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Here's Why Energy Efficiency Matters in Your Home


Posted on October 30th, 2020 at 4:42 PM
Here's Why Energy Efficiency Matters in Your Home

From the materials Maleno uses to insulate our new homes to the types of windows we install to let summer’s breeze in and keep the winter’s bluster out, we’re always working to find new ways to increase energy efficiency in our new construction. To understand why energy-efficient homes are so important, we’re exploring what exactly makes a house energy efficient, how being energy efficient saves homeowners money in the long run, and how living in an energy-efficient home helps the environment.

What is Energy Efficiency?

Simply put, “energy efficiency” means using less energy to perform the same action, whether it is washing your clothes, running your dishwasher, or heating or cooling your home. And, if you use less energy, your electricity or gas bills will decrease. According to the Environmental and Energy Study Institute, aside from lowering your monthly utility costs, benefits of energy efficiency include:

  • Reduced greenhouse gas emissions
  • Less dependency on imported energy

Make an Older Home More Efficient

When purchasing a new home, buyers may want to look for a property’s energy-efficiency rating. However, not everyone is in the market for a new home. Don’t fret if you’re looking to stay put; there are other ways to save money by making wise consumer decisions and modifying your habits in your current home.

Here are six ways to curb energy costs:

  1. Light It Up Right

Replace incandescent bulbs with Energy Star-certified LEDs. According to Energy Star, LEDs:

    • use up to 90 percent less energy
    • last at least 15 times longer
    • and save about $50 in electricity costs per LED bulb
  1. Keep it Cool

Ditch the heat and wash clothes in cold water. Not only will you slow the color fading of your favorite apparel, but you’ll also save on your gas bill and reduce the amount of synthetic microfibers that wind up in our oceans.

According to Ocean Clean Wash, these microfibers contribute up to a staggering 35% of all plastic pollution in the oceans. While some particulate matter is released regardless of your water temperature, studies show that reducing time and temperature in laundry could have major environmental benefits.

There is also another energy eater when it comes to doing laundry: your lint trap. Clean your dryer’s lint filter every time you use it for better airflow.

  1. Filter it Out

Remember to replace your furnace filters! Clogged filters make your HVAC system work harder and run longer than necessary. Decrease your monthly gas bills and reduce the amount of wear and tear on your furnace by swapping out those dirty filters for new ones.

  1. Air Dry Your Dishes

It’s convenient to have your dishwasher do all the work, but a heated drying cycle does increase your energy bill. Let dishes air-dry instead of using the heated option in the dishwasher. According to Hunker, using your dishwashers drying cycle uses at least 15 percent more energy than air-drying. Save some money and the environment by air-drying your dishes or using a cloth to wipe them down.

  1. Upgrade Your Windows

You would be amazed at how much windows impact our home’s energy efficiency. Energy.gov estimates that PA homeowners can save an average of $366 a year on heating and cooling costs by replacing single-pane windows, and $134 a year by replacing double-pane windows. If you don’t have the funds to update your windows, be sure to check the caulking and weather stripping.

  1. Get Smart

Invest in a programmable “smart” thermostat. Program your thermostat so that you're not pumping heat or air conditioning into an empty home. According to Energy.gov, homeowners can save as much as 10 percent annually on heating and cooling bills by turning their thermostat down 7-10 degrees in the winter (or up in the summer) for eight hours a day from its usual setting. 

How Maleno Constructs Energy-Efficient Homes

Another option is to purchase a new home with up-to-date energy efficiency standards. While new construction is a substantial investment, your monthly bills may ultimately be lower (plus, you’ll have a brand-new home that’s tailored to your exact needs).

According to Energy Star, as much as 40 percent of the energy used to heat and cool a typical house is lost due to air leakage. This means that you may be losing nearly half of the money you spend to heat or cool your home! Maleno’s team of expert builders construct homes that are energy efficient in the following ways:

  • Top-quality insulation. Maleno uses foam insulation from Demilec, the industry leaders in spray foam insulation. Demilec foam maximizes energy efficiency by providing an air, vapor, and moisture barrier. Foam is superior to fiberglass insulation because it expands to fill air gaps.
  • Thicker frame construction. In addition to top-of-the-line insulation, Maleno builds exterior walls with a 2 x 6-foot frame construction, as opposed to 2 x 4 walls. The wider boards provide two additional inches of insulation. The more insulated a home is, the less it will leak hot or cool air and waste energy.
  • Strong foundations. Maleno uses Superior Walls foundations, which are certified by the National Green Building Standard for their high efficiency. They offer a more substantial thermal break than traditional foundations, so less heat escapes.
  • Airtight windows. Maleno installs Simonton Energy Star-certified products, which provide up to $580 annual energy cost savings. As a certified installer using a certified installer program, Maleno is able to offer a variety of exclusive warranties on the windows we use. Reach out to Maleno for details.

Fun Fact: Maleno won the 2019 Energy Efficiency and Sustainability Award from FirstEnergy for our environmental-friendly home building process. 

How Energy Efficiency Helps the Environment

In addition to the money-saving perks of making your home more energy-efficient, it’s also simply the right thing to do. Most electricity in the United States is made using fossil fuels such as coal and natural gas. When you use less electricity and gas, it reduces your dependence on carbon-intensive power plants. As a result, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reports fewer greenhouse gases and other air pollution will be released into the atmosphere.

Energy.gov says, “energy efficiency is one of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to combat climate change, clean the air we breathe, improve the competitiveness of our businesses, and reduce energy costs for consumers.” To learn more about how to lessen your household’s impact on the environment, check out the EPA’s carbon footprint calculator

Build a Home That’s Right For You

Whether you’re improving your home's efficiency or are exploring the idea of building a new home, energy efficiency will help both your wallet and the environment.

From the high-efficiency appliances we install in our new homes to the superior foam insulation we utilize, Maleno’s custom home builders team constructs beautiful, environmentally-friendly homes with the homeowners’ comfort in mind. Our homes are designed to help you save your hard-earned money and be good stewards of the environment. Additionally, all of our custom-built houses are air tested by a third party using a blower door test to make sure they are airtight.

Maleno has built more than 1,000 homes in the Erie, Pennsylvania area, and our homes follow all  energy-efficient performance standards. For a free consultation, visit Maleno’s contact page and reach out today.

 

Contributed by Matt Flowers

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