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3 expert tips for a greener, more energy-efficient home

DR Richardson and Josh Lake founded Elephant Energy in 2021 with a mission to simplify electrifying homes.

“We wanted to make it dramatically easier and more affordable to make homes more energy efficient,” Richardson said.

But making your home more energy efficient can be daunting, so Elephant Energy created a tool to provide an electrification roadmap.

“It’s a simple, approachable way for homeowners to get the answer,” Richardson said. “Every home is a little different. This helps you create a custom plan for your home.”

The most significant levers for creating a more climate-friendly home are how you heat the house, replacing gas-powered appliances, and improving insulation.

Heat pump vs. gas furnace

Richardson said technology improvements have made heat pumps that work well in cold temperatures to provide heat and cooling.

A heat pump uses electricity to move heat from one place to another, while a furnace burns fuel like natural gas or oil to generate heat.

Heat pumps are more energy-efficient than furnaces because they transfer heat rather than create it. This means lower energy bills and reduced carbon emissions.

Richardson said homeowners should consider switching to heat pumps when it’s time to replace their furnaces.

“If you’ve got a five-year-old furnace, you won’t see a financial return on investment,” he said. “You see the benefit when the furnace is old and needs to be replaced. You can get incentives to install it, you’ll have lower operating costs and improved indoor air quality. It’s a win-win-win.”

Replace gas appliances

Consider investing in a heat pump water heater or an induction stove for energy savings.

Gas appliances like stoves, water heaters, and dryers can be significant sources of greenhouse gas emissions and contribute to indoor air pollution.

By switching to electric appliances, you can reduce your carbon footprint, save on energy bills, and improve the air quality in your home. Many utility companies offer incentives for upgrading to energy-efficient electric models.

When choosing new appliances, look for products with high Energy Star ratings to ensure optimal efficiency.

Improve insulation

Improving home insulation creates a greener and more energy-efficient living space.

Properly insulating your walls, floors, attic, basement, and crawl space can reduce heat loss during winter and keep cool air inside during summer. This helps lower your energy bills and minimizes your carbon footprint.

Replacing windows and doors or using foam to seal outlets can improve your home’s energy efficiency.

While it can take 20 years to see a return on investment, the other changes can help save money more quickly, Richardson said.

“There are simple things every homeowner should do,” Richardson said. “Don’t let perfect be the enemy of good. Start by making small changes that improve your home’s comfort, efficiency, climate, and air quality.”

The news and editorial staffs of The Denver Post had no role in this post’s preparation.

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