Creating an energy efficient home for every climate

It’s a no-brainer: When we use less energy, we save precious natural resources and cut down on pollution. Energy efficiency – doing more with less energy – benefits you, your country, and the world.  It is also an investment on your property. And like any investment, it might take a few months or even years to see a financial return, but with correct planning those returns can be substantial – and let’s be honest, they deliver some bragging rights too!
Energy Efficient
Energy Efficient
No matter where you live, there are ways that you can make your home a more energy efficient building – let’s take a look at the basics.

Monitor your energy consumption

To identify ways to cut down on energy consumption for saving, you need to know the amount of energy you are making use of and which of your appliances are using that energy. Monitoring your consumption is therefore crucial and can be done by taking an electricity meter reading at the same time daily or at the end of each month. For a more effective solution, consider installing an energy monitor that can track your usage on an hourly basis.

Involve everyone in the process of becoming energy efficient 

Energy Efficient
Energy Efficient - Involve Everyone
Whilst some people are energy-conscious, always switching off appliances which aren’t in use, others may happily leave the office on a Friday afternoon with all the lights on. It is important to communicate your energy efficiency targets to everyone so that they understand the part they can play in helping to achieve these targets. Give them regular feedback on energy use from your monitoring system and let everyone know when targets are or aren’t being achieved. By keeping an eye on your usage levels when different appliances are running, you’ll soon get a good feel for who the guilty culprits are and make saving energy a habit.

Insulation, insulation, insulation

Whether you live in a hot or cold climate, keeping warm or cool air where you want it to be is the first step in making a building more energy efficient. Just as you wouldn’t leave the windows open when you’ve turned the air conditioner on, making sure your rooms are well sealed will save a fortune on heating and cooling costs. If you're embarking on a new build or adding an extension, then invest in double brick walls with a layer of insulating material in-between and make sure ceilings and floors are also insulated.

Double glazed windows are another excellent investment. For warm climates, Window films come with UV tinting that protects your fabrics and artwork from damage, as well as rejecting up to three fourths of the heat from sunlight, making cooling bills lower – and they look cool too! If you are replacing frames, opt for wood as these make for better insulators than steel options. If a complete replacement isn’t within your budget, then simply adding storm windows is a cheaper and less messy alternative.

Rethink your water heating

Your geyser can account for as much as 50% of your electricity bill, so it’s well worth taking some steps to improve its efficiency and insulation. A modern solar heat pump, for example, uses only a third of the power of the old technology. And while this is one of the larger financial outlays for a home, it adds instantly to the value of your home and will save you significant amounts of money on your bill each month.

If you can’t afford a whole new system, then at least invest in better insulation for the geyser, putting it on a timer, and lowering the temperature setting. This is especially important if you have youngsters in the house who are just old enough to turn on taps and get some nasty burns in the process. 
Water Heating
Water Heating

Get technical

If you love your gadgets, then a veritable smorgasbord of energy saving contraptions are to be found online! From smart switches that prevent appliances from becoming energy vampires, programmable thermostats, low flow showerheads, the latest energy efficient pressure cookers and LED lights that can last up to 25 years – there’s a real treasure trove of stuff out there to help you save energy the smart way.  Energy efficient doors are not only a great solution for saving money on your monthly bills, but a fantastic way to reduce energy consumption.

Solar panels and photovoltaic cells

Solar Panels
Solar Panels
While this is definitely one of the more expensive options, a good solar installation combined with energy efficient home design takes you much closer to the dream of going off grid entirely. Many installers have pre-existing calculators that can give you a good estimate of how much energy your solar system would be able to contribute based on where you live. If you’re serious about doing your bit to save the planet, then this is one of the best ways you can contribute. Not only does your reduced footprint help, but you're spending money on an industry that creates jobs in clean energy and helping to drive prices down through your support too. 

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