Many homeowners find it difficult to lower energy costs during the hot months of the year. Turning off the air conditioning makes the inside of the house feel muggy and warm, and an unpleasant interior is often not worth the saved money. Thankfully however, there are many ways for you to both cut costs AND keep your home cool.
Insulated Concrete Form (ICF) Construction
IFC construction is a newer, modern way to build houses that are durable, quiet, and energy- efficient. The new technique lets homeowners gain benefits not found in normal houses, and ICF home designs can be almost any style or size the homeowner wants. Even conventional house plans can easily be converted to ICF. With all these benefits, it is definitely worthwhile to consider when planning to build a home.
These tools are extremely beneficial. They allow homeowners to schedule hours, so the thermostat can change the temperature depending on whether you are home or not. Some of them can even tell how close in proximity you are to your home, and automatically turn on/off according to whether you are leaving for work or coming home. Being able to schedule hours also helps homeowners to not waste any time on extra air conditioning, as having set hours prevents one from forgetting to shut it off. Because of that, programmable thermostats can also reduce energy costs- for instance, Nest claims that its devices can reduce electricity costs by 20%.
A ‘soffit’ is the exposed material that is found underneath a roof’s overhang. They are extremely useful for ventilation, preventing heat from building up too high in attic spaces. Besides ventilation, soffits also help protect the house from the elements. Together, those two uses make soffits a worthwhile investment. Several different materials can be used, but many consider fiber cement to be the best. Definitely consider adding a soffit to your home.
Another great way to save money on electricity is through a zoning system. Instead of cooling the entire house at the same time, a zoning system enables each individual room be cooled or heated separately. This usually saves homeowners enormous amounts of money, and although they can be expensive to install, over time people are generally able to recoup their investment through the reduced costs of temperature control.
Duct Sealing Techniques
HVAC systems are made to control the heating and cooling structures inside a home. The systems, however, come with a high cost, which is why is important to keep the HVAC systems running as efficiently as possible. Part of that efficiency comes in the form of aerosol duct sealing. Duct sealing enables one to prevent air from escaping HVAC systems, and also keep them from developing more air leakage in the future. This keeps costs down, and developing an energy efficient HVAC is worthwhile for every homeowner.
Cool roofs are an essential part of every modern home design, and very useful in lowering energy bills. Different than a typical roof, cool roofs utilize reflective materials to prevent a high absorption of sunlight. Through this, homes are kept more cool in hot weather, saving money by lessening the need to use air conditioning.
Thermal Radiant Barrier Sheathing
Radiant barriers are installed near the tops of houses, just under the roof, to reflect heat and insulate the upper levels of a home very effectively. An increasingly common type of thermal-radiant-barrier roof sheathing is the oriented strand board (OSB). This ties into the ‘Delta-T,’ a term used to describe the difference between the temperature of the living spaces inside the home. Normal foil-backed OSB has several problems, such as being prone to dust and dirt. But new products that outperform foil-backed OSB are taking over the market — and for good reason. If you haven’t upgraded your sheathing in a while, or ever, consider adding it to your home.
There are many ways to lower energy costs even while keeping your house cool in the summer. Definitely consider each option, and see if it a worthwhile upgrade for you- your wallet may thank you.
Matt Lee is the owner of the Innovative Building Materials blog and a content writer for the building materials industry. He is focused on helping fellow homeowners, contractors, and architects discover materials and methods of construction that save money, improve energy efficiency, and increase property value.