4 Savvy Energy-Saving Tips

Without energy, your home would not be the place it is. The memories, convenience, and hominess require energy. But energy is often the last thing you think about because it is a subtle expense. It’s an expense you have grown accustomed to, without question. Perhaps the lack of deep-thinking is because energy prices are out of your control or because you are not regularly made aware of your energy spending. These simple energy-saving tips can have long-term financial benefits and enhance the resale value of your home.

Energy-Saving Tip #1: Consider a More Efficient Heating System

42% Of your home’s annual energy consumption goes to heating and cooling your home. That means of the 11,135 kWh Canadian homes consume annually on average, 4,676 kWh goes to heating and cooling. Therefore, this is the first area you are sure to notice significant savings after making strategic changes. Consider the following energy-saving tips related to heating your home:

a)    Turn Your Attention to the Furnace:

If you are heating your home using a gas or oil furnace, with minimal electric usage, your greatest savings will not come through less kWh usage; instead, it will be efficiency. Even the most efficient gas furnaces only operate at a maximum of 90% efficiency. Additionally, if you have an older furnace (anything older than 1995), your furnace is possibly only 65% efficient.

Switching to an electric furnace ensures you keep 100% of the heat you generate, reducing the hours you use your furnace.

Additionally, as more homes upgrade to electric furnaces, your home may also benefit from the value potential buyers associate with electric furnaces.

b)   Address Possible Heating Inefficiencies:

If you don’t want to make the switch to an electric furnace or energy-efficient gas furnace, consider how much heat you lose because of heat leaks. Then add up those costs.

Windows, doors, wiring, vents, and even your attic can all be heat leaks, which increases how much you spend on heating your home. The EPA estimates that increasing the amount and /or quality of insulation in your attic and crawl spaces can save 15% (or around $200 a year) on your heating costs. Replacing your windows with double-pane windows can help you save $22 annually while reducing your footprint.

You can also examine heat leaks with a specialist to determine what needs changing.

In fact, NB Power offers a Home Energy Evaluation. For $99, a Certified Energy Advisor will evaluate your home – from the attic to the basement- to find out where your home needs upgrades. Your initial Home Energy Evaluation will give you customized recommendations to improve your home’s space and water heating energy efficiency. You could also be eligible for free energy savings products!

Energy-Saving Tip #2: Get Energy Efficient Appliances

Energy-efficient appliances are more than trendy; they can save you a substantial amount annually, especially if you’re replacing years-old appliances. For example, older model refrigerators use 66% more electricity than newer, energy-rated models. Considering that appliances take up 14% of your annual energy costs, making savings of 34% on your usual appliance electricity usage adds up quickly.

Energy-Saving Tip #3: Upgrade Your Lighting

Perhaps the most common of all energy-saving tips! While lighting consumes the least amount of electricity, only 9% of your annual consumption, it is the most cost-effective way to dip your toes in the realm of energy-saving. LED lights consume as much as 80% less electricity than incandescent light bulbs and last much longer – they last fifty times longer than incandescent light bulbs. Therefore, by the time they’re at the end of their lifespan, they will have paid back the initial investment many times over.

Energy-Saving Tip #4: Invest in a Smart Thermostat

If you want more control over your energy costs, a smart thermostat is the best option. With an estimated $70 to $90 annual savings and an initial charge of $330, a smart thermostat also has a short payback period. Since these thermostats offer remote access, you can change the temperature of a room and get real-time insight into your home’s heat consumption even when you are not there. Additionally, smart thermostats gather data to ensure they can better predict your temperature requirements, therefore eliminating the need to manage your temperature requirements.

How to Calculate Your Energy Saving Cost

The goal of these energy-saving tips is ultimately to save money. However, saving energy is priceless because the changes you make now directly impact the environment and your standard of living.

But for many homeowners, whether energy-saving is worthwhile may boil down to dollars and cents, and what makes the most sense now. To do this, you should split the cost between the short-term and long-term factors of making the switch to more energy-saving alternatives. These factors will help you determine whether energy-saving is the right choice for you.

Short Term Considerations

If you are already in the process of renovating or remodelling your home, these short-term concerns will help you determine what will have the best ROI if you upgrade to energy-efficient alternatives.

Initial Cost

How much is an energy-efficient upgrade going to cost you now in comparison to keeping your current setup or using a less efficient option? If repairs or replacements aren’t looming, the initial cost of upgrading an appliance may not be worth it in the next year or so. But, if you are in the market for an upgrade, energy-efficient options maintain their value while adding value to your home, making them an advantageous option.

Annual Savings

If you’re only interested in short-term savings over the next two to three years, consider your usage into account. How much will you save annually from making the upgrade, and how long will it take to pay off the initial cost with this saving? If you’ll pay off an upgrade through its savings in three years, it only makes sense to choose an energy-saving option.

Appliance Age

An ageing appliance or furnace needs to be replaced irrespective of its energy efficiency. Consequently, if you are replacing something in your home because of its age, energy-efficient alternatives are going to have the most significant short and long-term pay-off.

Condition of Your Appliances

Similarly, to age, an appliance or household item that’s condition is diminishing needs to be replaced. If something is on its last legs, it makes sense to replace it with an energy-efficient alternative and pay a few extra bucks now, to make long-term savings. You’ll also realize that the cost of an upgrade is significantly less than the cost of maintaining an older appliance.

Long Term Considerations

If nothing in your home is in dire need of repair or replacement, you can still consider the long-term implications of delaying or foregoing energy-efficient renovations or changes.

Spending on Maintenance

Before you invest in an upgrade, consider how much you are spending on maintaining your current setup and whether upgrading will eradicate or decrease that expense. Although an energy-efficient option may cost more, the cost of maintenance can be considerably less, and therefore, you make up the cost-difference through less maintenance.

Resale Value of Your Property

When it’s time to put your home on the market, a furnace from the ’80s, which isn’t such a big deal to you, might be a dealbreaker for a new couple who wants modern and more efficient options. The same can be said for kitchen appliances – this space is so important to homebuyers, and outdated appliances can be distracting and cause them to focus on the expensive cost to replace them. Therefore, holding onto an old – yet still in working order appliance or item – can affect your future sale prospects and make it far more expensive to unload your property when you do want to sell, as you’ll have to spend money on the upgrades at that time.

The Lifespan of an Appliance or Item

If you are not planning to sell your home in the foreseeable future, going the energy-efficient route can still be advantageous. The most significant advantage being repaying the initial cost of the upgrade during an appliance’s lifespan, essentially making the upgrade pay for itself. Because while a less efficient appliance or household upgrade may save a few bucks now, it can add up to hundreds of energy dollars over the next couple of years, which you could avoid with an energy-efficient upgrade.

The choice to make the energy-saving switch can be daunting. After all, some energy-efficient alternatives are known for their hefty price tags. However, price tags aside, the true cost of your choice to either upgrade to energy-efficient options or remain with low-efficiency is the dollars you waste annually by not making the switch. Maintenance, increasing electricity tariffs, and loss in your property’s resale value make the short-term savings of keeping your low-efficient household items less of a savvy one when compared to the savings you make from upgrading.

If you’re still in two-minds after reading all these energy-saving tips, consider talking to a real estate or energy professional to understand the benefits in real-terms and according to your circumstance. The expert REALTORS® at The Right Choice Realty are here to help guide you through any phase of the real estate market.

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