Long-Term Energy Efficiency →Tips to Save Big on Energy
Buy Energy-Efficient Appliances
Many of today’s new appliances use half the energy of those from 20 years ago. If you’re in the market, remember this rule of thumb: look for products with the Energy Star® label — they typically use about 20 to 40 percent less energy than other new models. Some electric companies and even state governments offer consumer rebates on Energy Star-rated models. For detailed information on how to make informed purchases, see our guide to energy-efficient appliances.
Insulate Your Home
Most homes in the United States are less than optimally insulated, and older homes tend to have higher heating and cooling costs than newer homes. Installing proper insulation, windows, ducts and heating/cooling systems can help keep these costs down while improving the comfort of your home.
The Energy Star® label identifies products that are more energy-efficient than other models in their category. And it isn’t limited to appliances. More than 40 types of household and commercial products are eligible for the Energy Star label. Look for it when you’re shopping for items like these:
Appliances: Dishwashers, clothes washers, dehumidifiers and refrigerators.
Heating and Cooling: Ceiling fans, room air conditioners and programmable thermostats.
Cordless phones, DVD players, home audio systems, televisions, VCRs and combination units.
Lighting: Compact fluorescent bulbs and lighting fixtures that meet quality standards.
Office Equipment: Computers, copiers, faxes, monitors, printers, scanners and multipurpose devices.
Home: Windows, doors and skylights.
What follows is a generic guide to retrofitting your home with energy-efficient features. However, the best way to learn about the specific needs of your home is to get an energy rating. An energy rater will conduct a detailed analysis of your home and identify areas where you can make cost-effective improvements in energy efficiency. Californians can arrange a visit from an energy-rater through CHEERS, the statewide nonprofit. Residents of other states can find a list of certified raters by area through RESNET, the Residential Energy Services Network.
To get an idea of what efficiency measures might make sense for your home, start with the Department of Energy’s Insulation Fact Sheet to determine what type of insulation is best suited to your house and your climate. Then, follow these general guidelines:
- Start with the attic. Good insulation here can save 20 to 35 percent in heating and air conditioning costs.
- Insulate under the floor, around hot water pipes and heating ducts, and in crawl spaces for further energy savings.
- Install new windows that meet or exceed EnergyStar specifications. These windows keep heat from escaping, and in hot climates, keep out half of the sun’s heat energy. They also reduce noise. The U-factor, listed on the National Fenestration Council label, reflects the insulation ability of the entire window, not just the glass. Look for a U-factor of 0.35 or lower. For homes with overheating problems or with high air conditioning bills, you should also look for a Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC) of .35 or lower.
Choose Renewable Energy
Using rewable energy is a great way to save on energy and energy costs in the long term. By choosing photovolatic systems powered by the sun, as well as solar thermal systems you are living in a sustainable way. By living off the power of the sun you are not depleting natural resources like fossil fuels and coal. Renewable energy is a great investment, and you can enjoy the luxuries of having a sustainable lifestyle. Let Green Fuel Solar help you get started today so you can stop worrying about the future energy crisis!
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