Energy efficiency is a big deal. It can affect the environment, and it can really affect your budget. While there are certainly big projects you could undertake, there are also plenty of ways to make your home more energy-efficient without spending a fortune. Here are five focus areas for an energy-efficient home.

The Roof

A 30% decrease in your home’s energy needs can occur by simply choosing the right roofing material. The most energy-efficient roofs reflect most of the heat they come in contact with during the warmer months, keeping upper levels cooler and reducing the load on the air conditioning unit. Metal and tile roofs are often recommended for energy efficiency.

If you’re not in a position to take on a full roof replacement, energy-efficient coatings can be added to your existing roof for a fraction of the price.

Toilets and Water-Based Appliances

Low-flow fixtures are a great place to start being more energy conscious. Low-flow showerheads in particular are a great investment, as they can provide a robust spray of water while still reducing the overall flow. You can also help improve the overall efficiency of your water heater by first turning the temperature down to the warm setting, about 120 degrees F, and insulating the lines so the heat doesn’t escape as quickly. This will reduce the time the water has to run in order to reach warmer temperatures.

Air Filters

Air filters can make a massive difference in your energy costs. According to the Department of Energy, predictive maintenance for air filtration can reduce overall industrial maintenance costs by up to 30%, and decrease breakdowns by more than 70%, and cut downtime by up to 45%. Be sure to check your filters often and replace them as needed. Not only is running with a dirty filter hard on the unit itself, but the air that does get through the filter is likely to be contaminated with dust and pollen. This makes things difficult for allergy sufferers and those with breathing problems.

Electronics and Lights

Power off electronics when they are not in use and consider making the switch from standard light bulbs to LEDs. While the initial cost of LED bulbs is higher than incandescent bulbs, the cost to operate them is much lower. Incandescent bulbs use up to six times as much energy as LEDs, meaning you’ll start saving money on your utility costs as soon as you make the switch. In addition, an LED bulb has a projected lifespan of approximately 50,000 hours compared to an incandescent’s 1,500. Therefore, you’ll be spending much less on light bulbs in the future.


Within the past 70 years, the standard American home has nearly doubled in size; the average home is now nearly 2,500 square feet. That’s a lot of space to heat and cool, so it’s a good idea to make sure there are no major drafts or leaks around your home’s windows. With upgrades possible with just some caulk and good weatherstripping, this is a budget-friendly project as well. If you’re looking to replace your windows for other reasons anyway, then spending a little extra for proper Energy Star windows is well worth it.

There you have five focus areas for a more energy-efficient home. While there are some bigger projects out there, upgrading to more energy-efficient fixtures and features doesn’t have to cost you much more than the standard price in most cases. Be strategic and see how much energy and money you can save with just a few simple upgrades.