How To Achieve Energy Efficient Homes

open window with countryside viewOne of the many things that homeowners strive for is to have an energy efficient home.  Achieving energy efficient status has benefits for both the environment and the bank account, and it is doable if you follow some specific tips.

Keep Your Furnace Clean

Your furnace is one of the main points of interest when it comes to your home’s energy efficiency.  When it is running at peak efficiency it uses less energy to do the same job, and costs less to run.

It’s wise to replace your furnace filter every couple months or when it gets dirty, to maximize airflow and let it run more efficiently.  It’s also a good idea to stay in a regular maintenance schedule and upgrade if you have an older model.

Turn It Down

Another tip for energy efficiency is to lower your thermostat during times no one is home or everyone in the house is sleeping.  You can try a programmable thermostat or manually turn it down 4 to 5 degrees Celsius at night or when everyone is out.  Many health experts state that sleeping in a slightly cooler environment is preferable, anyway.

Go Cold

One easy adjustment you can make to become more energy efficient is to do your laundry in cold water instead of hot water.  Almost all of the energy used to do laundry is used to heat the water, so if you use cold water, you’ll save a lot of it.  Also, only do full loads to save even more, and choose a front-loading washer if possible. 

Windows and Doors

Any homeowner that pays attention knows that a lot of energy in the form of heat or cool air is lost through windows and doors.  Installing energy efficient windows and doors is a great way to keep that energy on the inside where it belongs so you can stop ‘heating or cooling the neighbourhood’.

If you aren’t in the position to install new windows and doors, you can modify the ones you have with things like weather stripping, sealant or caulking and plastic window coverings.  If possible, open up drapes and blinds to let the sun in during the day for some natural heat, and close them up at night.  Try your best not to let the windows and doors in your home waste too much energy and raise your energy costs.


Investing in Windows and Doors That Prevent Condensation

Condensation happens when the temperature of an external glass surface on windows or doors is lower than the dew point (temperature where water vapors begin to liquefy) in the outside air which is 65 to 75 degrees in Southern regions. Winter condensation occurs Imagewhen the inside surface of the glass is cooler than the dew point temperature within the home.

*The region you live in.
*The number and types of glass units in the home.
*The type of double glazing system on the glass units.

As a result, it may be challenging to tackle condensation due to these factors within different homes. Three product options to eliminate condensation is Argon-gas-filled units, warm edge technology and Low-E glass.

Argon Gas
In order to stabilize air flow between the panes of glass units, a gas must be used that is slow-moving, less penetrable, and reduces heat transfer between the inside and outside. The overall performance of Argon gas meets these needs. Once this gas is installed and sealed into a window, it is denser than regular air, and has an optimal spacing of about 11-13mm or 1/2 inch.

Warm Edge Technology
The biggest downside of Argon-filled glass units is that they perform better in colder parts of the country than they do in warmer regions. Warm edge products are designed to reduce condensation as well as energy loss for homeowners. “Warm edge” refers to the construction materials on the edge of a double glazed unit that transfers less heat or cold than conventional construction double glazed units or standard aluminum spacers in windows.

Many homeowners are unaware that condensation and energy loss are related, and up to 80% of energy is lost via the glass’ edge. Double glazed windows fitted with warm edge spacer tube can help reduce condensation on your sealed glass unit by up to 70%. Warm edge also significantly reduces the difference in temperature between the edge and center of the glass unit and up to a 94% reduced thermal loss at the external edge. The most innovative warm edge spacers can contract and expand due to fluctuating temperatures without losing its original structure.

Low-E Glass
Low-E glass is designed to absorb radiant heat (IR light). There are various grades or types of Low E glass: pyrolytic, sputtered, soft-coat, hard-coat and solar selective. The performance of Low E film also depends on how it is positioned in the glass unit.

A Low-E coating on a glass unit has a tendency to warm the inside surface in the winter, and the external surface from the sunlight in summertime. It will also reduce the external surface temperature at night. Although their is increased potential of more condensation forming in the summertime due to the Low-E film, it is still a good product overall to prevent condensation, UV damage, and reduce energy loss overall. As an extra incentive, homeowners purchasing Low-E glass units are also eligible for energy rebates.