It is estimated that electric lighting uses up to 25% of the average home energy budget. Simply changing out light bulbs can significantly reduce that number. Common thought is to change from an incandescent bulb to a CFL (compact fluorescent light) which will save you energy and cost overtime. The latest and greatest in high efficiency lighting however, is not CFL’s but LED lighting. LEDs (light emitting diodes) are solid light bulbs which are extremely energy efficient. LEDs will last up to 10 times the life of a CFL and use 1/3 the electricity with some bulbs requiring only 2 watts. LED light bulbs are available in an assortment of styles from the basic light bulb to track lighting and Recessed lights.
Living in Alberta, heating our homes accounts for a big chunk of our annual utility costs. Installing a high efficiency furnace can dramatically reduce those costs and often qualifies for a rebate from the government.
Some newer furnaces have an AFUE rating in the 90’s meaning that more than 90% of the fuel used is efficiently heating your home.
Install a tankless hot water heater
Often referred to as “on demand” water heaters tankless hot water heaters produce only as much hot water to meet the demand. Hot water tanks store and heat water all the time whether it is being used or not or whether anyone is even home. Tankless water heaters can be 30% - 35% more efficient than traditional water heaters. The tankless water heater will produce as much or as little hot water as your family needs so you don’t have to worry about running out.
Install high efficiency replacement windows
Window technology has come a long way even in the last few years. Modern energy efficient windows can reduce your energy consumption by as much as 50% year round which can help pay for the improvement in just a few years. When researching new windows look for multi paned windows with low-e coatings, insulated frames and gas fills. And don’t forget that a quality installation is as important as quality windows when it comes to achieving energy efficiency.
All of these upgrades are great ways to improve the energy efficiency of your home but even the newest and best products installed professionally won’t have the desired effect if your homes insulation isn’t up to par. Common problems in homes are leaky windows and doors and poorly insulated attics so these are great places to start. There are options for insulating older homes without doing major renovations such as using spray foam in the walls and loose fill insulation in the attic. Walls can be spray foamed without removing drywall and causing very little damage to the walls. Having a home energy audit done can identify problem areas in your home and you can even qualify for government rebates if you take action.