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Let’s face it – everyone wants to cut costs these days.

It’s no wonder that energy efficiency continues to be a top priority for homeowners looking to remodel or build.

People want features that promote lower heating and cooling costs, smart water usage and a better mix of natural and artificial lighting. And a significant number of consumers are more than willing to take on higher, short-term project costs in return for smaller utility bills over the life of the property.

If your clients are looking to go green or just spend less on utilities, here are some of the energy efficient features that can benefit almost any home.

Control Heating and Cooling Costs

Heating and cooling alone account for nearly half of the energy use for the typical American home, making it the single largest energy expense for most residents.

Adding efficiencies here can save hundreds or even thousands of dollars a year, depending on the size of the property and overall energy consumption levels.

  • Roofing. High quality, energy efficient roofing materials can save up to 15% on air conditioning costs. Once the project is complete, encourage clients to have the roof and flashing inspected regularly and to make prompt repairs to any damage caused by wind, snow, ice, hail or fallen trees.
  • Insulation. Without proper insulation, homeowners will struggle to stay cool in the summer and warm in the winter, while paying more in the process. Quality insulation for walls, floors and the attic maintain comfortable indoor temperatures while reducing strain on the HVAC system.
  • Windows. Drafty windows cause the air conditioner and furnace to work harder than they should. Storm or doublepane windows can save hundreds a year in energy costs, while also reducing noise from the outside. Windows should be properly sealed with caulk and weather stripping.
  • Doors. Insulated exterior doors, including garage doors, help to keep the home comfortable year-round while controlling energy usage. Fiberglass doors tend to be more efficient than traditional wood, and a storm door can reduce energy loss by up to 50%. As with windows, include weather stripping around door frames for even greater efficiency.
  • Programmable thermostats. It’s generally a good idea to turn the heater down or the air conditioner up when leaving for work or school. But with today’s hectic lifestyles, many homeowners have a hard time remembering this simple habit. That’s where technology comes to the rescue. A programmable thermostat will automatically raise or lower the temperature, saving as much as 30% a year on heating and cooling.
  • Ceiling fans. With a number of stylish designs to choose from, this simple amenity can help with climate control in almost any room in the house. Encourage homeowners to run the fan counterclockwise in the summer and clockwise in the winter for best results.

Save Water

The average American home uses over 300 gallons of water a day, and 70% of this usage occurs indoors.

Water-related expenses include both the cost of the water itself and the cost to heat it for bathing, making coffee and similar uses. Features that promote smart water usage can put a healthy dent in utility bills.

Low-flow plumbing installations can reduce the amount of water that is wasted, while still providing enough for daily activities. For best savings, look for a toilet that uses 1.28 gallons per flush or less and a showerhead with a flow rate of 2.5 gallons per minute or less.

A tankless water heater, while more expensive than a traditional water heater, works only when needed and saves on the cost of heating up a big tank of water.

Install Efficient Lighting Options

Most folks already know that turning off lights when you leave a room is the simplest way to conserve some energy. But there are many features that can be added to the home so that residents can enjoy all the light they need without spending more than they have to.

  • Dimmer switches allow occupants to adjust the amount of light they need for a specific task, while occupancy sensors automatically turn off lights in case the last person to leave forgets.
  • Motion sensors, when paired with exterior lighting, save on lighting costs and provide extra security benefits.
  • Skylights in rooms without windows let in more natural light and reduce the need for artificial lighting during the daytime.
  • Believe it or not, paint colors can also help. Lighter colors reflect more light, which brightens the room naturally and reduces the need for higher wattage bulbs.

Choose Energy Star Appliances

New appliances are often a key component of remodeling and new construction projects. In addition to complementing the decor of a kitchen or other room, a smart choice here can also yield big energy savings down the road.

Simply look for appliances with the Energy Star label. For example, Energy Star refrigerators can use up to 20% less energy. Dishwashers can use 10% less energy and 18% less water, while washing machines may save 20% on energy and 35% on water usage.

Finally, the continued growth in solar power in the United States may have more homeowners asking about solar panels or rooftop shingles. While it does add to the up-front cost of the project, solar offers the potential for substantial energy savings, depending on the amount of sunlight the property receives.

Are you looking to add energy efficient features to an upcoming project? Contact Mid-City Lumber to find out how our friendly experts can help you get the materials you need.