Energy Efficiency at Home: Understanding its Meaning and Relevance

Energy efficiency at home has become a crucial topic in the modern era, where sustainability and resource conservation are more important than ever. But what does it really mean to be energy efficient, and why is it so important to consider when buying a home?

What is Energy Efficiency and Why is it Important for Your Home?

Energy efficiency at home refers to the optimal use of energy to carry out our daily activities, minimizing waste and making smarter use of available resources. For households, this means maintaining comfort and quality of life while simultaneously reducing energy consumption and, therefore, utility bills and carbon footprint.

Benefits of Improving Energy Efficiency at Home

At Gilmar Off Plan, we always say that the importance of energy efficiency at home lies in several key factors, such as:

Energy Efficiency interior design from gilmar off plan

Economic savings

An energy-efficient home significantly reduces energy consumption, which directly translates into a decrease in electricity and gas bills. This means substantial economic savings for households over time.

Comfort and quality of life

Energy efficiency at home improves home comfort by ensuring optimal indoor temperature, adequate lighting, and efficient operation of appliances, all with lower energy consumption.

Environmental protection

By reducing energy consumption, greenhouse gas emissions and other pollutants associated with energy generation from fossil sources are reduced. This contributes significantly to the fight against climate change and the protection of the environment.

Energy security

Energy efficiency reduces dependence on external and fossil energy sources, contributing to a country or region’s energy security by diversifying energy sources and promoting the use of renewable alternatives.

Property value

Homes with high energy efficiency certificates tend to have a higher value in the real estate market, as they are more attractive to buyers or tenants interested in energy savings and sustainability.

Resource Conservation

Energy efficiency involves more conscious and responsible use of the planet’s limited resources. This not only reduces dependence on fossil fuels but also encourages diversification towards cleaner and renewable energy sources.

How to Obtain the Energy Efficiency Certificate for Your Home

energy rating of buildings

The Energy Efficiency Certificate is an official document that assesses how efficient a home is in terms of energy consumption. This certificate classifies properties on a scale from A (most efficient) to G (least efficient), providing a useful tool for identifying areas for improvement.

To obtain the energy efficiency certificate at home in Spain, you need to contact a qualified technician, such as an architect or engineer. This professional will visit your home to collect information and perform the necessary calculations. Afterwards, they will issue the certificate and register it with the competent body of your autonomous community. The average price of the certificate varies but is estimated between 60 and 130 euros.

Is the Energy Efficiency Certificate Mandatory?

Yes, since June 1, 2013, according to Royal Decree 235/2013, it is mandatory in Spain to have an energy efficiency certificate for all homes that are sold or rented. This requirement is part of the EU’s efforts to improve the energy efficiency of buildings, with the aim of reducing energy consumption by at least 32.5% by 2030.

Steps to Improve the Energy Efficiency of Your Home

Evaluate insulation

Improve your home’s insulation using airtight windows and doors to maintain an optimal indoor temperature without excessive use of heating or cooling.

Optimize lighting

Replace traditional bulbs with LED or fluorescent options and take advantage of natural light by using skylights.

Select efficient appliances

Choose those with the best energy rating, preferably A labels or higher.

Update heating systems

Replace old systems with options that use renewable energies such as aerothermal, geothermal, or biomass.

Reduce water consumption

Install single-lever taps, flow regulators, and dual-flush cisterns.

Implement monitoring and home automation systems

These systems allow for more efficient control of energy consumption in lighting, air conditioning, and other home systems.

What Does a Home’s Energy Rating Mean?

A home’s energy rating indicates its efficiency in terms of energy consumption. The most efficient homes (rating A) consume less energy and have a lower environmental impact, while the least efficient (rating G) consume more and are less sustainable.

To give you an idea, a home with an “A” energy rating consumes up to 90% less than one with a “G” rating.

Since 2021, the EU has implemented that all new buildings must be nearly zero-emission buildings (NZEB). These buildings are designed with high energy efficiency standards in mind and, although they require some external energy to operate, the amount is minimal compared to conventional standards.

By 2030, the EU plans to move from these to zero-emission buildings (ZEB), which will obtain 100% of their energy from renewable sources.

How is a Home’s Energy Efficiency Calculated?

The energy efficiency of a home is generally calculated by dividing the energy consumed by its usable area, known as specific energy consumption. However, this calculation is not always sufficient, as building materials also require energy in their manufacture, making the problem more complex and requiring a more comprehensive approach.

ISO 50001, a voluntary standard, is one of the main standards used to measure energy efficiency in buildings. This standard employs different indicators that measure energy consumption (such as lighting, ventilation, heating, cooling, and hot water production) over a specific period. The more energy used in the home, the less efficient it is.

What are the Two Main Indicators of a Home’s Energy Efficiency?

Annual CO2 emissions, expressed in kg/m2 of usable surface area of the home.

Annual consumption of non-renewable primary energy, expressed in kWh/m2 of usable surface area of the home.

We must keep in mind that energy efficiency at home will help us make our home more efficient in resource management and, therefore, will generate a more comfortable space. Therefore, whether we buy a home as an investment or for ourselves, this will be very useful to us.

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