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Quick Consumer Guide to Home Energy Efficiency

Jun 6, 2014

Energy efficient homes cost less to run, are more comfortable to live in and enjoy higher resale values. Here’s a quick consumer guide to home energy efficiency and what you should look for when making your home more energy efficient.

1. Appliances

Household appliance consumption accounts for 21 – 25% of your total utility bill. ENERGY STAR® qualified appliances are certified as being energy efficient and use 20 – 30% less energy than non ENERGY STAR models.

  • ENERGY STAR qualified refrigerators use 20% less energy.
  • ENERGY STAR qualified dishwasHERS® use 10% less energy and 18% less water.
  • ENERGY STAR qualified TVs will use 30% less energy (on average).
  • ENERGY STAR qualified cordless phones can use up to 90% less energy.

2. Windows

Windows can be responsible for anywhere from 10 – 25% of your heating and cooling costs. Windows that aren’t energy efficient are drafty in winter and let in too much hot air in summer.

  • Use weather stripping to air seal your windows against drafts.
  • Invest in interior shades and make sure that they are properly installed. Interior shades are highly effective at reducing the amount of solar heat gain and double as an attractive window treatment.
  • Install double-paned storm windows with “low-e” coatings; they can reduce heat loss by 25 – 50%. E-coating glass is the most common type of energy efficient glass.
  • Replace old windows with new ENERGY STAR qualified energy efficient windows, which can cut energy loss significantly.

3. Lights

By replacing your 60-watt incandescent bulbs with 13-watt energy efficient CFLs (Compact Fluorescent Lamps), you only pay for 13 watts of energy usage per bulb instead of 60, while getting the same amount of light.

  • CFLs use 75% less energy than incandescent bulbs.
  • CFLs last 10 times longer than incandescent light bulbs.
  • They produce 50 – 70 lumens per watt, compared to the 10 – 17 produced by incandescent bulbs.
  • A household that invests $90 in CFLs (changing 30 fixtures) will save between $440 and $1500 over the next 5 years.

4. Insulation

Effective insulation is key to improving home energy efficiency and keeping your home comfortable. You could reduce your energy costs by up to 50% by properly insulating walls, crawlspaces, floors and garages. Ensure you have the correct R-Value for your region.

  • An R-Value is a rating that determines the insulating material’s ability to reduce heat flow. A greater ‘R’ value means an increased ability to reduce heat flow.
  • Your attic insulation should be between R-30 and R-60, depending on where you live.
  • Insulate ducts and vents to prevent leakage of heated or cooled air.

To really understand how to make your home energy efficient, contact a certified RESNET Home Energy Auditor for an energy audit. An energy audit is a detailed home examination that pinpoints where and how your home is losing energy, and determines which cost-effective measures are needed to address the problems.