Nowadays, many people tend to achieve Zero-Energy homes in order to reduce their energy bills. A zero energy home is the one that generates as much energy as it consumes. Making your home energy efficient is a noble mission. It helps in combating the global warming and ensures conversation of energy. It also means that you are going to pay virtually zero dollars as your monthly energy bills.
Best Methods to Achieve a Zero-Energy Home:
Anyone can accomplish this task and following are the simple and time tested methods to make your home as energy efficient as possible.
- Modify or Replace Old Windows:
The major reason for a lot of heat loss during winters is the single paned windows. It will be surprising for you to know that you can actually save as much as 25% of your heating bills just by updating these old windows to low U or E- values windows according to the DOE. If you cannot afford the new windows, you can still increase their efficiency by covering them with white shades in summers to reflect heat and by storm windows in winter to heat up your home.
- Replace or Retrofit the Old Furnace:
You need to check how energy efficient your current boiler or furnace is and it is measured by AFUE (Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency). Most of the new models come up with efficiency rate of up to 97%. The efficiency rate of most of older models is 60-70%. Similarly, you can also get your old furnace retrofitted to increase its efficiency.
- Choose Appliances with Energy Star Rating:
You also need to check that the new appliances you are purchasing have the green Star Label or not. It is important because you have to ensure that the appliance you are bringing to your home comply with the latest standards of energy efficiency. Energy Star is in fact the joint venture of DOE and EPA and the appliances meeting the latest energy efficiency standards can earn the Energy Star Label.
- Seal Crakes and Holes:
Both visible and hidden crakes and holes in the floor, ceilings and walls can potentially leak air from your home, considerably increasing your energy bills. In fact, investing few dollars in weatherstripping, caulks or in a foam sealant for larger gaps is one of the least expensive and easiest methods to make your home more energy efficient.
- Swap Light Bulbs:
The old incandescent bulbs consume as much as 25% more energy as compared to the new energy efficient incandescent ones. If you want to further decrease the energy consumption, it is a better idea to install new Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs) or Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs) which consume 70-80% less energy than traditional incandescent bulbs.
- Replace the Old Air Conditioning System:
Replacing your outdated heating system will help you substantially cut your energy bills during next summers. The new air-conditioning units available in market are twice as energy efficient as their older versions. If you are replacing the central cooling system, you need to ensure that the new unit contains an Energy Star Label. It should also have a seasonal energy efficiency ratio of 13 that is the minimum according to the new standards.
- Add a Source of Renewable Energy:
Finally, you need to realize that a zero-energy home must be able to produce as much energy as it consumes. It is now the time for your home to start producing some energy at its own. In this regard, homeowners prefer to install photovoltaic cells commonly known as solar panels in their homes these days. Similarly, you can also buy renewable energy from your local power company in some regions.
Above mentioned are some of the most popular methods to achieve a zero energy home and reduce your energy bills as much as possible.