can even get the same financial help for insulating your pipes. There are other ways to make the exterior of the home not only more attractive but to contribute more to insulation. Vertical gardening is proven to be an effective form of extra insulation, but it’s not as effective as the actual insulating, itself.
It’s all about your circumstances and the choices you make. You can, indeed, save plenty of money on energy efficient changes and products. But only if your home is able to make good use of them and you don’t bog yourself down with too many extra costs.