How an Energy-Efficient House Can Improve Your Health

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It is well known that having an energy-efficient house can help reduce both your bills and carbon footprint. But did you know that living in an energy-efficient house can also benefit your health? In this article, we will examine how having an energy-efficient house can improve your health.

What makes a house energy efficient?

An energy-efficient house is a house that uses less energy to perform certain tasks. For example, if your home is well-insulated and energy-efficient, you will spend less money on your heating and cooling costs. If you have an energy-efficient washing machine, it will take less energy and water to run than a standard washing machine.

An energy-efficient home offers many benefits to your finances, physical and mental health, and overall well-being. These are also important as we work to implement more sustainable homes to reduce energy use. 

Some of the key qualities of an energy-efficient home include:

• Good insulation

• High-efficiency appliances

• Energy-efficient doors and windows

• Good ventilation

• A good HVAC system

• Air sealing

• Electric appliances instead of stoves using gas/wood.

Breathe Easier

While pollutants that can trigger asthma or allergies are often more diluted indoors, a lot of asthma symptoms can be triggered indoors. For example, according to the CDC, dust mites, mold, pests, and pets are some of the most common indoor asthma triggers. In an energy-efficient house, there is usually a better ventilation system, which can increase air exchange and improve the overall air quality in a house.

Many older homes contain health hazards like asbestos and lead in them, which can cause respiratory issues, in addition to other health hazards for people. An older home may also have poor ventilation that pests can get into easily, and depending on how old the system is, mold can also grow in it. This can increase the amount of pollution in the air of your home, which can impact your respiratory health and may also make asthma worsen.

Reduce Stress and Anxiety

Having a high energy or water bill can be stressful, especially if you are on a tight budget. With an energy-efficient house, you can enjoy a lower energy bill, which can help reduce stress and anxiety and potentially make you feel more financially secure. The house having a consistent temperature can also help make your life more comfortable and promote a better sense of calm.

If you are concerned about how your life impacts the environment, it can cause you stress and anxiety. By having an energy-efficient home, that stress and anxiety can also go down. You will know that you have reduced your carbon footprint, in addition to your energy savings, which can greatly alleviate your stress and anxiety. Environmental anxiety can make someone feel helpless, so by improving the energy efficiency of your house, you are taking action, which can make you feel like you have more control over your impact on the environment.

Increase Physical Comfort

Energy-efficient homes are well-insulated. Not only will a home with good insulation reduce your heating and cooling costs, but it will also make you feel more comfortable. You will not need to worry about the cold winter air sneaking in and making you feel cold, plus driving up your energy bill at the same time.

Improve Your Sleep Quality

To get a better, more restful sleep, temperature regulation is an important part of this. Since your energy-efficient house is well-insulated, and you may even have a smart thermostat to help with that, your home's temperature should stay where you want it throughout the night, improving your quality of sleep. Plus, since your home is so well insulated, it is also probably quieter since less noise from outside will be able to sneak in and get to you. So, if you live near a busy street, the noise is not going to disturb your sleep much.

Improve Your Mood and Productivity

When your house is not energy-efficient, your living conditions might be uncomfortable. For example, your house could be stuffy or always too hot or cold, depending on the time of year. All of this can negatively impact someone's mood as well as their productivity at home — chores might get put off, or if you work from home, you might have difficulty concentrating on your work. Since an energy-efficient house can help keep the interior of your home comfortable, your mood and productivity can get a boost since being home will feel more pleasant.

Reduce Pollution

The more homes that invest in becoming more energy-efficient, the lower our carbon footprints will become. We have the potential to enjoy better air quality overall, which can improve anyone's physical and mental health, as well as their quality of life.

Heart Health and Energy-Efficiency

If there are air pollutants in the home from things like burning fossil fuels or coal, it can be detrimental to your cardiovascular health. This means there is the potential for a heart attack or even congestive heart failure.

Nervous System Impacts

The air pollutants that are released when coal is burned can be harmful to the brain and nervous system. This can potentially lead to a stroke if there is prolonged exposure.

How can I make my house more energy-efficient?

If you are ready to make your house more energy-efficient for your health, here are some tips to help get you started.

Seal Air Leaks

Air leaks are a major energy waste in homes. They can make it harder for you to maintain a comfortable temperature inside and let in allergens. You can seal up your air vents with new caulking and weatherstripping, as well as add foam insulation for gaps that are around pipes, vents, and wires. If you are not sure exactly where your air leaks are, light a candle and walk around the house with it. When the flame bends toward a door or window, that means you have an air leak you need to seal up.

Use LED Lighting

If you are still using incandescent lightbulbs, it is time to swap them out for LED lights. LED lightbulbs last about 25 times longer than incandescent bulbs, and they use up to 75 percent less energy. It will save you both energy and money by changing up your bulbs.

Build a Steel Home

If you are already thinking about buying a new home that has some energy-efficient upgrades or having one built from scratch, consider a steel building. Steel can be well-insulated to improve the energy efficiency of the house. Plus, since it is not an organic material, you will not need to worry about mold or pests damaging your house and potentially impacting your overall physical and mental health. While it might not seem like a green building material, steel is one of the best green building materials available, especially since it is nearly 100 percent recyclable and does not lose strength when it is recycled.

Invest in a Smart Thermostat

The heating and cooling costs of a home are one of the biggest contributors to your energy bills. If you invest in a smart thermostat, you can program it to adjust the temperature of your home based on your schedule. You can lower it a little during the day when no one is home, as well as at night while everyone is sleeping. Then, you will not need to worry about making sure you adjust it as needed; it will do it all for you, which can help improve your home's energy costs. 

Invest in Energy-Efficient Appliances

Your household appliances — washing machine, dishwasher, and refrigerator — are a large portion of your home's energy use. If you upgrade your appliances to energy-efficient models, you can reduce your energy use a lot. While this can be expensive up front, the overall cost savings you will enjoy from these upgraded appliances make this a worthwhile investment.

When upgrading your appliances, do not forget the stove. Using a gas or wood burning stove will increase the number of pollutants in your home's indoor air, which can impact your respiratory system. Instead, opt for an energy-efficient electric stove. While many enjoy cooking on a gas stove, it is better for the environment and your home's air quality if you use an electric one instead.

Final Thoughts

Having an energy-efficient house offers many benefits to your physical and mental health that make it worthwhile to invest in energy efficiency. Not only will this help your health, but it can help the environment, which will also help the health and well-being of yourself and others. While investing in energy efficiency for your home may have some initial costs to it before you start enjoying the cost savings, overall, it can be worth it. Additionally, sometimes there are tax incentives from the government for upgrading your home to be energy efficient. Before you begin planning your upgrades, look into programs that may help you finance them. 

About the Author

Auz Burger is a freelance writer and an expert in steel buildings. She has a BA from Washington State University and has been writing and editing professionally for over a decade. 

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