Energy-saving Home Innovations: Earth and budget-friendly

Financial Responsibility, Money Saving Tips, Saving & Investing | Tuesday, September 27th, 2016

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The world of energy efficiency is changing rapidly and changing the face of the residential ecosystem. However, there are many problems that inhibit the progress in the field. Low-income households are in a precarious position because they cannot afford the necessary improvements. Also, there are a lot of stakeholders with their own distinctive goals, including tenants, landlords, utility companies, creditors, etc. On the brighter note, trends like retrofitting, novel design, and new collaboration opportunities are turning this unfavorable picture around.

Winds of change

New business models and strategies now encourage the integration of energy-saving solutions. Stakeholders share information online and tailor their solutions to the local context. As a result, a low-income housing sector has seized to be a charitable endeavor. Today, it is a viable market with immense economic potential. Housing agencies have started to consider capital investments with longer payback periods, and are breaking new ground as we speak. Even utility companies are more inclined to accept a long-horizon payback. As for states themselves, residential energy efficiency is one of the least costly ways to meet pollution reduction objectives.

It’s easy being green

This line of thinking should be endorsed by homeowners and renters as well. The up-front costs may put you off, but when you make an effort to think in the long term, the situation is much different. The green battle is fought on two main fronts: Eliminating the waste and improving energy efficiency. The popular programs in affordable housing locations allow people to achieve energy savings up to 30%. Across the globe, energy-efficient homes are popping up like mushrooms after the rain. Some of them are capable of producing enough energy to satisfy the annual requirements, while others even manage to exceed them, generating a surplus of power.

A win-win scenario

Boosted energy-efficiency is a true money-saver. We have witnessed the rise of home certification programs in the league of Energy Star, LEED, and Passive House. They serve as a guiding light when measuring energy efficiency. An Energy Star-labeled home, for example, reduces greenhouse emissions (GHG) by two metric tons annually. It helps local governments accomplish their environmental goals, but also enables households to save money. Namely, home appliances account for a bulk of energy consumption, including the biggest devourers like refrigerators. The good news is that you shouldn’t have trouble finding appliance stores with affordable prices.

A breath of fresh air

HVAC systems are a heart and soul of domestic energy savings, and they’re getting more and more efficient. They support a frugal and healthy living at its best: Apart from lowering utility bills, solid ventilation systems nurture an optimal indoor climate with stable temperatures. This gives birth to even heat, lower humidity levels, better air quality, and fewer pollutants. One can start small, with a mini-split heat pump or a Nest smart thermostat, and bring down the energy waste step-by-step. These appliances are smart in a sense that they learn your habits and living patterns, automatically setting the most optimal programs.

With a bang

Finally, insulation is the backbone of energy-efficiency, as it lowers the heating and cooling requirements. The first step is to take care of air sealing and address weak spots like doors and windows. Insulation improvements range from a few hundred to few thousand dollars, but they bring the most bang for the buck. There are also many stunning, top-of-the-line innovations like HP Wall Systems. They are structural insulated wall assemblies that provide R-34 in a 2×4 construction, while also enhancing the structural performance. The price may not suit all budgets, but benefit comes in the form of reduced costs of living for years to come.

Domestic green revolution

Third-party raters, market boom, technological advancements, all these developments have created a fertile ground for affordable housings to flourish. Energy-efficient solutions are gaining traction, although there are many more steps to be taken. It is necessary to think beyond up-front costs and grasp the bigger picture. Energy improvements don’t make housing just more affordable, they preserve occupants’ (financial) health and wellbeing. So, save energy, reduce the GHG emissions, and limit your environmental impact with smart home improvements.

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