Twelve Tips for an Energy Friendly Beach House

Ian Mutuli
Updated on
Ian Mutuli

Ian Mutuli

Founder and Managing Editor of Archute. He is also a graduate architect from The University of Nairobi, Kenya.
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When it comes to energy, simple changes can save you money. Here are twelve tips on how to do it at your beach house. 

Owning a beach house is a dream and a great source of extra income. Furthermore, you can take affordable family and group vacations when it is most convenient unless it is your primary residence. Recently, there has been an increase in people moving to the coastal areas. Energy-efficient homes are more likely to be purchased by these new homebuyers. As a result, the coastal style has evolved from beach shacks to practical and uniquely designed buildings. A beach house, however, can be very expensive to maintain. Therefore, it is essential to improve its energy efficiency in order to reduce costs.

Regardless of whether your home is a vacation home or your primary residence, you should always optimize its energy efficiency. Energy efficiency starts with the design of your beach house and extends to the lifestyle you live there. Here are twelve tips you can follow to make your beach house energy-efficient and environmentally friendly, saving you hundreds of dollars annually.

Tip 1.  Design with Energy Concerns

energy efficient

If you are able to build your own house, choose one that integrates harmoniously with its surroundings and relies on natural energy sources. You can, for example, work with your architect to design a floorplan that preserves the natural greenery of the area where you're building the house. Instead of uprooting the trees, finding ways to utilize them for wind and sun protection will help your home to be more energy-efficient. 

A house built near the beach lets you take advantage of many renewable energy sources. You can expect your house to receive plenty of bright sunlight and strong winds depending on its location. Utilizing these natural resources is one of the easiest ways to make your home eco-friendly and energy efficient. From placing solar panels on the roof to installing a residential wind turbine near the house, there are a lot of things you can do to reduce grid energy consumption.

The energy efficiency component of green building programs is based on the EPA/DOE Energy Star Home program. Greenhouses, such as those listed by the Myrtle Beach real estate website, use eco-smart products and materials for construction. They have windows and doors designed specifically for maintaining optimal temperatures, high-performance insulation for retaining heat in the winter and keeping cool during the summer, and energy-star-rated appliances.

Tip 2. Choose Energy-Efficient Windows

To be energy-efficient, choose windows that resist both radiant and conductive heat flow. When shopping for new energy-efficient windows for your home, look for ENERGY STAR certified labels, NFRC ratings, low U-factors, and low solar heat gain coefficients (SHGC). The installation of these windows is also crucial to their effectiveness. A window with the lowest U-factor and SHGC rating is the most energy efficient. Both numbers should be less than 0.35 to ensure optimal performance in all conditions.

Consider replacing your single-pane windows with energy-efficient options if your home has them. You can also improve the energy efficiency of your windows by adding solar shades or tinting film.

Tip 3. Install a Smart Thermostat

Smart thermostats with the latest technology can provide greater access and convenience than traditional thermostats. When you are sleeping or away, these thermostats can automatically turn off or reduce the heating and cooling. You can control them directly from your smartphone. Furthermore, they can track energy usage, alert you to potential AC system problems, and much more! Smart thermostats can save you up to 10 percent on your yearly electric bill. Take the time to review the options available and choose the one that best suits your needs. 

Tip 4. Dial Back Your Standard Thermostat

Reduce your standard thermostat's setting by 7 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit for eight hours a day to save energy. Or reduce home cooling costs while you're away by setting the thermostat to 85-90 degrees. If you set it higher than 90 degrees, your refrigerator will work harder and use more energy.

Tip 5. Switch to Energy-efficient Light Bulbs

The DOE estimates that a typical American household spends between 5 and 10 percent of its energy budget on lighting. On average, energy-efficient light bulbs or LEDs are 80 percent more efficient than incandescent bulbs. Therefore, switching to LED lightbulbs will help you save energy. In comparison to other types of lighting, this lighting is more durable and offers better light quality. 

Installing a smart lighting system can help you save even more energy. This system allows you to control your home's lights remotely, check their status, and set a schedule to ensure that they don't run continuously. A few lights can be turned on by the timers in the evening as a security measure and to make it seem like someone is at your beach house. Or, you can use a motion sensor to reduce the amount of time your lights are on.

Tip 6. Use Fans

Beaches around the country can get hot during the summer, so some homeowners may want to lower their air conditioners. Nevertheless, that may not always be the best idea when it comes to your energy bill or the longevity of your HVAC system. By choosing to use your fan more often, you can avoid pushing your AC to its breaking point and keep your energy bills low. When leaving the house, make sure to turn off those fans.

Tip 7. Lower the Water Heater Temperature 

According to the website Energy Rating, water heating can account for up to 25 percent of your household's energy costs. In most cases, lowering the temperature of a water heater to between 120 and 130 degrees Fahrenheit can save you both money and energy. Water heaters can also be wrapped with special covers to help retain heat. If you are planning to be away for several months, you might want to turn off the water heater completely. By doing so, you will conserve more energy and avoid water damage from bursting pipes.

You can also save energy by using solar hot water at your beach house. Hot water can be produced by vacuum-tube systems even on cloudy days. The tubes can, however, build up a salt film, so having easy access to clean them is important. 

Tip 8. Use Blinds and Curtains Wisely

Blinds and curtains are often overlooked when it comes to energy efficiency. Close your blinds on hot summer days and open them on cold winter days to control your home's temperature.

Tip 9. Change Your Air Filter as Needed

As well as causing allergies and contaminating the air, dirty air filters reduce your HVAC system's efficiency, making your units work harder and longer than they should. Air filters should be replaced every three months in an occupied home and every five to six months in a vacation home. Set a reminder on your phone so you don't forget to change the filter.

Tip 10. Seal Leaks and Check Insulation Options

A well-insulated building is more pleasant and cost-effective. To decrease air loss, close your doors and windows when your HVAC system is on. Make sure that external walls, roofs, lofts, basements, wall gaps, attics, heating, and cooling ducts are all properly insulated.

Coastal areas are more exposed to the wind than inland areas, so air sealing has a greater impact on energy efficiency. Close all openings that could allow air to enter or exit. Pay close attention to air leaks from places such as the attic and basement. Something as simple as weather strips on your door and window frames can maintain indoor temperature and save you money over time. Having a well-insulated home can also extend the lifespan of your roof and prevent costly repairs down the road. 

Tip 11.  Unplug All Electronics

Even when turned off, many appliances and electronics continue to consume energy (phantom energy draw). Take some time to audit your home for wasted energy and implement some of the following suggestions to improve energy efficiency, lower your power bill, and enjoy your stay. Unplug any electronic device with power light. This includes big appliances like your TV as well as smaller ones like your DVD player, computer, printer, battery chargers, wireless devices, toaster, and coffee maker. To prevent phantom energy draws, plug several appliances into a smart power strip and turn it off. 

Tip 12. Get an Energy Audit

The best and least expensive thing you can do is to get a whole-house energy assessment (or mass save energy audit). You will receive a comprehensive list of recommendations for making your beach house more energy-efficient after a 2-3 hour walk-through. 


A high electric bill can make anyone feel stressed and helpless, especially if it’s not for your primary residence. More than just money can be saved by making your beach house more energy efficient. In addition to providing comfort to your family, it makes your home healthier and more environmentally friendly. The tips of this article (while not exhaustive) are just a few steps in the right direction, so no matter how many or how little you take, you will be on your way to an energy-efficient beach house.

Ian Mutuli

About the author

Ian Mutuli

Founder and Managing Editor of Archute. He is also a graduate architect from The University of Nairobi, Kenya.
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