Staying Cool and Energy Efficient in America’s New Multigenerational Hybrid Home
(NewsUSA) - Homeowners are facing the latest post-COVID reality resulting from the confluence of two mounting trends that together threaten to financially and physically “put the squeeze” on families in increasingly crowded households nationwide.
Recent 2023 research from the National Association of Realtors uncovered a “Post-COVID Surge in Multigenerational Home Buying,” citing multi-generational buying is back near an all-time high exceeding 1 in 10 homes purchased – at 15% for first-time buyers and 14% for repeat buyers.
Plus, there is increased demand due to our post-pandemic “hybrid home” dynamic. According to the recent EY Future Workplace Index, 87% of employers reported that most or all employees worked from the office pre-pandemic versus just 29% today.
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 more than half (54%) of home energy use, small steps can go a long way.
- Leverage the 2022 Inflation Reduction Act:The 2022 Inflation Reduction Act is a landmark legislation that encourages Americans to transition towards a new era of energy efficiency and decarbonization. It offers households tax credits for related improvements that save money in the long run, such as highly efficient heating and cooling appliances like heat pumps. Households can claim a tax credit for 30% of the costs of buying and installing a heat pump, up to $2,000 including support for any electric system upgrades needed to make the home heat-pump-ready.
- 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, offered by companies including Fujitsu General America, can save as much as 25% on energy bills. 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 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 “smart” systems by enabling remote temperature control via a mobile or Internet-connected device or voice-operated home automation system.
- Voice Your Preference: 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 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, consider upgrading to a zoned ducted, or ductless system, allowing you to save energy heating and cooling spaces where you don’t spend much time. You’ll multiply savings by needing less cooling and gaining a more efficient system in the spaces you use.
- Try Low-tech Fixes: Try to use heat-producing appliances – stoves, irons and dryers – at night or early morning. Switch to LED light bulbs instead of incandescent bulbs – which consume 90% more power. Seal air leaks around windows, doors, and places where pipes and wires come through walls. Check existing caulking and weather-stripping for gaps or cracks.
Promote multigenerational hybrid home harmony this season with a climate control system that will keep your family cool without tempers heating up. To learn more or find a contractor nearby, visit www.constantcomfort.com.