WHILE most people know that energy efficiency is an important consideration when purchasing appliances or mechanical systems for the home, you may care to consider how your interior design choices can also affect energy efficiency.
Try these five tips to help reduce your home’s carbon footprint and save even more on your utility bills:
• Furnishings: Your selection and placement of furnishings can change how warm or cool a room feels. Furniture features such as high backs or fabric skirts can help reduce drafts. Throw blankets can introduce a fun color or print while reducing the need for heating.
• Flooring: If you have hard flooring such as hardwood, stained concrete, laminate or the like, as opposed to carpeting, adding or subtracting area rugs can help the room feel warmer or cooler. In addition, be careful about where you position pieces so you don’t block air vents. You can also get vent deflectors to redirect the air as it comes out.
• Lighting: If you’ve been holding off on switching to more efficient lightbulbs because you don’t care for the quality of light they give off, take another look at what’s available. Newer LED and compact fluorescent bulbs are getting closer to the warm light of incandescents and their energy savings are hard to beat.
• Fans: As you’re evaluating your lighting fixtures, consider if you can incorporate a ceiling fan with an integrated light into any room. Fans aren’t just for hot weather—those with a reversible setting can be switched to turn clockwise in the winter, so they recirculate warm air that has risen to the ceiling, which may also help to reduce heating bills.
• Windows: Draperies can sometimes block views to the outdoors as well as deter the natural light from coming in. A newer alternative can be 3M Sun Control Window Film, which is designed to let light in while keeping heat out. To determine how much this could save on your air conditioner use, try the Cooling Savings Calculator at www.3M.com/InteriorDesign.
In addition to rejecting heat, window films can help keep sunlight from fading carpets and furnishings. They’re even available in versions that don’t change the look of your windows or your home, so you can maintain both clear views to the outside and the curb appeal of your house.
The right energy-efficient upgrades can not only help save you money in the short term, they can increase the resale value of your house, so you may want to start thinking about changes you can make today.
For further information on Sun Control Window Film, go to www.3M.com/InteriorDesign.
North American Precis Syndicate