Written by Dennis Stinson
The COVID-19 pandemic has forever changed the face of America’s workplace. In fact, an increasing number of folks might find their “new office” feels a lot like home – because it is … literally.
Our post-pandemic “return to the office” may look very different with hybrid or fully remote work models rapidly rising in popularity. Studies support this trend, with 83 percent of workers believing a hybrid model would be optimal going forward, according to an Accenture survey. Further, 87 percent of managers believe working from home is the future, according to Remote-How research.
While the new dynamic promises an improved work-life balance, it will also cause energy use and utility bills to skyrocket with technologies, appliances and systems running at unprecedented levels – making optimal energy-efficient home climate control a greater challenge.
The good news is that families can prevent a utility bill blitz by following a few simple tips. With home heating and cooling accounting for nearly half of home energy use, small steps can go a long way.
Ease Into Electric
According to Columbia University’s Earth Institute, electric systems are a solution to decarbonize home climate control. Among the most energy-efficient heating and cooling products, electricity-powered ductless mini-split systems can save as much as 25 percent on your energy bill. Mini-splits use thin copper tubing to pump refrigerant from an outdoor compressor directly into an indoor air-handling unit, where the air is quietly distributed to the interior space.
Get “Smart” About Climate Control
When it comes to smart home temperature control, there are Smart HVAC Systems and Smart Thermostats. Smart HVAC systems have built-in Internet capability and can be controlled directly without additional equipment. Smart Home Thermostats create “intelligent” systems by enabling remote temperature control via a mobile or Internet-connected device or voice-operated home automation system.
Voice Your Preference
Take control of your comfort. Most HVAC manufacturers offer apps that enable systems to be controlled from anywhere using a mobile device. Voice-control capability uses digital assistants, like Amazon Alexa or Google Home, to verbally dictate home temperatures. Easily controlling the temperature more closely allows homeowners to be more comfortable and improve energy savings.
Find Your Efficient Comfort Zone
Many of us live in homes designed for bigger families but have yet to downsize. If you find yourself using a fraction of your home on a regular basis, consider upgrading to a zoned ducted or ductless system. That will allow you to save energy heating and cooling spaces where you and your family don’t spend a lot of time. Plus, the savings will multiply, as you’ll not only need less cooling capacity, you’ll also gain from a more efficient system in the spaces you do use frequently.
Try Low-Tech Fixes
Simple changes can have a big impact. Take advantage of the sun’s energy to heat your home by opening your south-facing curtains at sunrise to make best use of “passive solar gain.” Force warmed air down. Denser, cooler air stays closer to the ground, and warmer air rises. So, force it downward with a low-speed fan. Insulate and fill the gaps, too. Warmed air leakage around poorly sealed doors, window frames, power sockets, recessed light fittings and other gaps can be a big source of heat loss in homes. Finally, thick curtains will help to insulate glass at windows.
If your family is spending a lot more time at home and your utility bills are soaring, a ductless heating and cooling system could be a worthwhile investment. Many Fujitsu systems with the Energy Star rating are more than twice as efficient as the minimum standard set by the government. To learn more or find a contractor near you, call 888-888-3424 or visit www.constantcomfort.com.