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Energy Efficient Interior Design

When most people think of energy efficiency, they think of wind turbines, solar panels, and electric cars.

But did you know that creating an energy-efficient home starts with your interior design?

Creating an energy-efficient home utilizing interior design ideas is a great way to reduce costs on your utility bills.

While your architect will find ways to utilize thermal mass by deciding on window placement or the best materials for insulation, planning a space is just the beginning.

The items you put inside your home, including your furnishings and decorations, provide the finishing touches of energy-efficient design.

Below we will discuss a few tips and ideas you can use to make your home a little more energy efficient.

Table Of Contents

  • Utilize Zone Heating

  • Window Treatments

  • Keep Circulation In Mind

  • Energy-Efficient Renovations

  • Upgrade Your Light

  • Be Picky With Your Paint

  • Start With Your Design

Zone Heating

Utilize Zone Heating

The first thing you can do to increase energy efficiency in your home is add a gas fireplace or a decorative space heater to a room to utilize zone heating.

Zone heating is the method of focusing heat in one room and turning down the thermostat in the rest of the house.

The purchase and installation costs can range from $100-$2,000 depending on the size, style, and quality of your heat source or fireplace.

Make sure to look for an energy-saving model, because lower utility bills aren't guaranteed with every type of space heater.

The size of the room and how much time you spend in that room will also make a difference in energy savings.

Fireplaces will always add beauty, comfort, and warmth to a room, but how and where they are used is essential to save on the cost of heating.

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Window Treatments to Boost Energy Efficiency

Curtains, blinds, and window shades will affect a room's temperature.

In the winter months, thermal curtains will protect against cold drafts, and in the warmer months, you can switch to sheer, airy drapes that will let in sunshine and breezes.

Traditional blinds aren't great at reducing heat loss, but they do an excellent job at keeping hot light from drenching a room.

Window shades can block out light and unwanted UV rays in warmer seasons and can reduce heat loss on cold nights, but not all products are made the same.

There are design options specifically crafted to help reduce your energy costs, like shades with a reflective white side and a dark, heat grabbing side that can be flipped depending on the season.

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Keep Circulation In Mind

You should be sure the layout of your room enhances air circulation, instead of hampering it.

Place furnishings away from heating and cooling vents, returns, and radiators.

If there's no way to get around this, close off any vent that gets covered.

You should also always allow six inches of space between furniture and your radiator.

Placing an area rug over hardwood floors and underneath beds will keep your feet warm and absorb any heat in the room rather than letting it escape.

If your home is drafty, consider purchasing high-back chairs and skirted furnishings, and remember to run a ceiling fan counterclockwise to circulate warm air down.

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Energy Efficient Renovations

If you own your home, you are likely to tackle at least a medium-scale renovation at some point during your ownership.

That renovation is an excellent time to update not only the look but the energy-efficiency of that space.

For example, if you decide to redo your bathroom, you can buy a water-conserving toilet, install in-floor heating under your tile, or insulate any walls that might not have been treated before your reno.

In the kitchen, buying new appliances can save on energy costs if they are replacing outdated models.

You can also change the layout of any space to add more windows on the south end of your home or open up walls to allow for more light and better air circulation.

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Upgrade Your Lighting

Perhaps the simplest upgrade to the energy-efficiency of your home is swapping out your light bulbs.

LED lights are the most energy-efficient product, but the costs will add up quickly if you want to change every room.

You'll save in the long run, however, saving you 75% on energy costs in just one year compared to traditional incandescent.

Compact fluorescent lamp, or CFL, bulbs will give you similar savings, but they don't last as long as LEDs.

Most LEDs will last up to 25,000 hours compared to the 10,000-hour expectancy of CFL bulbs.

Either choice is still better than newer incandescent bulbs whose energy savings top out at 25% and only last 1,000-3,000 hours.

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LED Lighting

Be Picky With Your Paint (Yeah, Energy Efficient Paint Hacks!)

Something as simple as the color of your walls still has an impact on the energy efficiency of your home.

Light colors like white, gray, and beige will reflect heat from surfaces like furniture and walls that tend to absorb it.

Darker shades, like red, blue, or brown, will absorb heat, making your home warmer without you having to touch the thermostat.

You don't have to paint your entire house the same color, or only use dark or light shades of paint for your walls.

Just keep in mind where natural light comes in from windows and what rooms in your home are naturally cooler.

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Start With an Energy Efficient Design

If you're trying to be more energy-efficient, whether it's just to save a couple bucks on your energy bill or to do your part for the environment, you don't have to go to the extremes.

You don't need to put a wind turbine in your front yard, coat your house in solar panels, or gut the interior of your home and start from scratch.

There are effective design choices you can start implementing today that will have an immediate impact on the energy efficiency of your home.

Saving a few dollars a month to invest in smart decor choices can have a significant impact on your heating and cooling bill.

Anyone can make changes today to improve the energy efficiency of their home.

If you enjoyed this article, try giving these a read:

  • 6 Best Design Tips For Your Master Bedroom

  • 7 Apps For Planning Room Layouts

  • 10 Ways to Make the Perfect Patio

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