People in Cleveland are working to improve the energy efficiency of their homes. The city aims to lead by example, with an ambitious vision of powering itself with 100 percent renewable energy by 2050—a commitment shared with 79 other U.S. cities. The goal is to reduce residential and commercial energy use by 50 percent and industrial use by 30 percent by 2030.
With the majority of Ohio homes heating with natural gas, energy costs weigh heavily on many family budgets. But simple upgrades and adjustments can help dramatically improve the efficiency of your home, providing savings each month. And while Cleveland winters may be cold, strategic changes can keep your house cozy while lowering utility bills.
So, here are some tips to help boost energy efficiency in your Cleveland home.
- Install energy-efficient Windows
Upgrading your windows is a great way to improve your home’s energy efficiency. Old single-pane windows let heat escape, but modern double or triple-pane windows with special low-emissivity coatings can help keep your home warm in the winter and cool in the summer. Look for ENERGY STAR-rated windows for the best energy efficiency.
Upgrading to energy-efficient windows is a smart choice that not only enhances your home’s comfort but also saves you money in the long term. For expert advice and installation, you can rely on the Cleveland Window Replacement experts to guide you through this energy-efficient transformation. They’ll ensure your home stays comfortable and your energy bills stay in check.
- Seal Air Leaks
One of the most effective ways to boost your home’s energy efficiency is by addressing air leaks. These small drafts and gaps around various openings in your home can lead to significant energy loss and make it harder to maintain a comfortable indoor temperature.
When cracks, gaps, and holes let indoor air leak out, your HVAC system works extra hard, replacing lost air. Sealing these trouble spots with caulk and weatherstripping can save you money and make your HVAC system work less hard.
Be sure to seal fireplace dampers, attic hatches, fixtures, and fans that penetrate exterior walls. Sealing these openings can make a big difference in your energy bills.
- Insulate Attic and Walls
Ensuring proper insulation levels in your attic, exterior facing walls and crawl spaces minimizes heat transfer between the interior and exterior. Most homes benefit from additional insulation in these key areas. Use batt or blown-in insulation to meet recommended R-values based on your region.
Well-insulated homes stay warmer in winter and cooler in summer. So, seal any gaps first where heat escapes.
- Switch to LED Light Bulbs
Replacing incandescent bulbs with LEDs cuts lighting costs significantly. LED bulbs use at least 75% less energy and last over 25 times longer than traditional bulbs. They also produce very little heat, unlike energy-wasting incandescent bulbs. And they last for years with no need to change frequently.
This not only contributes to energy efficiency but also eases the burden on your cooling system, leading to further cost savings.
- Maintain HVAC System
Properly maintaining your HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning) system is a key factor in enhancing your home’s energy efficiency. Your HVAC system is responsible for a significant portion of your energy consumption, and neglecting its upkeep can lead to inefficiencies and higher energy bills.
To keep your HVAC system running smoothly, schedule regular maintenance checks. An efficient HVAC system not only operates more effectively but also consumes less energy, reducing your environmental impact and saving you money.
- Lower Water Heater Temperature
Turn down your water heater thermostat to 120°F unless you have special health needs requiring hotter water. It reduces heating costs while still providing comfortably warm water. Insulating exposed hot water lines helps retain heat, too.
Water heating makes up about 18% of your home’s energy use. Simply dialing down your water heater to 120 degrees uses less energy while still giving sufficiently hot water for most needs.
- Use Smart Power Strips
Plug electronics like computers, televisions, gaming consoles, and chargers into smart power strips to save up to 10% on your energy bill. Smart power strips automatically turn off devices when they are not in use, even if they are still plugged in.
Smart power strips also protect your devices from power surges.
You can use smart and regular power strips together to manage all of your household electronics. For example, you could use a smart power strip for your TV, computer, and printer and a regular power strip for your coffee maker and toaster.
- Install a Programmable Thermostat
Upgrading your old thermostat to an ENERGY STAR programmable model offers a smart solution for better control of your home’s heating and cooling. With programmable thermostats, you gain the ability to set specific temperatures for different times of the day, ensuring energy conservation when it’s not needed. You can also program them to lower temperatures when you’re away or asleep, further optimizing energy use.
The advanced models, equipped with habit-learning capabilities, provide even more savings. By maintaining moderate temperatures, you’ll notice a considerable reduction in your energy costs while enjoying enhanced comfort.
- Appliance Placement
Be mindful of where you place your appliances, especially those that generate heat, like lamps or televisions. Avoid situating them near your thermostat. Placing heat-emitting devices in close proximity to your thermostat can lead to inaccurate temperature readings. As a result, your HVAC system might run more than necessary, leading to higher energy usage and increased utility bills.
By maintaining some distance between these heat sources and your thermostat, you can ensure that your heating and cooling systems operate more efficiently and effectively.
The path to a more energy-efficient and cost-effective home lies in both maintenance and thoughtful adjustments to your home. By embracing strategic upgrades and adopting mindful practices, homeowners have the power to reduce their energy consumption and monthly bills significantly. The journey towards a more sustainable and economical living space begins with these practical steps.