Each region of the country has its own unique qualities that make an energy efficient home difficult to maintain. In the Northeast, it takes more than the basics to battle the extreme weather and fluctuating temperatures. Here’s how you can make your Northeast home as energy efficient as possible without the headache.
Energy Efficiency in the Home
To maximize your home’s energy efficiency in this region, you must first understand the basics of shrinking your carbon footprint and making a positive impact on the environment.
The Importance of Insulation
The efficiency of your home’s insulation may be the single largest factor affecting the overall efficiency of your home. Insulation impacts your energy usage by protecting your home from both the heat and the cold. Most homeowners know that having well-insulated walls is key to reducing energy consumption. However, the insulation of your windows and doors is also critical. Up to 25% of your home’s utility usage can be attributed to loss of energy through windows and doors.
Alternative Energy Sources
As we look to the future of energy efficiency, alternative energy sources are more accessible to individual homeowners than ever before. These alternative sources may come at a steep upfront price, but if you’re committed to investing in your home’s energy efficiency, solar panels or residential wind turbines may be a good choice for you. Greywater systems are another way to reduce, reuse, and recycle that continues to gain popularity among homeowners.
Monitoring Personal Energy Use
Every homeowner should be mindful of their personal energy consumption. Personal use, when multiplied by entire populations, can make a dent in the energy crisis we face.
Look at electric, gas, and water usage for a few months in your home, simply observing. This baseline will give you a starting point for increasing your home’s efficiency by increasing your family’s efficiency. Are you forgetting to turn off the lights in rooms you aren’t using? Does the TV get left on when no one is watching it? Can you handle a degree or two cooler or warmer than you typically set your thermostat?
Northeastern Climate Challenges and Energy Efficiency
Homeowners in the Northeast are no strangers to the difficulty a temperamental climate can provide. With some of the widest ranging weather conditions to contend with and the added risk of damage from hurricanes, energy efficiency in the Northeast is an interesting challenge to tackle.
Navigating Extreme Weather
From the sweltering heat of a city summer to the deep chill of a polar vortex’s multi-foot snowfall, the Northeast knows the full extent of brutalities each season can bring. The range of seasonal weather conditions requires homeowners in the Northeast to be prepared for flash flooding, freezing pipes, and even wildfires and tornadoes. And then there’s hurricane season!
For any region where all four seasons occur in their extremes, the challenge to having an energy efficient home is ensuring that your home can handle the fluctuations. Can it hold up against the extremes your region is likely to experience without drastically impacting your energy usage?
Weathering Coastal Storms
Northeastern homes on the coast can add hurricane season to their list of extremes to consider. While hurricane season may have minimal impact on overall energy efficiency, the damage caused by a single storm has the potential to be devastating. The best way to safeguard against this is to ensure you choose storm-resistant materials for your home . For example, choosing storm-impact doors and hurricane-rated windows can help provide year-round protection without sacrificing energy efficiency.
How Windows and Doors Can Increase Your Home’s Energy Efficiency in the Northeast
Whether your home’s facade is laden with windows or only features a few panes of glass, you could be harnessing their efficiency boost better. How can you live greener with your choice in windows and doors? Here are a few ideas.
Optimize Window Direction and Placement
To maximize the amount of natural light in your home, consider where you place your windows. South-facing windows will receive the most light throughout the entire day, while west-facing windows will receive brighter light in the afternoons and early evenings.
East-facing windows are excellent for morning light but tend to lose coverage as the day goes on whereas north-facing windows receive the least amount of light. Your home may not be designed exactly to the cardinal directions, but if you’re looking to optimize the amount of natural light your home receives, installing larger windows that capitalize on southern light is a great move.
Energy-Efficient Technology for Windows and Doors
Home building technology has come a long way, and windows and doors offer a lot more than protection from the elements these days. Pella windows offer UV ray protection, incredible sound mitigation, energy efficient insulation and installation techniques and high-grade materials and construction that combine to deliver some of the most energy efficient products on the market.
Low-E glass, argon gas between panes, multi-pane options, UV coating, and optimized design are all pieces of the Pella puzzle that will help make your home as efficient as it can be.
Create Cozy Spaces with Doors
Professionally installed, high quality doors provide another opportunity to create more efficient insulation. Furthermore, doors within your home create cozier spaces that allow your central heating and cooling systems to maintain comfortable temperatures in your home more easily.
Creating the most energy efficient home is a matter of balance, compromise, and understanding what variables you have control over. Windows and doors are a great place to start measuring and creating a standard for your home’s efficiency. When you’re ready to live a little greener with high-efficiency windows and doors, the professionals at Pella are only a consultation away.