Improve Your Home’s Energy Efficiency with Technology
More and more, home buyers are looking for ways to incorporate home technologies that increase the long-term value of their house but also provide convenience, safety and comfort. Energy management tops the list of desired features in new homes, according to a survey by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).
NAHB’s consumer preferences survey of more than 2,300 recent and prospective home buyers examined the features, products, amenities and layouts preferred in a new home.
In the home technology features category, the number one choice among respondents was energy management at 61 percent. Also ranked highly in this category were multi-zone heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC), lighting controls and home theatres.
Staying in the home technology features category, three of the top five most-wanted technology features — energy management, HVAC and lighting control — also provide energy-efficiency. By incorporating the following technologies, home owners can save money on their utility bills:
- Automated HVAC systems can maintain a more energy-efficient temperature while the home owners are away at work, but switch to a more comfortable temperature prior to their arrival home. Zones can also be created to heat or cool only the areas most used by the occupants, keeping other areas, such as guest bedrooms, shut down until they are needed. According to Energy Star, a joint program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy, programmable thermostats can save consumers about $180 per year in energy costs.
- Tankless water heaters — which save energy by heating water only when needed — are comparable in cost to traditional gas water heaters but are 30 percent more efficient, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.
- Lighting can make up 10 to 20 percent of the total electrical usage of the home. Installing an automatic dimmer, which adjusts to the home owner’s needs based on time of day or occupancy, will lower electricity bills and increase the life expectancy of light bulbs.
- Blinds and drapes can be programmed to close during the hottest part of the day to block out the sun; keeping the house cooler. In the colder winter months, they can open up to allow the sun in to warm the house, which helps regulate the room temperature.
By incorporating technologies that help make your home operate more efficiently, Energy Star estimates that home owners can save $200 to $400 annually on their energy bills.
contributed by NAHB