Interior Design with Energy Efficiency in Mind
If your home isn’t as energy efficient as it could be, you might find your interior a bit chillier this winter than you’d like. Fortunately, a few simple updates can make all the difference.
When the weather outside is frightful, our homes are where we escape the cold. But if your home isn’t as energy efficient as it could be, you might find your interior a bit chillier than you’d like. Fortunately, a few simple updates can make all the difference. And don’t worry; energy efficiency doesn’t have to mean unsightly plastic over the windows or expensive home repairs. The right interior design elements can be all you need for aesthetically-pleasing energy efficiency.
Simple Interior Design Updates That Make a World of Difference
“The items used to furnish and decorate your home provide the finishing touches of energy-efficient design,” says Emily Gleeson, doityourself.com, “which is something any savvy DIYer can do.” Making decorating decisions with energy efficiency in mind can help improve comfort and lower your energy bills in both the winter and summer.
“Believe it or not, the paint color in your home can affect your energy bill,” says Gleeson. Light colors, like white and beige, reflect heat, while dark colors, like red and blue, absorb heat. But don’t worry; you don’t have to paint your entire home one color to reap the energy efficiency benefits this winter. “Instead think about where natural light comes in from windows and what rooms in your home are naturally cooler than others,” says Gleeson.
“Many homeowners don’t realize that a simple upgrade to their light bulbs can have a huge impact on energy savings,” says Gleeson.
According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), lighting accounts for 9% of the average home’s energy consumption. And while more efficient lighting may not mean a warmer interior, it can help offset the costs of heating this winter.
- Replace incandescent light bulbs with CFLs or LEDs, which cost more initially, but use much less energy. These energy efficient bulbs also last significantly longer.
- Consider lower wattage bulbs in areas that don’t need quite as much illumination.
- Timers and motion sensors are another great way to cut energy usage when a room is unoccupied.
- Whenever possible, rely on natural light – it’s free and can also help warm your home during the day.
Carpets and Rugs
“Carpets and rugs absorb a lot of heat specifically in winter season,” says Andreea Elena, Impressive Interior Design. Plus, a rug can be an excellent accent piece. The right rug is the perfect energy efficient accessory for rooms with chilly hardwood flooring.
“Choosing the right flooring for your home is an inexpensive way to save on climate-control costs,” says Courtnie Packer, Top Ten Reviews.
Throws and Quilts
A few well-placed throws, quilts, and pillows not only help pull a room together, but provide an additional layer of comfort. These stylish accessories are easy to add to any decor and they allow you and your guests to snuggle up to help avoid chilly weather.
Did you know that you can reverse the rotation of your ceiling fan? This creates an upward current that helps re-circulate warm air trapped on your ceiling (remember, heat rises). “Simply look for the reverse switch near the top of your fan unit,” says Elena. This less-than-two-minute adjustment can greatly improve the comfort of your interior.
“Windows lose more heat per square foot of area in winter and gain more heat in summer than any other surface in the home,” according to the Penn State College of Earth and Mineral Sciences. This is because heat always travels from warm areas to cool areas along the path of least resistance – in the winter, this means heat escapes through your windows. Because of this, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) estimates that windows account for 25-40% of our annual heating and cooling costs. Fortunately, there is a simple solution – window treatments.
“By being specific in your choice of window treatments, you can reduce heat loss,” says Packer. We recommend Honeycomb Shades, which “act as insulation, protecting your home from cold and heat with their energy-saving honeycomb design,” says interior designer Lisa Scheff. Each honeycomb, or cell, produces insulating pockets of inert air which can help reduce heat flow through a window. This is because inert air is a poor conductor of heat. So, the more cells there are, and the bigger the cells, the more energy efficient the shade.