Improving Your Cottage's Energy Efficiency
For many Canadians, a trip up to the lake is a great way to unwind after the work week. And although these cottages may be charming, their older construction often means there are many ways that they are wasting energy.
In this post we are going to look at the different ways you can improve the energy efficiency of your cottage. This guide will provide you with the info you need to save big on electricity bills next cottage season. We will start with simple fixes and then move into the more complicated projects.
- LED Light Bulbs
Installing new LED lightbulbs is probably the easiest thing you can do to improve energy efficiency. According to the United States Department of Energy, replacing traditional bulbs with 12-watt LED’s can lower your energy usage by up to 80%, a difference surely to show in your monthly bill.
- Unplugging Chargers
If you have the whole family up at the lake, chances are there will be a whole lot of phones, tablets, and laptops that come up with them. If you want to keep your energy usage down, make sure you are telling people to leave their chargers unplugged when not in use.
But they’re not charging anything? What’s the point?
Well, plugged in chargers still draw power even if they are not charging anything. The same can be said for televisions, stereo systems, and small kitchen appliances. So, if you are serious about energy efficiency, make it a rule to unplug things when they are not being used. Your wallet will thank you.
- Cleaning Vents
Although not as easy as the above two strategies, cleaning your vents is still an easy enough fix that you can finish it on a Saturday morning and spend the rest of your day relaxing.
If you have a central heating and A/C, make sure the intake vents are cleaned of dust and hair because clogged vents can mean your furnace is working harder then it should be to move the same amount of air. Another area that may need cleaning is the condenser fins of your fridge. If they are covered in dust, they will not be as efficient as they could be and will continuously waste your electricity and therefore your money.
- Planting Trees Around the Cottage
We are going to get outside of the cottage for this next suggestion.
Planting a tree or two adjacent to the building can help you save on air conditioning in the summer as the branches will provide shade for the building. In the winter, the tree can also act as a wind break, breaking up cold breezes so the cottage doesn’t have to face them head on.
Fun fact, this could also be considered a nature-based solution which you can read all about here!
- Installing New Windows
Now we are getting into the real projects.
Most cottages probably have their original windows, and these can be a major source of energy loss in both the summer and winter. Upgrading those single-pane windows to new energy-efficient double-pane units can yield savings of up to $465 per year. And yes, new windows are expensive, but the savings you realize, and the value added to the cottage make them a worthwhile investment.
A cheaper alternative would be to install storm windows when the weather gets cold. These provide an additional layer of protection for your windows and help to insulate.
- Upgrading Weather Sealing and Insulation
On a cold fall day, you can probably walk around your cottage and feel a few cold spots where outside air is seeping in through cracks in the walls or between doors. To get rid of these invest in some weather stripping to go around door frames and make sure your walls and roof are properly insulated. Like new windows, this can be an expensive and time-consuming project, but the benefits are worth it and you’ll notice them no matter which season it is.
As you can see, there are many ways you can increase energy efficiency of your cottage. And the great thing is, you can make it as easy or as hard as you want depending on the level of savings you are after.
Thanks for reading! If you enjoyed this post, check out this one: 2 Quick Tips to Test Windows and Doors For Drafts.
And, if you want another way to reduce your electricity costs, check out our microgeneration wind turbine, the Anorra.