If you’re planning to remodel around the house, it’s a good idea to go beyond new kitchen countertops and bathroom tile that look good and think about changes for energy efficiency. Particularly in older homes, these considerations will actually pay for themselves over the long run with energy savings.
Replace an older refrigerator, dishwasher, washer, dryer or other major appliance with a model that’s more energy efficient. Energy Star-certified appliances use 10%–50% less energy than other models, which can accumulate into some serious savings.
Update your windows. Swapping older, single-pane windows for double-pane windows with low-emissivity, argon-filled glass will keep heat out of your home during the summer and keep it in during the winter.
Upgrade your furnace. If your furnace is on its last legs, consult with an expert before replacing it with something similar. One of the most important features for energy efficiency in a furnace is its size. If you buy one that’s too small, it won’t be able to keep your home warm on the coldest days. A furnace that’s too big can warm your house up too quickly and then shut itself off because the house is too warm, so parts of the house are hot and others are cold.
Use energy-efficient lighting. When you replace fixtures, choose LED lighting. Over the years, manufacturers have added tons of styles. They’re long-lasting, energy efficient, hard to break and cool to the touch.
Install a smart or programmable thermostat. This technology allows you to automatically adjust the temperature according to your schedule. During winter months, set the temperature a few degrees cooler while you’re away and at night, then return it to a comfortable temperature when you’re at home and awake.
Look at new water heater technologies like tankless systems or heat pump systems, which are much more energy efficient.