Worldwide, energy costs are rising steadily. In the US, the average cost of electricity per kWh in August 2022 was $0.167; in July 2023, it was $0.169, and in August 2023, it increased to $0.170. This gradual but constant increase in electricity prices has forced more American households to think of energy-efficient upgrades in their houses.
Opting for energy-efficient improvements is even more urgent, especially in places like Riverside, CA. People in Riverside spend an average of $316 monthly on electricity, approximately $3,792 annually. That’s around 44% higher than the country’s average electric bill, which is $2606.
Opting for energy-efficient upgrades allows you to cut utility costs and reduce your carbon footprint, enabling you to create a sustainable world for the coming generations.
Below, we explore top energy-efficient upgrades for your house.
- Install energy-efficient windows
Windows are attractive features in every house, providing ventilation and extra light. Modern windows with special features also offer energy efficiency, allowing you to save big on your energy costs.
According to Energy Star, energy-efficient windows offer the following benefits:
- Saves money on electricity bills; a typical home can save from $101 to $583 on their electricity bills per year.
- Reduce annual greenhouse emissions (1,006–6,205 pounds of CO2) by limiting energy use.
- Enhance comfort by sealing cold drafts and eliminating overheated spaces.
Replacing your old windows with energy-efficient ones is especially beneficial if you live in a place like Riverside, with a warm and arid climate varying between 43°F to 94°F. Energy-efficient windows can protect you from the effects of heat. To find the best window replacement company in your area, search online for reliable experts using keywords like Top Riverside Window Replacement company near me and get a free cost estimate.
- Install smart thermostat
Smart thermostats are gaining popularity because they make your house comfortable while allowing you to save on your electricity bills.
Smart thermostats can understand your heating and cooling preferences and manage your house’s internal temperature accordingly. In addition, they enable them to control your home’s HVAC system remotely through voice assistant or your smartphone app. If you are coming home after a long day and want to be welcomed by a comfortable home environment, simply log into your smart thermostat app to set your temperature preference for the day.
The US Department of Energy also encourages homeowners to install smart thermostats. According to a report published on energy.gov, homeowners can reduce their energy bills by 10% annually by using thermostats.
Furthermore, a smart thermostat documents your energy consumption, allowing you to see how energy usage in your house is changing and what can be done to decrease the cost.
- Install solar panels
Solar panels are not a new technology, yet many households have not installed them yet. Solar panels power your house with the sun’s renewable energy, decreasing your dependence on fossil fuels.
Energy produced using fossil fuels is not only expensive but also deteriorates your environment due to greenhouse gas emissions. Consequently, installing solar panels will not only help you save energy costs but also reduce your ecological footprint. Depending on your usage and location, they can break even in a few years.
According to a study conducted by Zillow, solar panels can increase your house’s appraisal value by 4.1% (on average). However, it’s important to note that these values may fluctuate depending on your local solar market and location.
- Insulate your house
Proper insulation optimizes your house’s temperature, keeping it cool in summer and warm in winter. Insulation discourages air leaks from windows, cracks, around your electrical channels, and doors. A well-insulated house is, therefore, more energy-efficient.
Insulation prevents your heating and cooling systems from working as hard to provide a comfortable living atmosphere. This, in turn, reduces your utility bills.
Noise can be a common concern for homeowners, particularly in busy areas with heavy traffic. Insulating areas like the attic or exterior walls can significantly reduce noise pollution. Furthermore, you can also save your neighbors from noise coming from your house. When selecting a material for insulation, consider something with a high R-value (resistance value), such as rigid foam.
- Install water-saving technologies
In an era where water scarcity is a pressing issue in many parts of the world, saving water through water-saving fixtures is essential.
Installing water-saving fixtures, such as dual flush toilets and low-flow showerheads, has several benefits.
- Water-saving fixtures can save significantly on water bills as they use less water while maintaining performance.
- Freshwater is a finite resource; using water-saving fixtures can help you conserve it for future generations.
- Reduces strain on the local water sources and environment
- Less fresh water usage translates into a reduced volume of wastewater produced, lowering the burden on wastewater treatment facilities.
- It gives you peace of mind knowing that you are doing your part and provides relief and satisfaction.
- Switch to energy-efficient appliances
A typical household uses various appliances such as refrigerators, washing machines, ovens, blenders, etc. Opting for energy-efficient appliances allows you to reduce your electricity consumption and costs.
The easiest way to identify energy-efficient appliances from a range of options in the market is to find the Energy Star-certified ones. This label indicates that the machine follows energy efficiency guidelines set by the USEPA.
While energy-efficient appliances may have a higher initial cost, their cost of ownership is significantly less because of reduced energy and maintenance costs.
Many energy-efficient appliances incorporate advanced technology and design, offering improved performance, durability, and functionality.
Moreover, a home equipped with energy-efficient modern appliances can fetch a higher resale value by attracting eco-conscious buyers.
- Switch to LED lighting
LED lighting can easily make your home more energy-efficient. LED lights require 90% less electricity than traditional incandescent bulbs while offering the same or even better illumination.
In addition, LED lights last longer and are more durable, requiring you to replace them less frequently. Modern LED lights can last as long as 50,000 to 100,000 hours or more, while an average incandescent bulb has a maximum lifespan of 1,200 operating hours.
LED lights also don’t emit much heat or UV rays. So, choosing LED lights over traditional lights is a win-win in every aspect.
In 2023 and beyond, energy efficiency and conservation of resources will remain a hot topic, and rightly so. The world needs initiatives that mitigate the impact of human activity on the planet. By making the upgrades proposed in the article above, you can do your part to keep the planet safe while reducing your electricity bills. You can also ensure that your house is integrated with the most efficient and modern technology.