The development and future of energy efficiency in the home

Efficient and renewable energy for the home has come a long way, so freelance contributor Luke Bailey recaps on some of the advice installers can offer their eco-minded customers

Optimising the energy efficiency in your home is one of the most important investments you can make in your future. Not only will it increase the home’s value, it will save you money in energy costs starting immediately. It can keep you cooler in the summer and cosier in the winter. All the while, the environment will be thanking you as well.

Optimising efficiency
A lack of proper insulation can lead to a serious energy loss in your home. If you want to reduce energy usage and costs, it’s imperative that you adequately insulate your home. Of course, you probably already know about traditional insulation, but what about other simple and cheap ways to trap heat inside your home? You can keep heat in with eco-friendly shutters that also look gorgeous. Similar to the shutters, you can invest in proper curtains that can trap heat inside as well. Both the curtains and shutters should remain open during the day to let in warm sunlight, then shut at night to keep it in. You could also weather seal your home by yourself. Start by checking your windows and doors to make sure they are airtight – you’ll seriously reduce the draughts around your home. Check the chimney too. You’d be surprised how much heat escapes!

Renewable energy
Already optimised your efficiency? It might be time to think about generating your own clean energy to power your home. It sounds daunting, but many people actually do it themselves. The most logical option for most homeowners is solar panelling. Most solar power systems are installed on the roof of your house, though there are other options. Community-based solar projects are a little more complicated, but certainly still within the realm of possibility. Get together with your neighbours and find a spot for some panels, then store and distribute your clean energy. You can even give some back to the city! If solar panels aren’t for you, maybe wind energy is. You’ll have to live in a location that gets a fair amount of windy weather, and have a bit of land to spare, but wind energy might be perfect for you. Small wind systems can reduce your energy bill by almost 90 percent. That’s a lot of savings for you and the environment.

The future of building green
Previously, “going green” was all about retrofitting your home to improve its energy efficiency. However, homes are now being built more efficient, preventing the need for modifications down the line. For example, houses are being built with solar panelling that can generate enough power for the entire house, or at least to heat the water. Energy providers are also getting in on the action. Companies offering leasable solar panels have begun operation, and these can be a great option for those who don’t have the ability or desire to invest as heavily in home energy production.