The Energy-Efficient House Tour allows you to virtually explore ways that you can save energy and money throughout your home. Even small improvements can be meaningful for home energy savings.
As a first step, you can schedule a home energy assessment, also known as a home energy audit, which will give you a better understanding of your home's energy use and guide you on making prioritized decisions about energy-saving home improvements.
As you tour the home, consider if one or more of these tips are accessible options that make sense for you and your home.
How to Navigate the House Tour
The interactive 3D house links the energy-saving tips to various locations in a simulated home. Explore the attic, main level, garage, and subspace within the home to locate tips and ideas to save energy throughout the home.
Rotate your camera in the interactive 3D house by using the arrow keys on your keyboard or by clicking and dragging your mouse. If you are using a mobile device (e.g., smartphone or tablet), tap and drag to rotate.
||Access tips by clicking on the circle with an "i" in the middle.|
||Move around the same floor by clicking on a circle on the floor.|
||Move to another floor in the house by clicking on an up or down arrow.|
||Move to another nonconsecutive floor by clicking on one of the circles on the exterior of the house (e.g., basement to attic).|
Full Text of the House Tour
I. Main Level
Control the temperature settings in your home with a programmable or smart thermostat. You can save as much as 10% per year on heating and cooling by turning your thermostat down 7°–10°F for 8 hours a day in the fall and winter; turn it up in the spring and summer. Learn more about programmable thermostats.
Turn off lights when not in use. Also, switch out your incandescent bulbs with LED bulbs, inside and outside. LEDs use up to 90% less energy and last up to 25 times longer than traditional incandescent bulbs. Consider solar lighting for outdoor areas such as pathways and patios. Learn more about lighting choices to save you money.
Caulking and weatherstripping are effective air-sealing techniques to cut heating and cooling costs and increase comfort. Caulk cracks and openings between stationary house components, such as window frames. Weatherstripping can be applied to components that move, such as doors and operable windows. Learn more about air sealing your home.
Consider replacing your home’s windows with ENERGY STAR® qualified windows, which can save you as much as 7% to 15% or more on annual household energy bills. Consider storm windows, for a budget-friendly option. Adding skylights can provide your home with daylighting and improve ventilation. Learn more about updating or replacing windows.
To improve the energy efficiency of your windows:
- Install insulating, tight-fitting window shades that can be raised or lowered.
- Close window coverings at night and open them during the day to let in sunlight and warmth.
- Apply low-e film on windows to keep heat from escaping.
- Choose medium-colored draperies with white plastic backings to reduce heat gain.
- On the exterior of your home, consider adding awnings on south- and west-facing windows for shade.
Learn more about energy-efficient window coverings.
Radiant Floor Heating
Install an energy-efficient radiant floor system. These liquid-based heating systems use little electricity, eliminate duct loss, and avoid the spread of allergens in the air. Learn more about radiant heating systems.
Upgrade your kitchen with ENERGY STAR® certified appliances to save water, money, and time! For instance, ENERGY STAR® certified dishwashers will boost water temperature to 140°F so your dishes will be disinfected, and you will spend less time and use less water at the sink—nearly 5,000 gallons per year. Learn more about ENERGY STAR® certified appliances.
ENERGY STAR® Light Fixtures
Consider replacing light fixtures, such as recessed lights, with cutting edge ENERGY STAR® certified models. Such fixtures use 90% less energy than traditional incandescent bulb models, and they last 15 times longer. You will even find features such as dimming on some indoor models and automatic daylight shut-off and motion sensors on outdoor models. Learn more about ENERGY STAR® certified light fixtures.
Purchase energy-efficient products, like an ENERGY STAR® certified television. Consider using an advanced power strip to reduce “vampire loads” in your home. Explore more energy efficient options for appliances and electronics.
Fireplaces & Wood Burning Stoves
Did you know that traditional fireplaces are one of the most inefficient heat sources you can use? Open fireplaces draw in as much as 300 cubic feet per minute of heated room air for combustion, then send it straight up the chimney. Consider a high-efficiency fireplace insert to increase the heat efficiency of an older fireplace. Learn more energy-saving tips for fireplaces.
If you have an older wood-burning stove, you may benefit from upgrading to a new, EPA-certified wood- or pellet-burning appliance that is more efficient, cleaner burning, and powerful enough to heat most average-sized homes. Learn more about wood and pellet heating.
Consider installing ENERGY STAR® certified ceiling fans in your home, which are 60% more efficient than conventional fan/light units. If you use air conditioning to cool your home, a ceiling fan will allow you to raise the thermostat setting about 4°F with no reduction in comfort. Learn more about using fans for cooling.
Indoor Air Quality
For improved indoor air quality in new homes, the EPA has created Indoor airPLUS. This program provides additional specifications, requirements, and protections to maximize indoor air quality in new construction. If building a new home is in your future, learn more about Indoor airPLUS.
When replacing floors, opt for sustainable flooring, such as bamboo. Bamboo is a plant that is highly renewable compared to traditional tree-sourced wood floors. Bamboo can also regenerate itself, and it is harvested by hand, making it an environmentally friendly flooring choice. If bamboo is not your style, consider reclaimed or sustainably harvested wood.
Air Leaks & Caulking
In addition to sealing air leaks, caulking can be used to prevent water leaks. You can caulk around faucets, ceiling fixtures, water pipes, drains, bathtubs, and other plumbing fixtures, which will prevent water damage inside and outside your home. Learn more about caulking.
