Scott J. Binsack, CEO of Mansions and Estates International Consulting

How energy efficient is your home?

While green building a new home enables you to build a new home with hyper-optimized efficiency, many older homes are less-than-efficient when it comes to energy usage. But fortunately, there are lots of things you can do to improve energy efficiency in your home, providing a major benefit to the environment and financially since you’ll cut those utility bills in a big way!

Insulate

Insulation is a major problem in many homes. Insulating your attic is the most important place to start, as many homes have minimal attic insulation. You can also insulate existing walls using blow-in insulation, which is inserted via a series of small holes that are cut into the wall and patched once the insulation is inserted. This can result in major savings, especially when you consider that nearly half of your energy costs are for heating and cooling!

Use Your Ceiling Fans

Your ceiling fans can go a long way toward reducing energy costs and improving energy efficiency in the home.

Ceiling fans will push the hot air down into the living space during the cold winter months (remember, hot air rises). When the fan blades move in the opposite direction during the hot summer months, the hot air will be pulled up toward the ceiling, thereby cooling the living space.

Seal

Seal your windows and doors. These areas result in energy hemorrhaging in many homes, especially homes with older windows and doors or not-so-efficient windows.

So get out the weather stripping and seal the area around windows and doors. Caulking can be very efficient for sealing air leaks around window sills and trim. Detect air leaks using a fine feather or incense smoke. You’ll see movement in the feather or smoke in areas where there’s air flow.

Plant

Add plants and trees in strategic locations such as on the southern and west sides of your home to protect it from direct sunlight, which can raise temperatures dramatically in the summer months. Adding foliage around your home can also serve as a wind-break, lessening some of those drafts during cold, windy weather.

Also remember that the color you paint your home and the color roofing that you choose can dramatically impact how much heat your home absorbs when it is exposed to direct sunlight. Ideally, you should always opt for light colors to reflect the sunlight.

Update

As you purchase new appliances, opt for new, energy efficient models (which will also qualify you for tax benefits, rebates and other perks!)

In addition, replace your 5 or 6 most-used lighting fixtures to more energy-efficient models, with efficient florescent or LED bulbs.

With these simple tips, you’ll be well on your way toward being more eco-friendly in your home!

Don’t forget to check out our related article on home improvement ROIs and tips to prepare your home for the cold weather!

If you’re seeking to build a new home or need help overseeing a home renovation project, turn to “Scott Binsack,” of Mansions & Estates International. Call 800.956.3855.

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