How to Make Your Home More Energy Efficient

how to make home more energy efficient

There are several reasons to make your home more energy efficient. Not only will you reduce your carbon footprint–something we all strive for these days–but you can also lower your utility bills, increase the resale value of your home, and add overall comfort.

But how can you make your home more energy efficient? In this article, we’ll explore the key actions you can take to make your home more energy friendly. Even taking one of these steps can help you enjoy the benefits of a more energy-efficient home.

  • Explore energy-efficient lighting
  • Be selective with appliances
  • Use a tankless water heater
  • Evaluate your windows
  • Inspect your insulation
  • Consider a fireplace insert
  • Upgrade your HVAC system

Even a few small steps in the right direction will get you on track to energy savings and a high energy score. Being conscious of your energy use is a noble thing, and soon, you will learn how to integrate these simple steps to start reaping the benefits of leaning green.

Explore energy-efficient lighting

By switching to energy-efficient lighting, you can brighten up your space with just as much light for less cost. According to, an average household can save around $225 in energy costs per year by using LED lighting. One of the quickest ways to save on your energy bills is by making the decision to use LED bulbs instead of traditional incandescent light bulbs, since lighting accounts for about 15% of a home’s electrical use.

The market is saturated with light bulbs of all types, clocking in at various price points. Opting for LED light bulbs or other energy-efficient lighting is a cost-effective way to make a dent in your energy savings, even though they may be priced higher than traditional bulbs since they last much longer and use less energy.

Before light emitting diodes (LEDs) entered the scene, compact fluorescents (CFLs) were the most cost-effective alternative to incandescent bulbs. CFLs produced the same light as an incandescent bulb, but used 75% less energy and heat, and would last as much as ten times longer. LEDs cost a little more but use 90% less energy and last four times longer than a CFL bulb. Another cool tidbit about LEDs is that they are dimmable and are cool to the touch.

Be selective with appliances

Have you ever seen that little star symbol sticker on an appliance? That sticker indicates the appliance has earned an ENERGY STAR by meeting strict energy efficiency criteria set by the US Environmental Protection Agency or the US Department of Energy.

When shopping for new appliances, seek out that star if you want to embrace energy efficiency. While the initial cost of the appliance may be higher than one without a star rating, you’re likely to recoup savings through lower energy bills. Here is a list of appliances and other home goods that can qualify for an ENERGY STAR rating:

  • Clothes washers and dryers
  • Windows
  • Ovens and cooktops
  • Televisions, computers, and phones
  • HVAC equipment and water heaters
  • Lighting
  • Dishwashers
  • Electric cooking devices
  • Refrigerators and freezers

Even if your appliances are not ENERGY STAR-rated, you can still make choices to improve your energy consumption. For example, check the placement of your refrigerator. It should have at least an inch of space around it on all sides to ensure proper air circulation. It’s a good idea to clean the cleaning coil once a year to ensure it doesn’t burn more energy than necessary. Also, fully load your dishwasher before running it. Little steps lead to smarter energy use.

Use a tankless water heater

If your home uses an electric water heater, it’s probably the second biggest energy consumer after your HVAC system. Your water heater shoulders a big responsibility. It helps heat the water in your home to provide comfortable showers, hot water for dishwashing, and often your laundry.

If you want to make your home more energy efficient, consider a tankless water heater. A traditional water tank is bulky and is typically around 60 percent efficient, whereas a tankless water heater is around 96 percent efficient.

Since tankless water heaters–also known as demand-type or instantaneous water heaters–only provide hot water as needed, they don’t produce the standby energy loss that traditional water heaters do. This helps you save on energy bills, and they last 20+ years.

Evaluate your windows

Your windows account for up to 30% of your home’s heating and cooling energy consumption. If you are interested in making your home more energy efficient, this is a part of your home worth evaluating. If you’re not in the market for new windows but want to improve the energy efficiency of your current setup, examine your windows for air leaks.

You can visually inspect your windows to see if you’re experiencing any leaks. Also check for gaps around all exterior corners, faucets, and where your chimney meets the roof, and reinforce the seals with new caulking or weather stripping.

Check all outlets, door and window frames, electrical entrances, attic accesses, cable and phone lines, fans, and vents from inside. If you notice any space around these areas, you can save energy by sealing them up better.

It may be time to replace your windows if you notice drafts or if they fail to trap warm or cool air during the summer or winter months. Triple-pane glass is the most energy-efficient window on the market, and higher-quality windows will reduce your energy bills drastically.

Inspect your insulation

You can practically cut your heating and cooling bill in half by improving your home’s insulation. Heat rises to the ceiling, so insulating your attic is vital. While your primary focus should be your attic floor, don’t neglect walls, ceilings above unheated spaces, basement walls, floors over unheated garages, and between interior walls.

Various types of insulation can be used to accomplish the job. A blanket system, which can be either batts or rolls, works well with any area with standard joist spacing. It’s made of fiberglass, mineral wool, plastic fibers, and natural fibers. For more obscure areas, you can use loose fill or blow-in insulation. Remember, whenever you add insulation to the attic, leave room for your soffits so their vents aren’t obstructed. Blocking the vents with insulation would hinder the ventilation to your attic.

Consider a fireplace insert

Swapping out your traditional fireplace for a fireplace insert is another great way to reduce energy bills and make your home more energy efficient. Fireplace inserts can reduce lost heat from the fireplace by keeping more heat in.

Contact a professional to install your fireplace insert to ensure it’s properly ventilated and to maximize efficiency.

Upgrade your HVAC system

Remember those ENERGY STAR ratings we discussed earlier? Well, if your HVAC system is older and needs an upgrade, this is one area where you can really improve your energy efficiency by choosing a system with a solid ENERGY STAR rating. Contact your local HVAC professional to have them assess your property to confirm the size of the HVAC unit required to cool and heat your home efficiently.

An oversized system will cause a spike in your energy consumption. By contrast, a system that falls into just the right zone with your heat-loss calculation will help keep your energy bills low and improve your system’s longevity. Once an upgraded system is installed, maintenance is highly recommended once a year to ensure it continues to run smoothly throughout all seasons.


Making your home more energy efficient is good for the environment and your wallet. Whenever the time comes to replace an appliance or upgrade major areas in your home, consider the ENERGY STAR rating to ensure you’re maximizing your home’s energy efficiency.

The good news about leaning toward a more energy-efficient home is that you can start small! You can take baby steps by swapping in LEDs for traditional light bulbs and sealing any areas around windows or doors that may be leaking air.

Be selective when choosing new appliances or performing major upgrades on things like your HVAC system. Consider a tankless water heater, check out your windows and insulation, and install a fireplace insert to improve your home’s energy consumption.

Ongaro & Sons – your energy experts

Ongaro & Sons is a family-owned business in its fourth generation of operation. We consistently deliver the highest level of service and value in our industry, ensuring stability for our valued customers. Our friendly team offers heating, cooling, plumbing, electrical, and solar installation services for the North Bay area.

With decades of institutional knowledge and experience, our service technicians are among the most capable in the industry. We’re committed to providing ongoing training and education opportunities, to help our technicians develop and learn new skills.

If you need guidance on how to reach your energy efficiency goals, contact Ongaro & Sons here or call us at 707-419-3135. We offer our customers ongoing support, certified professional installation services, quality products, and seamless installation from site assessment to permits, to ensure a hassle-free process from step one.