Why conserve energy: the top benefits of energy efficiency
Last updated 11/17/2017
There are many reasons why homeowners should consider energy efficiency, from the clear environmental and financial benefits of cutting energy use to potential improvements in mental and physical health. In fact, energy efficiency has become one of the common features that prospective homeowners look for when purchasing a home.
Whether your motivations for energy conservation are economic, environmental, or personal, the benefits of energy efficiency will have something to offer for everyone. Here are the top eight reasons why energy efficiency is important for your home and why it is important to conserve energy:
#1. Significantly reduce your utility bills
As a homeowner, energy costs can make up a significant portion of your recurring monthly expenses. With energy efficient appliances and home upgrades, the U.S. Department of Energy estimates that you can save anywhere from five to 30 percent on your utility bills. Energy efficient appliances consume less energy throughout their service lives without sacrificing quality, and are an excellent way to save on your energy expenditures.
#2. Earn a great return on your investment
Energy efficient purchases should not be viewed as an expense, but as an investment with utility savings that add up over the service life of the product. Savings can offset the initial price premium on energy efficient options, and offer a significant return in comparison to conventional, non-efficient alternatives. Furthermore, the return you pocket through savings will only increase over time as energy prices continue to rise in the United States.
#3. Increase your property value
In the real estate market, energy efficient homes frequently sell for a higher price than standard homes with comparable features. Every project that increases your home’s energy efficiency adds a fraction of its cost to the final selling price. In addition, private residences with green certifications have been proven to sell at a premium compared to similar homes in the area. Coming with expectations of reduced utility bills and fewer repair bills, energy efficiency is an attractive feature in any home.
#4. Enhance your quality of life
By optimizing your energy use, you can increase the comfort of living in your home and, in many cases, see notable health benefits. When you conduct energy efficient measures, your home will be warmer, drier, and properly ventilated, which lowers the risk of illnesses and mold growth. Energy efficiency also prevents the buildup of indoor pollutants, a major concern in areas with high radon emissions. In fact, the financial benefits of energy-efficient buildings yield a benefit-cost ratio of over 4 to 1, and 75 percent of those benefits can be attributed to health advantages.
#5. Protect the environment
Energy efficiency is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint. Homes were responsible for 21 percent of national greenhouse gas emissions in 2014, and implementing energy efficiency measures in your home can significantly reduce your emissions contribution. The typical household can reduce its energy use (and by extension its greenhouse gas emissions) by 25 to 30 percent by investing in more efficient energy consumption.
#6. Energy savings tips help you easily cut costs
Energy expenses are often thought of as a fixed cost of owning a home or business, with reductions only possible through pricey renovations. However, you can easily reduce your utility bills through simple energy conservation behaviors or small energy efficient purchases. Programmable thermostats, advanced power strips, and energy efficient lighting can decrease your energy expenses with almost no effort on your part.
#7. Earn incremental returns on energy efficiency investments
Energy efficiency measures, no matter how small, are capable of generating utility savings over their service lives. However, your savings are usually proportionate to the cost of the energy efficient upgrade – replacing light bulbs will only cost a few dollars, but will deliver marginal savings, while upgrading your attic insulation can save hundreds of dollars in heating and cooling bills. Upgrades can range from simply plugging in a smart power strips to an HVAC system overhaul. How little or how much you choose to invest in energy efficiency is completely up to you.
#8. Insulate yourself from rising electricity prices
Utility residential electricity rates fluctuate seasonally and annually, but have risen steadily in the last decade. This trend is likely to continue into the future. In addition to cutting your monthly electricity bills now, conducting energy efficiency improvements on your home helps to insulate you from the financial impact of unpredictable sharp energy price increases that could happen in the years to come.
Electric utilities across the country offer energy efficiency programs to help homeowners and businesses reduce their energy use. Energy efficiency is more cost-effective than building a new power plant, and it can help reduce costs in times of high electricity demand. In some states, utilities are actually required to reduce their energy sales.