More and more families these days are considering sustainable options when house hunting for cost-efficiency and health reasons, in addition to wanting to protect the environment. The growing eco industry means more contractors are conscious of how they build homes as well.

What defines an energy-efficient home?

An energy-efficient home is designed to conserve and reduce energy use. A home’s construction, appliances, and major features can all impact efficiency, so there’s plenty to consider when shopping for your first energy-efficient home. Below I’ve put together a list of the top 5 features that will help you raise the standards.

1. Take a Look at the Insulation

First things first ! Insulation is vital when maintaining the temperature in your house. It prevents the thermal transfer from inside to the outside of your house, so your heating and cooling systems don’t have to work too hard.

Cooling alone accounts for 16% of residential energy consumption, so it’s important to know how your home is insulated. Ask your home inspector to make sure the home’s insulation is effective and in good shape — especially if you’re considering buying an older home.

2. Consider Your Home’s Size and Shape 

Your home’s size and shape can have a surprising impact on its energy-efficiency. A large home requires more raw materials to build and has a large surface area with increased opportunities for heat transfer and drafts, so the extra space will cost more to heat and cool.

The home’s shape can impact efficiency, too. Open floor plans and rooms with high-ceilings are harder to keep warm. These rooms have more space to heat, which requires extra energy to keep things comfortable. Homes with more doors and walls create confined spaces, so your heating and cooling use less energy to maintain the temperature.

3. Make sure the Appliances are Energy Certified 

EPA-certified, energy-efficient appliances are certifications that help consumers choose energy-efficient products, just look for the blue Energy Star mark on certified appliances.

4. Ensure that Windows and Doors are Insulated

The entry points to your home can drain your home’s energy use. The Department of Energy estimates that 25% to 30% of residential energy from heating and cooling your home is lost through windows.

Be sure to consider your windows or doors. Windows, in particular, have advanced over the years and you may want to replace older, single-pane windows. Depending on the climate you live in, it may be worth considering storm windows, extra panes, or even gas-filled windows to help insulate your home.

5. Switch to energy efficient lighting.

According to Energy.gov in the USA “When you switch to energy-efficient lighting, you can light your home using the same amount of light for less money. Lighting accounts for around 15% of an average home’s electricity use, and the average household saves about $225 in energy costs per year by using LED lighting. if you are still using incandescent light bulbs, switching to energy-efficient lighting is one of the fastest ways to cut your energy bills. For high-quality products with the greatest energy savings, choose bulbs that have earned the ENERGY STAR.”

Like I said, these are just a few of the many things that you can do to bring out the best in your energy efficient home, however the government of Canada has a comprehensive list of things that you can do to improve the quality of your home even more.

Don’t forget to check out our blog for more interesting articles and topics related to improvements for your home.

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