Purchasing a home is a big step in the course of your life. If you want to be sure your home is a match, you must do your research. There are many factors to consider:
How many bedrooms do you want?
Do you need a garage?
What about central air?
Would you like a pool?
And, these questions could be easily answered if you’re looking for an energy-efficient home.
Considering energy efficiency may add to the stress of purchasing a home — it’s just one more aspect to investigate—but the rewards to choosing an energy-efficient home may well be worth it. Energy efficient homes save you in monthly expenditures—this is a given. Solar paneling alone may eliminate your electric bill altogether. Investing in energy efficiency also cuts down on your home’s carbon footprint.
Here are some things to consider if you’re in the market for buying an energy efficient
1- EnerGuide Rating
The EnerGuide rating is one of the most basic things you need to consider when investigating energy-efficient homes. The EnerGuide compares the energy performance of houses based on standard operation assumptions. Basically, it shows how energy efficient the home is. The scale goes from 0 to 100, with 0 representing a home with very high energy consumption and 100 representing a home with no required purchased energy on an annual basis.
A brand new house with a rating of 80 or higher is considered excellent in energy efficiency. Homes with a 65-72 rating are those just built to code. A 73-79 rating means that the home has a few energy-efficient improvements. An energy-efficient new home will get a rating of 80-90, and a house requiring little or no purchased energy will have a 91-100 rating.
2- Old vs. new
Very rarely will you run across an old home that was built for energy efficiency. Most homes aren’t built with energy efficiency in mind. Instead, they are “upgraded” to cut down on energy costs. Most homes can be made at least 30% more energy-efficient with energy-efficiency improvements. However, if you want the most efficient home, your best bet is with a home that was originally built for energy-efficiency.
Once a home is built, it is more difficult and more costly to improve its energy efficiency. Retrofitting an older house can cut its energy usage, but you won’t get the most bang for your buck. If you’re looking for the most energy efficient home, your best option is one that was originally built for just that.
3- Solar panels
Now to the specifics of your potential cost-cutting, energy-saving home. Solar energy is an aspect anyone looking for an energy-efficient home should consider. Buying a home with solar panels is a little more expensive, but well worth it in the long run. Solar panels dramatically lower electricity bills. Most homeowners who use solar energy experience at least a 50% decrease of their electrical expenses. Some even cut their electricity bill out of their budget completely. With electricity costs on the rise, this is a very smart investment. Over 25 years, you could experience a 200% return on that investment.
Solar panels also reduce your carbon footprint and help to conserve natural resources. Households generate carbon dioxide through electrical use, and carbon dioxide creates global warming. Also, powering your home means using coal and nuclear energy. Using sunlight reduces coal and nuclear energy usage, while conserving the water used to produce those materials.
Solar panels are the aces of energy efficiency. Anyone looking for an energy-efficient home should consider producing solar energy.
4- Home insulation
Energy costs go up when heating or cooling your home. A home that implements effective insulation can cut down on energy consumption and costs. To maintain comfort, heat lost in the winter must be replaced by your heating system and heat gained in the summer must be removed by your cooling system. A home that is properly insulated will provide effective resistance to heat flow and decrease the need to turn up the heating or cooling system.
Those looking for an energy-efficient home should take a look at the home insulation’s thermal resistance or R-value. The R-value depends on the type of insulation, its thickness, its density, and how and where it is installed. Insulation that is compressed will not give you the full R-value. Installing more insulation will increase the R-value, and the higher the R-value, the more energy efficient the home is, so make sure you know the R-value of your potential home’s insulation.
5- Window tinting
Window tinting is yet another way that a home conserves energy. Keeping your home cool in the summer and warm in the winter depends on your home’s ability to neutralize the outside temperature. Window tinting is an energy-saving strategy that reduces incoming heat. Some window tinting models can reduce your home’s increase in temperature up to eight degrees.
Not only can window tinting cool homes by up to 60% and reduce cooling needs, it's also a tax-deductible expense in some provinces. If you’re looking for your dream, energy-saving home in a warm climate, window tinting is certainly an option you should consider.