There is a new drive to make homes more energy-efficient these days, and modern plans and technology have helped increase efficiency for many homes already.

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Homeowners love to increase efficiency as doing so can often lead to commensurate savings on household utility bills. To aid in this process, we’ve compiled the following seven tips for anyone who wants to maximize both their home’s efficiency and their savings.

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Start Composting

Food waste is one of the largest sources of climate change according to the WWF. Aside from actively reducing food waste, one way to help reduce one’s impact in this area is to start composting. This is a simple and cost-effective way to help divert your food waste away from a landfill and back towards a useful purpose – as a fertilizer. Even if you don’t need the fertilizer, your avid gardener neighbor would love it.

Tint Your Windows

A lesser-known way to make your home more energy efficient is by tinting your windows. Not only can this help reduce radiant heating and lower AC bills, but window tinting can also help reduce annoying glare and damage, such as fading, from happening to items left exposed to the sun inside the house.

The proper type of tinting for your home will largely be dependent on your local weather and other circumstances. For example, those looking for residential window tinting in Charlotte, NC will likely need a different product when compared to those in Miami, FL. 

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Seal Drafty Windows and Doors

The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that up to 30% of a home’s heating or cooling loss may be from windows. If you have noticed that certain windows around your house have been drafty lately, it may be time to plug any noticeable gaps with a temporary foam or putty.

The gap underneath doors can also be a potential source of heat loss, this heat loss can be stemmed by using a physical barrier such as a door snake to block airflow. Additionally, making a door snake can be a fun way to involve the whole family in a DIY project. Take air leaks seriously, as the more air that can easily enter and leave the home, the harder your HVAC system will need to work in order to heat or cool the space. 

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Change Up Your Landscaping

The EPA estimates that 30% of the average American’s water use is tied to outdoor sources. Most often this is water that is used to keep gardens and lawns alive and lush during the dog days of summer. By making simple changes to your plantings, you can likely reduce the amount of water your gardening requires – all without sacrificing the verdant look we all desire when enjoying our outdoors. One simple switch is to get rid of any turfgrass you may have and replace it with less water-intensive greenery, such as moss. 

Another option is to increase shade. Whether this is adding a pergola, or strategically planting some shady trees, shade is a great way to reduce the amount of water needed for irrigation. 

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Check Your Thermostat

If you haven’t checked in with your thermostat in a while, it is probably time for a refresher course. There have been great advances in smart and programmable thermostats in recent years that have made keeping your heating and cooling energy-efficient even easier. Upgrading to a smart thermostat is a task that most homeowners can handle, even if they aren’t super handy around the house. Plus, these programmable, smart thermostats are have made leaps and bounds in terms of affordability. 

One way to make your home more efficient by using your existing thermostat is by getting into the habit of lowering your home’s temperature when you leave. The Department of Energy estimates that lowering your thermostat by ten degrees when you leave home could save you 10-15% on heating costs for the year – especially when you leave on vacation or longer periods in general. Just be sure that you aren’t keeping things too low during the cold winter months when pipes freezing becomes a harsh and expensive reality.  

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Consider a New Roof

A hot trend in the energy-efficiency space these days is the cool roof. A cool roof is exactly what it sounds like it would be: a roof that naturally reflects and dissipates heat instead of retaining it as a standard roof would. Typically, such roofs are required to be lighter in color to work efficiently, but similar benefits can be had with darker roofs when a reflective film is applied over the top. Be sure to shop around as replacing a roof (especially adding an extra protective element liking cooling) can be a spendy venture.

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See If Your Insulation Is Up to Par

If you don’t know when the last time you checked on your home’s insulation situation is, it’s probably time to find out what you’re dealing with. Recommendations for how much insulation is recommended and where has changed greatly in the past few decades. If you’re still relying on insulation installed in the 1970s or earlier, it likely won’t be as energy efficient as it should be and could be the cause of an energy sink in your home.