Increase Your Home's Energy Efficiency!

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Increasing the energy efficiency in one's home can save money and make the home more comfortable in the winter and summer months. Click through to find out how you can increase your home's energy efficiency in both long term and DIY weekend projects.

Text of Increase Your Home's Energy Efficiency!

  • Knowledge is power! Have an energy auditdone in your home by a certifiedprofessional. This will give you muchneeded insight into the biggest sources ofenergy loss in your home. Once you havethis information, youll know where to focusyour weatherization goals. And dont beafraid of the cost of such an assessment,many local utilities perform this audit at noadditional cost to their customers or use ahome performance contractor for theservice. Find out about incentives to helpyou with this cost at the Database of StateIncentives for Renewables & Efficiency.
  • Use energy assessment tools to help youknow more about your home and theaverage energy usage in your area. EnergyStar is a government program that helpsindividuals and business identify andimplement energy efficient products andpractices. The Energy Star Home EnergyYardstick can help home owners asses theirenergy usage in just a few minutes. There areeven fun sites like Dropoly that make energysaving into a game with real worldapplications.
  • Seal up your drafty house. Poorlysealed homes can let 20% or moreof their heating and cooling costsgo draining through cracksthrough windows or attics. Installhigh-efficiency windows and usecaulking around joints to cut downon drafts.
  • Energy leaks arent limited towindows and doorways. Insulation isa key part of increasing your homesefficiency. If youre a fan of homeimprovement projects, there are DIYtips for adding insulation to attics andbasements. Otherwise, a skilledcontractor will be able to both assessyour needs and complete the project.
  • A low cost tip: Put old Styrofoam packingmaterials or containers in the attic to act asinsulation.
  • When adding insulation, dont forgetabout protecting pipes and sealingducts. These small heat or coolinglosses can quickly add up on yourutility bill.
  • Use natural breezes to help cool yourhome. Install storm windows, screendoors, window screens and windowshades to give you more control overthe flow of air and light in and out ofyour homewithout worrying aboutpests invading your living space. Keepwindow shades open on winter daysto let in sunlight and closed onsummer days to maintain cool interiortemperatures.
  • Use energy monitoring tools such asprogrammable thermostats, a smartmeter, or energy management systems.These tools can help you keep thetemperature in your home in sync withyour daily activities. If no one is homeduring the day, it doesnt make sense toheat or cool empty rooms. Set thethermostat to kick in 30 minutes beforeyou get home so you walk into acomfortable setting without havingwasted a days worth of energy. There areeven systems you can access remotely incase your schedule changes or toaccommodate pets or guests.
  • Low cost tip: Use common sense. Whileindoors dress warmly in winter withsweaters and socks and in summer takecooler showers to reduce the need for yourhome to do the work of regulating yourbody temperature.
  • Fix leaks one leaking faucet canwaste 3 gallons of water a day! Itsusually a pretty simple job totighten seals or replace old orworn-out hardware. For biggerjobs you might need to call in aplumber but see what you cantackle on your own. Dont let aleaking faucet drain money out ofyour wallet.
  • Upgrade your water heater. EnergyStar, tankless, and solar water heatersare all options that can save youanywhere from 7-100% on your waterheating bills. The savings you realize willoften pay for the upfront costs of theinvestment in as little as a few years andsome Energy Star labeled modelsqualify for a tax credit.
  • Low cost tip: Set your water heater to 120 F.Most are automatically set at 140 F andthose 20 degrees wont be missed in dailyuse, but youll be happy to save 10% onheating costs.
  • Install a greywater system Greywater isany household waste water other thanfrom the toilet, kitchen garbage disposal,or water used to wash soiled diapers.This waterwhich would normally be apollutant for rivers, streams or septicsystemscan be beneficially reused forlawn irrigation. Explore whether agreywater recycling system is right foryour home and region to see if you canreduce your need for freshwater foroutdoor use.
  • Install high-efficiency lighting thisone likely isnt news to anyone, butmany homes still havent made theswitch to high-efficiency lighting. Thecost for these light bulbs (includingCFLs, LEDs, and halogens) has comedown significantly over the last fewyears and recent technology advancesmay even lead to a light bulb thatdoesnt need to be changed for adecade or more.
  • Low cost tip: use strategic lighting tobrighten the area where youre working orreading rather than trying to light an entireroom.
  • Find out more. The LEED program is avoluntary system of metrics that grades abuildings green design. LEED stands forLeadership in Energy and EnvironmentalDesign and rates buildingsincludinghomeson a range of categories includingwater efficiency and conservation, sustainablebuilding materials, indoor environmentalquality and occupant health. Home owners orbuilders can work with a certified LEED forHomes Green Rater on home improvement ornew construction projects. Additionally, thereare steps individuals can take to meet highLEED standards on their own without filing forcertification. Find out more about LEED forHomes with their Green Home Guide.