If you’re planning any kind of home improvements in 2022, you’ll be happy to hear you’re not alone. In 2020, people spent almost $420 billion on home modifications to meet their new lifestyle demands in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The trend continued throughout 2021 and isn’t expected to slow down anytime soon. With the home improvement market soaring, now is the best time to consider energy-efficient upgrades you can use for your next home build, remodel, or improvement project.
If you’re in the process of planning a new construction build or creating an addition to your current property, the amount of energy and material waste that’s generated throughout the life of a typical construction project could surprise you.
Buildings account for 39% of greenhouse gas emissions, with 11% coming from material and construction projects. And with renovation projects continuing to increase, it’s important to consider the environmental impacts your project could have. Try to stay local when buying your materials, and be aware of whether their manufacturing and transportation processes are sustainable to reserve the overall energy spent during the construction process.
To create a more ethical and energy-efficient build, use recycled materials where you can in place of traditional products. Choose insulation that’s more eco-friendly like those made from cotton or jeans, locally sourced wool, or Fab-Bricks to avoid volatile organic compounds (VOCs). This will help ensure higher insulation values in an eco-friendly and energy-efficient way.
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One surefire way to maximize your home’s energy efficiency is to first get a home energy audit. Once you have the audit in hand, it’s easy to see where your home is using the most energy, and where you’re experiencing the most energy loss. From there, you can find the most energy-efficient upgrades available for your home. Some quick budget-friendly upgrades to consider include:
- LED lightbulbs
- Window replacements
- Tankless hot water heater
- Low flow showerheads, faucets, and toilets
- Programmable digital or smart thermostat
- Energy Star appliances
If you’re interested in knowing the current state of your home’s energy consumption, consider getting a Professional Home Energy Assessment to see what energy-efficient improvements you can make to your existing home.
Finding sources of renewable energy is the best way to have a positive impact on the environment and lower your home’s carbon footprint. Combining renewable energy with a functional home has never been easier—now that being eco-friendly is a dominating trend. Here are ways your home can be more energy-efficient and explore different forms of renewable energy.
Solar energy is by far the most popular source of renewable energy, and with good reason, since it’s the earth’s most abundant energy source. To decide which solar energy product to use, think about how you plan to use the energy in your home. That way, you can gauge how much solar energy you’ll need to have a functioning home.
Solar panels are an obvious choice for alternative, energy-efficient upgrades because they offer a lot of long-term benefits such as lowered electricity bills, increased energy independence, and tax exemptions. DIY solar panel kits can be practical if you’re not planning to power your whole house. However, they’re even better options for being more energy efficient in the barn, shed, or outdoor patio. If you want your whole house to go full soar, it’s best to find professionals in your area.
Some ways to use solar energy at home are:
- Solar ovens
- Solar food Dehydrator
- Solar-powered generator
- DIY solar water heater
- Solar-powered gate openers
Depending on where you live, conserving water and dealing with drought could be common concerns. A quick way to be more energy efficient is by limiting unnecessary water use and recycling water to extend its use. If you’re hoping to utilize wind energy, there are plenty of DIY projects and energy-saving upgrades to choose from. Some ways to get more energy efficient with your water and wind use at home are:
Having an energy-efficient home is an option that’s available to everyone, whether you’re planning small upgrades, a complete renovation, or a new construction build.
If the cost of energy-efficient upgrades feels like a burden on your budget as a current or prospective homeowner, consider a grant or loan options to help fund your energy efficiency upgrades.
Low-income households can take advantage of the Department of Energy Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) to help reduce your home’s energy cost and increase its efficiency.
If you’re planning to do renovations or smaller home upgrades, you can decide from options such as a mortgage refinancing loan, or a personal loan to fund your project. You can also consider getting a Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC), which is like having a second mortgage and allows you to use the equity you’ve accumulated from your home to fund your energy-efficient renovations and home upgrades. HELOCs are a helpful option, but like everything else, have advantages and disadvantages. Be sure to understand your financial health to make the best decision for your needs.
For new and prospective homeowners, consider mortgage options like the Fannie Mae HomeStyle loan, which provides you with the ability to borrow the cost of a potential home in addition to the cost of energy-saving renovations into one loan payment. It’s a great option if you’ve found the perfect home, but it needs some work done to make it fit your lifestyle.
Before you do anything though, get a strong understanding and knowledge of your existing budget, to know exactly home much home you can afford. Ensuring your financial health matches your expectations with a dollar amount makes your home buying experience quicker, easier, and faster than other buyers on the market by learning how to get preapproved for a mortgage.
Having an energy-efficient home is a wonderful way to live a more conscious and sustainable lifestyle. Regardless of how you get more energy-efficient, you’ll feel secure in knowing that you’ve positively invested in your home and your future.
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