A solar power system is energy efficient and an effective way to reduce your energy expenditures. If you have yet to switch over to solar panels, however, there are some proven ways you can reduce your energy consumption now, and these will only help to maximize the benefits of a solar array if and when you do make the switch.
Install a New HVAC System
Heating and cooling systems are typically the largest energy consumers in a home, with older HVAC units using considerably more energy than newer models. Upgrading to an energy efficient HVAC system can reduce your energy usage, lower monthly energy costs and reduce your home’s environmental footprint.
Similar to when you invest in a solar power system, you may be able to receive cash incentives and/or tax rebates for installing an Energy Star-rated HVAC system.
Install a Programmable Thermostat
A programmable or ‘smart’ thermostat is a popular method for conserving energy, as it can improve your furnace and your home’s energy efficiency. A smart thermostat can be programmed to turn your furnace or air conditioner off when specific temperatures are reached, you’re sleeping or away from home, ensuring no energy is wasted. They can even be programmed to provide an alert if the HVAC system has an issue or simply when the air filters need to be changed – issues that can also reduce energy efficiency or cause a spike in energy usage.
Upgrade the Insulation and Weatherize
Insulation is the cornerstone of energy efficiency; the better the insulation, the less energy wasted and the lower the power bills. Because of the long, cold Canadian winters, your insulation should have a high level of heat resistance (R-value). To conserve energy, make sure your walls, floors, basement, attic and any crawlspaces are properly insulated. If they aren’t, this is a home improvement that’s worth considering.
Good insulation combined with weatherizing can make your home even more air tight and energy efficient. Sealing air leaks can also significantly reduce energy bills. Look for cracks or gaps around windows, doors, ductwork, plumbing pipes, floors, electrical wiring, walls, and air vents. Air can escape or enter through all of these areas, especially through doors and windows. Apply caulking to cracks around windows, apply weather stripping around doorframes and fix any openings in other areas. Installing energy-efficient windows is also a great complement to new insulation.
Whether or not you’re making the switch to solar panels, it’s always a good idea to find ways of reducing your energy consumption. Give some of these a try and give us a call when you’re ready to discover how a solar array can be put to work for your home or business.