With the costs of living on the rise, more and more people are looking for ways to cut down on their monthly expenses. They downgrade their phone plans, order less take out meals, and stop buying expensive lattes every morning. What most people don’t know is that their home payment and energy bills are their biggest costs.
While there’s not much you can do to reduce your payments; you could try some of the tips below to save money on a home and make your living more sustainable.
1. Ultra-Efficient Heat Pumps
Heat pumps have been around for decades. However, they’re one of the most overlooked energy-efficient solutions.
Just like your refrigerator or air-conditioner, heat pumps use electricity to cool or warm a home by moving the heat from one space to another. In cooling mode, they act as an air-conditioner, extracting heat from indoors and releasing it outdoors. In heating mode, the process is reversed – they draw heat from outdoors and release it indoors.
Although a reliable solution, heat pumps received an upgrade in recent years. The old version collects heat from the air (air-to-air), water (water source), or ground (geothermal). The new ultra-efficient ones use natural gas as fuel and can reduce costs up to 30-45%.
2. Magnetic Refrigerators (You Heard it Right – Magnets)
The idea of using magnets to create cold (the magnetocaloric effect) is not such a novel idea. But only recently, it has been put into practice in a refrigerator.
The materials that are used to build the freezer go through a cycle of magnetization and demagnetization. At the same time, a water-based cooling fluid flows through the system transferring the extra heat from the inside of your fridge to outside.
The principle is similar to the classic gas-compression one, but it’s safer, quieter, and more efficient (up to 20% lower energy consumption.) It’s also more environment-friendly, using a water coolant instead of ozone-depleting gasses.
3. Reflective Roofing Materials
Compared to a typical roof, a cool roof reflects more sunlight while transferring less heat to the building below.
Cool roofs are usually made of a highly reflective type of paint. Until recently they came in white or a lighter shade color. However, some products now use dark colored pigments. Still, the white ones are more efficient.
On a hot summer day, a typical roof’s temperature can reach up to 150°F, while a cool roof under the same conditions can remain under 50°F.
Cool roofs reduce the energy consumption associated with air conditioning by 7-15%.
4. Efficient Lighting
Incandescent light bulbs are starting to phase out little by little. In 2013 approximately 30% of the Americans ditched them for LEDs (light-efficient diodes), and OLEDs (organic light-efficient diodes) and the number almost doubled in 2015. By 2020, the global lighting market is estimated to be dominated by LEDs with 61%. People chose them because:
- They come in different styles, shapes, sizes, and color shades.
- They can last 3-25 times longer, the light slowly losing its intensity and color, not breaking all of a sudden;
- They are more durable since they lack the breakable filament;
- They save up to 25-80% more energy because they don’t lose heat (incandescent release 90% of their energy as heat);
- They are environmentally friendly because they don’t use mercury;
- They have a better quality of light.
These are just a few solutions for reducing your energy costs and carbon footprints. They might seem a bit pricey in the beginning, but you need to think about their advantages in the long run. In time, the expense will be justified, and you’ll realize they were a smart investment.