From unplugging appliances when they’re not in use to setting lights on motion sensors or timers, there are plenty of ways to save on energy in your home. But did you know you can harness the natural power of the sun to help limit your energy use indoors?
By taking advantage of natural light and heat, you can use the sun to help reduce your indoor energy consumption and your monthly utility bills. This energy saving guide features home upgrades and simple habits that let you use the natural light and heat to improve your energy conservation and environmental footprint.
Explore the habits you can change and other ways to conserve energy in your home by harnessing the power of the sun.
Install Screens or Blinds
Window treatments, such as blinds, shades, and curtains, allow you to control how much light—and how much heat—enters your home. In warmer months, you can close curtains and blinds to keep heat out of your home and save energy, while in winter, you can let natural light flow in. Both options allow you to control the temperature of your home without putting extra strain on your heating and cooling system.
Thanks to modern technology, you can automate blinds and shades for easy operation, closing or opening with the touch of a button, making preserving energy in your home even simpler.
Upgrade Your Windows
For increased conservation of electricity, replace older windows with newer, more efficient models. Many older windows let heat out, contributing to as much as 25% of your overall heating bill.
Double-pane windows are more energy-efficient and feature high-quality glass with low emissions coating. These features cut heat loss and reduce energy costs. While replacing windows is a major home improvement project, you will likely recoup your investment over time with energy savings.
Even smaller windows like those on doors or skylights can contribute to energy savings. These windows bring in both natural light and heat, helping lower heating costs and keeping electricity bills low.
Take Advantage of Passive Solar Energy
Not everyone can afford to invest in a large solar power system, but using passive solar energy is considerably more affordable. Passive solar energy refers to taking advantage of the sun’s rays by installing materials or planting trees in strategic spots around your property to help save on energy.
For example, adding plants or trees near south-, east-, and west-facing windows can help let in the sun’s heat during colder months and provide a buffer against the wind. Deciduous tree leaves provide shade and block the heat in summer and shed those leaves in the winter to give your home easier access to natural light and warmth.
If you’re wondering how to conserve energy with your patio design, install materials like stone, concrete, or metal on your patio to take advantage of passive solar energy. These thermal materials absorb sunlight during the day and emit warmth during cooler evenings and nights, creating a primitive solar heating system that can help you save energy.
Related: Explore additional energy saving tips for your home.
Air-Dry Your Laundry
Instead of running the clothes dryer, use warm weather to dry your laundry on a clothesline. Taking advantage of the warmth of the sun to dry your clothes is a great way to boost your conservation of electricity, especially because the dryer is a major energy-user in your home.
’The average American family washes and dries several hundred loads of laundry each year, so using the power of the sun to air-dry your clothing can be a big energy and money-saver.
Enjoy Your Patio
When the weather is nice, why not spend more time outside? Using an outdoor grill instead of the oven keeps your kitchen from heating up the whole house in the warmer months. On nice evenings, you can even dine outdoors by candlelight to avoid turning on extra lights in the house and save energy.
Planting shade trees around your deck and patio can help keep everyone cool and comfortable, or you can add a roof or awning to the area for extra shade.
Redecorate Your Home
A classy and timeless way to decorate your home, mirrors are more than décor. They can help reduce your energy usage and save on energy bills. Mirrors reflect sunlight, bouncing it back into the room, making the space feel brighter and helping to keep your home warm in cooler months.
You can also rearrange furniture to prevent natural light from being obstructed. Painting your interior walls a lighter color can also help save energy, in addition to helping small spaces feel larger.
Install Retractable Glass Panels
Instead of patio windows or French doors, add retractable glass panels to balconies, decks, or patios. These folding panels allow you to bring in more natural light while protecting the interior of your home from the elements.
On especially nice days, you can open the panels and bring the outdoors in, which is perfect for entertaining during warmer weather.