Homeowners can find efficient energy plans at electriccompanies.com, but design trends like natural daylight harvesting with light pipes, solar collectors and reflectors, and eco-friendly bath fixtures that save water help homeowners get a better return on investment with redesigned interiors that save energy and money.
Natural light is appealing and healthy for occupants, as well as flattering for colors and objects. The more natural light that enters an interior space, the less electric light is required. The most common way to get natural light into a room is through the windows, so energy efficient design and remodel projects must consider and include windows.
Consider the following for energy efficient interior design:
- Install larger windows
- Install more windows
- Install energy efficient windows that insulate against heat and cold
Adding window technologies that bring more daylight into an interior space is an economical way to harvest daylight without altering existing windows. Light shelves are reflective appliances installed along the tops of walls to bring in light from outside and reflect it to the ceiling. This type of light is dispersed, rather than centered, like light from regular windows, and doesn’t produce as much heat gain. Light pipes or tubes are flexible tubes with clear caps and reflective interiors that bring light inside from the roof.
Eco-Friendly Bath Fixtures and Features
According to the EPA, the bathroom is where the largest water usage occurs, and toilets can use more than a quarter of total household water. Leaky toilet wastes water, as does leaving the water run while brushing your teeth.
Remodeling a bathroom to be more water-efficient reduces wasted water and saves money. The EPA estimates that if only one in 10 homes switched to water-efficient bathroom features, it would save billions of gallons of water and millions of dollars per year.
When it’s time to remodel a bathroom, homeowners should consider the following features to use less water:
- Water-efficient bathroom faucets with the EPA’s WaterSense ® designation to reduce water flow more than 30 percent.
- Low-flow toilets that use less than two gallons of water per flush.
- High-efficiency shower heads that use only 1.5 gallons per minute compared to 2.5 gallons per minute that traditional shower heads use.
- If budget permits, install a tank less water heater for hot water.
Energy Efficient Window Treatments
Window treatments can reduce energy use more economically than replacing windows. Shades, shutters, and high-reflectivity films are some of the many window treatments that improve indoor energy efficiency.
Blinds are an effective window treatment to reduce heat gain through sunny windows and are available in a wide range of attractive materials and designs, from fabric to plastic to wood. Drapes are effective window treatments to reduce heat gain in summer and heat loss in winter. Drapes with white-plastic backings reduce heat gain by more than 30 percent. Drapes hung close to windows and sealed to the walls at both sides and that overlap in the center can reduce heat loss by up to 25 percent.