Fix leaky faucets! According to the EPA, approximately 5% to 10% of US homes have easy-to-fix leaks that drip away 90 gallons of water a day or more. Replace old faucets and aerators with WaterSense-labeled models, which can save 700 gallons of water per year. Also consider replacing traditional, clock-based irrigation controllers with a WaterSense-labeled irrigation model to save up to 15,000 gallons of water annually. Learn more about Water Sense.
WaterSense: Bathroom Faucets
Upgrade your bathroom sink faucets to WaterSense labeled models to conserve water and save money on your water bill. These models use a maximum of 1.5 gallons per minute, which can reduce a sink's water flow by 30% or more from the standard flow of 2.2 gallons per minute. Learn more about WaterSense products for your bathroom.
Replace shower heads with WaterSense-labeled models, which can save 4 gallons of water every time you take a shower. The WaterSense label ensures that these products provide a shower experience that is equal to or better than conventional showerheads on the market. Learn more about WaterSense Showerheads.
Your home’s exterior doors can contribute to air leakage and wasted energy. Weatherstripping can reduce energy losses and air leakage; however, replacing your doors may be a good investment. New ENERGY STAR® qualified doors have better insulation properties, allowing them to hold heat in during winter and keep it out during summer, which dramatically reduces energy loss and saves you money. When choosing new doors, consider their energy performance ratings specific to the local climate and your home’s design.
If you already own an Electric Vehicle (EV) or are thinking about investing in one, consider adding an EV charger in your garage. A 240V, Level 2 wall-mounted charger will give you a faster charge to help you get the most out of your EV and will sufficiently power EVs for longer commutes. Learn more about EV charging at home.
III. BASEMENT LEVEL
Consider upgrading your laundry appliances with ENERGY STAR® models. ENERGY STAR® certified clothes washers use about 25% less energy and 33% less water than regular washers.
ENERGY STAR® certified clothes dryers use about 20% less energy than conventional models. Learn more about ENERGY STAR® certified appliances.
To reduce heating costs, purchase energy-efficient heating systems and operate them efficiently. By upgrading to an energy-efficient furnace combined with proper equipment maintenance, insulation, air sealing, and using a programmable thermostat, you can save about 30% on your energy bill while reducing environmental emissions. Be sure to:
- Clean or replace furnace filters regularly, as recommended
- Clean warm-air registers, baseboard heaters, and radiators as needed; make sure they're not blocked by drapes, carpeting, or furniture
- Set your programmable thermostat as low as is comfortable in the winter and lower when you're away from home or sleeping.
Learn more tips for energy-efficient home heating.
Water heating is the second largest energy expense in your home. The average household spends $400-$600 a year on water heating. To decrease your water heating bills, try these tips:
- Use less hot water.
- Turn down the thermostat on your water heater.
- Insulate your water heater and pipes.
- Buy an energy-efficient model.
- Consider a tankless water heater if your home uses 41 gallons or less of hot water daily.
Learn more about water heating.
Concrete Block Insulation
If your home has visible concrete blocks in the foundation, there are several ways to insulate them. You can install insulation directly over the surface of the blocks either on the exterior or interior of the foundation walls. Placing insulation on the exterior has the advantage of containing the thermal mass of the blocks within the space, which can moderate indoor temperatures. Learn more about this and other insulation materials.
Proper ventilation is important for creating an energy-efficient home. Spot ventilation helps remove indoor air pollution and moisture at its source with the use of localized exhaust fans, such as those above kitchen ranges and in bathrooms. Whole-house ventilation systems provide controlled, uniform ventilation throughout a house. These systems use one or more fans and ductwork to push out stale air and supply fresh air to the house. Learn more about home ventilation systems.
Proper insulation of your home will provide resistance to heat flow, reduce heating and cooling costs, and improve comfort. Blanket insulation is the most common and widely available type of insulation. It comes in the form of batts or rolls and consists of flexible fibers, most commonly fiberglass. Learn more about this and other types of insulation.
Loose-Fill and Blown-In Insulation
For retrofits and locations where it would be difficult to install other types of insulation, consider loose-fill and blown-in insulation. This type of insulation consists of small particles and can conform to any space without disturbing structures or finishes. Learn more about loose-fill and blown-in insulation.
Sprayed-Foam and Foamed-In-Place Insulation
To create an insulating barrier, consider sprayed-foam or foamed-in-place insulation. Sprayed-foam insulation works particularly well in an attic because it expands to fill the gaps, cracks, and crevasses. Some installations can yield a higher R-value than traditional batt insulation for the same thickness. You can also fill small cavities with pressurized cans of foamed-in-place insulation to reduce air leakage in cracks or openings. Learn more about sprayed-foam and foamed-in-place insulation.
Foam Board or Rigid Foam Insulation
Foam boards (rigid panels of insulation) can be used to insulate almost any part of your home. They are very effective in exterior wall sheathing, interior sheathing in basement walls, and in specific places such as attic hatches. These panels provide good thermal resistance (up to 2 times greater than most other insulating materials of the same thickness) and reduce heat conduction. Learn more about this and other types of insulation.
If you live in a hot climate, consider installing radiant barriers in your attic, which will reduce summer heat gain and save you 5% to 10% on cooling costs. These barriers consist of a highly reflective material that reflects radiant heat rather than absorbing it. Radiant barriers are more effective when cooling air ducts are located in the attic. Learn more about radiant barriers.
More Resources to Save Money and Energy at Home
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