Three Ways the Average Homeowner Can Pursue Energy Independence

Whether you’re seeking to safeguard your family and your property against the threat of an energy emergency or simply want

Whether you’re seeking to safeguard your family and your property against the threat of an energy emergency or simply want to reduce your reliance on the traditional utility grid and save money along the way, there are perks to pursuing energy independence.

 

As you take steps to power your home with renewable energy, you’ll also do your part to help reduce the carbon dioxide emissions currently polluting our atmosphere. Research reveals that compared to the rest of the world, U.S. households have a carbon footprint that is twice as large.

 

Our screens are getting bigger and our power needs are rapidly expanding. Still, there are ways to leverage this connectedness that don’t come at a cost to our environment. Here are three ways the average homeowner can make this change.

 

  1. Start with Basic Habit Changes

 

Sure, you could completely cut power to your home, read by candlelight, warm water on a wood stove and shut everything and everyone down when the sun sets. Yet, this type of reality isn’t exactly plausible, nor is it as emissions-free as you may believe.

 

The simpler way to make a positive change is to simply adjust your daily habits. Is your home pumping heat or AC when you’re away all day at work? Begin by dialing down your thermostat or investing in a smart device that will control the temperature for you, learning your habits and conserving energy when possible.

 

The same goes for using your appliances more strategically. If you’re cooling your home on max in the balmy summer months, hang your clothes outside rather than running your washer and dryer simultaneously. Of course, there are myriad other ways to conserve power, reduce energy waste and lower your utility bill, as well. From closing your blinds in the afternoon to unplugging your laptop charger when not in use, most steps are easy to implement and remember.

 

  1. Optimize Your Home’s Energy Efficiency

 

You might be taking pains to conserve as much energy as possible and reserve your resources, but the number on your monthly power bill still shocks you. If this is the case, your home could be leaking hot or cool air without your knowledge.

Either on your own or in partnership with an energy auditor, take a thorough look at your structure. Check for obvious signs of leaks, and then investigate insulation levels. Outdated features such as single-pane windows may also be to blame. Installing more energy-efficient, double-pane ones can offer a world of savings, as can correcting your insulation and sealing or caulking around any areas of leakage.

 

You could also be losing power to outdated appliances. Check the door to your oven and refrigerator. Are they closing tightly or is air escaping outside of them? Have they been in your home for decades and are straining and draining it in the process? If so, consider replacing them with newer models with Energy Star labels and you could immediately reduce your power usage.

 

  1. Consider Innovative New Construction

 

If your budget and geography allows, you can also research the viability of renewable energy systems such as solar panels or wind turbines on your property to help you offset your reliance on the grid. Though these require more of an up-front investment, the savings they present can be significant. You can also use them to participate in net metering programs, wherein you’ll send your excess energy into the grid in exchange for credits toward future power needs.

 

If you’re building from the ground up, the good news is you’ll already be more energy independent than homeowners living in existing, older-model properties. This is because there are now minimum efficiency regulations that new homes in the U.S. must meet. From your construction materials to your HVAC systems, you’ll be required to work with resources that are substantially more eco-friendly than their outdated counterparts.

 

Finding Energy Independence, One Step at a Time

 

The path toward energy independence doesn’t happen overnight. Rather, it is achieved through a series of steps put into place that allow the average homeowner to take a clearer look at his or her current usage levels and find ways to reduce them.

By following the steps above, you can be well on your way toward a more sustainable, low-emission lifestyle. For more information on how to utilize energy more effectively, check out our tips and insights and jumpstart the transition.

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