The climate emergency we are facing today has upset our entire ecosystem, and not just in the natural world. The way we have built our cities is unsustainable for the future we have ahead. With more dramatic storms, including hurricanes and devastating wildfires wreaking havoc across the country, there has never been a better time to rethink social engineering and even the way we build our houses.

The threat to homeowners

For everyday homeowners, the greatest threat is rising energy bills. In the United States there is a projected 2.8% increase in the cost of utilities this year, and prices are only expected to increase year after year as temperatures become more polarized and natural gas costs increase.

The necessity to switch from fossil fuels to renewable energy is apparent when you look at the costs. For Hawaii, which runs primarily on crude oil, costs rest at 30.78 cents per kilowatt hour. In comparison, Idaho, which runs primarily on hydroelectricity, benefits from the lowest rates in the entire country. Homeowners need to look to alternative energy options and home improvement renovations to subvert these rising utilities costs, and in turn, actually help make their cities more sustainable. Here are some ways in which this can be achieved:

Improve the quality of the roof insulation

Roofs, like an uncovered head, have the potential to release huge amounts of heat and energy. Likewise, they can also bake your home during the summer. Keeping cool and warm when your roof is not doing its job is a very difficult task. Roofs themselves often only have a lifespan of between 10 and 20 years, depending on how well it has been maintained.

If you experience cold spots (especially in the attic), damp, mold, or cracks near your ceiling, you cannot waste a second longer. You’ll need emergency roof repair, but not just any repair service will do. You need a company such as Rock Solid Exteriors who can handle the job, are accredited, and most importantly, insure their work.

Check the double glazing and its lifespan

Just as roofs have a lifespan, so too does your double glazing. Double glazing works not because there are two panes of glass, but because of an inert, non-toxic gas. This escapes over time, meaning you will need to replace double-glazed windows. Get your windows checked to see how much heat is escaping; if it’s significant it’s time for a window upgrade.

Install smart meter systems

Smart homes and smart thermometers make it easy to only use electricity when you absolutely need it. It automatically optimizes the entire process for you, and turns on when you are on your way home or when you wake up by working in conjunction with your phone.

Switch to renewables

The last step you can take you can do to help reduce your utility bills, especially as costs rise, is to switch specifically to a renewable energy company. As they do not have costly raw materials to contend with—only the maintenance that all energy companies have—your costs will be far lower. The only time this won’t be the case is if you live rurally, and the transportation cost of your energy is too high.