There’s a new trend that’s taking over the real estate industry: energy efficiency. More and more homeowners are improving their homes in a way that not only allows them to save money on their bills, but is also better for the environment. And given the global movement to go green, chances are that governments will create regulations to encourage eco-friendly construction. Homeowners might as well upgrade their homes now so they don’t have to worry about renovations down the road.
Whether you’re purchasing a property or improving your real estate investment, one of your main considerations should be how eco-friendly it is. Below, we’ve put together a few tips on how to build a home that goes green:
#1 Orient Your Rooms
Position your rooms correctly so they make optimal use of the sun year-round, as its orientation will have a direct influence on their HVAC needs. As a rule of thumb, place rooms where you plan to spend more time in the south – this area gets the most amount of sunlight for the longest time during the day. Bedrooms can be in the north because you probably won’t want your room to be bright, anyway. By reducing the need for artificial heating and cooling, you’ll be able to lower your energy bills.
If you ever need advice on room orientations, a luxury home management company can connect you with expert architects in your area.
#2 Replace Your Windows
Your windows should be able to trap cold air in the warm months and hot air in the cool months. If your property still comes with old, drafty windows, consider replacing them with more energy-efficient ones, such as those with the Energy Star rating. It would be best to use double-pane windows which are more airtight. You should also consider low-emissivity (low-e) glass which allows heat into your home while reducing the UV light that goes through. It maintains the internal temperature by bouncing back heat into the home. Low-e coating may be more expensive, but you’ll be able to save more money on your bills.
#3 Consider the Roofing Materials
Another important consideration when constructing or improving your home is the roofing material. The right roofing material should be able to maintain your home’s internal temperature by absorbing the least amount of heat. That’s why you should opt for “cool roofs” – these are roofs made from materials that can deflect the sun.
By far, one of the best roofing materials is metal as it’s low-budget and widely available. However, the downside is that because metal is very reflective, it can be extremely hot to the touch. That being said, always work with a luxury home management company when conducting roof repairs. Don’t try to do it yourself.
Consider the roof’s color, as well. If you live in a cold climate, choose a dark-colored roof that can absorb more heat from the sun. But if you’re from a warm place such as the Sunshine State, go for light colors like green and white.
#4 Replace Your Lightbulbs
When it comes to luxury home maintenance, one of the most low-cost things you can do is buy new lightbulbs. This is particularly true if your home comes with old incandescent lightbulbs which can be energy wasters. Compact fluorescents (CFLs), for instance, use only 11 to 42 watts, which is 25-35% less than what incandescent lights use. An even more eco-friendly alternative is LED, but they cost more than CFLs (around $15 per bulb). The upside of LED is that it lasts longer than CFLs and uses 75% less energy than incandescent lights. The initial cost may be a bit much, but the long-term savings make it a worthwhile investment.
#5 Use Smart Systems
From smart thermostats to smart lights, smart systems are a great way to cut down energy usage in your South Florida home. Smart thermostats can immediately turn off your HVAC system when the temperature reaches a certain threshold. They can also be programmed to power down when you’re not around. According to Energy Star, the average savings from installing smart thermostats is $50 a year.
Similarly, smart lights can be programmed to power off during certain times of the day. For example, you can program your smart lights to only turn on the exterior lights from 8 PM to 5 AM.
#6 Go Solar
Homes in South Florida have the advantage of year-round sunshine. To make the most out of this, install solar panels – these are devices that “collect” sunlight to convert it into an electrical current. Once you switch to solar panels, you can see a wide range of benefits, such as lower electric bills, reduced carbon footprint, and even an improved home value. While the initial cost can be a bit expensive, solar panels don’t need extensive care, so you can save in terms of future maintenance costs.
#7 Switch to Energy-Efficient Appliances
One important part of luxury home management is knowing when your appliances have reached their “expiration date”. When that time comes, be sure to buy those that bear the Energy Star rating. This is, perhaps, one of the easiest ways to improve your property’s energy efficiency. Energy Star-rated appliances are those that meet certain criteria set by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).
Don’t forget to consider the appliance’s design. An Energy Star-rated front-loading washer, for instance, uses 45% less energy than a top-loading washer. Single-door refrigerators also use 30-40% less energy than double-door refrigerators.
#8 Switch to a Tankless Water Heater
Tank water heaters are convenient due to the consistent supply of hot water. However, the problem is that they constantly have to use electricity to heat water. Tankless water heaters, on the other hand, heat the water only when it’s needed. While it may take more time for hot water to flow through the faucet, it can keep energy costs low since it isn’t constantly warming up the water. According to Energy.gov, tankless water heaters are 8-14% more energy-efficient than traditional storage tank heaters.
Looking to Make Your Home More Energy-Efficient?
If you’re planning on going green with your South Florida property, get in touch with the expert managers at Luxury Property Care. We have connections with some of the state’s top architects who can help you design the eco-friendly home of your dreams. When you upgrade your property through us, we’ll also take care of contractor coordination through our contractor waiting services. That way, you don’t have to take time out of your day to deal with property improvements.