5 Secrets to an Energy Efficient Home

April 30, 2019 Air Sealingenergy efficiencyenergy efficient homeenergy efficient homesenergy efficient lightingenergy starHeating & Coolingheating and coolinghome energyHome Energy AssessmentInsulationWindows & Doors

What are the secrets to an energy efficient home? We’re glad you asked! There are a few things you can do to transform your home from a standard dwelling into an amazing, money-and-energy-saving abode of awesomeness!

1. Insulate Properly

Insulation is key to keeping a home comfortable and energy costs low. Tips to effectively insulation your home include:

  • Locate problem areas: Many homes have little or no insulation in areas like attic spaces.
  • Check the ‘R’ value: An R-value specifies your insulation’s resistance to heat flow – the higher the R-value, the greater the insulating effectiveness. Your certified RESNET Home Energy Professional can recommend the right R-value for your home.
  • Select the right type of insulation: There are several types of insulation – each with properties and applications suitable for different areas of a home. Your certified RESNET Home Energy Professional can recommend which insulation works best for your home.
  • Seal windows and doors: This is the easiest way to begin insulating your home. Many homes have doors and windows that don’t have a proper seal.
  • Seal vents and ducts: According to ENERGY STAR, around 20% of heat moving through the vent and duct system of a typical home is lost due to leaks and poorly sealed connections.

2. Energy Efficient Lighting

Lighting accounts for nearly 25% of your energy bill, so it makes sense to switch to energy efficient compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs). Making the switch can save an average of 8 cents per kilowatt-hour or $45 over the course of the light bulb’s life. CFLs generate the same amount of light as traditional incandescent bulbs but last longer and use around 8% less energy.

3. Heating and Air

Heating and air is easily the largest home energy expense, accounting for nearly 56% of the household budget. An energy efficient HVAC can significantly reduce this cost, as well as reduce carbon pollution and greenhouse gases.

4. Appliances

Old and inefficient appliances can be responsible for a lot of energy wastage in your home. Replace them energy efficient ENERGY STAR qualified ones.

ENERGY STAR qualified appliances offer the following advantages:

  • Refrigerators: 20% more efficient than the federal minimum energy efficiency standard.
  • Dishwashers: 10% more energy efficient than conventional units.
  • Washing machines: use over 50% less water and 30% less energy than standard washing machines.

5. Energy Efficient Windows

Significant energy loss can take place through leaky windows. The most effective to solve this problem is by replacing them with new, energy efficient ones. A couple of points to consider are:

  • Look for windows that are double-glazed and use low e-technology. Low e-technology involves coating the window to filter the sun’s heat and reduce airflow.
  • Make sure your windows are ENERGY STAR qualified. Windows carrying the ENERGY STAR logo are proven to be energy efficient and can lower your energy bills anywhere from 7% to 15%.

If you can’t afford to replace your windows, then weather-stripping them can yield immediate benefits. In addition to financial benefits, your home’s comfort level will increase dramatically as well.

For best results, talk to a certified RESNET Home Energy Professional before making any changes to your home. They can advise you how to achieve maximum results in the most cost-effective way possible.

Air Sealing For Maximum Efficiency

April 22, 2019 air leakageair leaksAir Sealingenergy efficiencyenergy saving tipshome insulationInsulationRemodelingWindows & Doors

The constant battle with the elements is a major source of expense when it comes to maintaining a comfortable environment in your home. All winter long, you expend energy in trying to keep the house warm and then, in summer, spend more energy trying to cool things down. As a result, your energy costs go through the roof!

So, if you want to lower your heating and cooling expenses, and make your home more comfortable, start by locating from where in your home air is leaking out through cracks, holes, and improperly sealed joints.

According to ENERGY STAR, properly air sealing your home could save you up to 20 percent of your home heating and cooling costs annually.

Finding leaks:
The easiest way to find leaks in the structure of your home is to check doors and windows by hand. You will be able to feel the exchange of air or cool spots around the openings.

Finding leaks in other places will be a little more difficult but well worth the effort. Attics and crawlspaces are notorious for having hidden leaks that you may not know about. You may get a little dirty as you slither through a crawl space, but the savings will pay off when you find and seal those openings.

Sealing the leaks:
Now that you’ve located the openings that are allowing air to escape, you’ve got to take measures to plug those holes. There are several ways to do this:

Sealing ducts:
One area of heat loss that is often overlooked is the ductwork used in homes with forced air heating and cooling systems. As much as 20 percent of the air that moves through these systems is lost due to poorly or improperly sealed ducts and vents.

Contact your local RESNET Qualified Energy Smart contractor who will use specialized equipment to determine where the air leaks are and how they can best be sealed to start you on your way to enjoying lower energy bills and greater home comfort this year.

Vast Majority of U.S. Homes Are Under Insulated

December 8, 2015 air leakageair leaksAir Sealinghome insulationInsulationWindows & Doors

It’s hard to believe but 90% of existing American homes are under insulated. That means 90% of existing American homes are wasting money, energy and are not providing their owners with optimal comfort. In addition to this, they are also having a negative impact on the environment.

The numbers are derived from the 2009 Residential Energy Consumption Survey, which used methods developed by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory to estimate insulation levels. Researchers at Boston University had already applied these methods as part of a study into potential energy savings and emissions reductions through increased insulation levels in family homes.

According to Dr. Jonathan Levy, Professor of Environmental Health at Boston University School of Public Health and the lead researcher on the Boston University team that conducted the study, “If all U.S. homes were fitted with insulation based on the 2012 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC), residential electricity use nationwide would drop by about 5 percent and natural gas use by more than 10 percent.” The study showed that by increasing insulation in U.S. homes across the country, not only did energy usage decrease but there was also a reduction in carbon dioxide emissions as well as other pollutants.

When addressing home comfort issues, most homeowners think of windows and doors first, and about sealing air leaks around those areas because they are the most visible indicators of home energy efficiency problems. What they don’t realize is that insulation has a much greater impact (up to three times as much) on the average home’s energy and comfort than windows or doors. Assessing a home’s insulation takes only a few minutes, and the resulting improvements can produce a significant increase to home comfort, as well as substantial reductions to home energy bills.

To learn more about how you can improve your home insulation, contact a certified RESNET Home Energy Professional.

Common Home Winter Problems to Avoid – Infographic

December 2, 2015 Air Sealingenergy efficient homefireplace maintenanceHeating & Coolingheating and coolinghome problemshome winter problemsinfographicprevent ice damsWindows & Doorswinter home repairwinter maintenance

Harsh weather can cause all sorts of home winter problems for your home. This infographic shows you some of the more common ones – and how you can avoid them.

5837_RES_December_2015_Infographic_v7

Whole-House System Approach to Home Renovation

September 21, 2015 Air Sealingenergy efficiencyenergy efficient home renovationHeating & Coolingheating and coolinghome renovationwhole house renovationWindows & Doors

A whole-house system approach to building or renovating an existing home is the most effective method to optimizing home energy efficiency.

How It Works

The whole-house system approach looks at a home as one complete, integrated unit of interdependent parts all working together in tandem. The result is a highly energy efficient home that generates lower utility and maintenance costs, while providing a more comfortable home environment.

Designing a house using the whole-house system approach consists of performing a number of computer simulations that put together different combinations of variables, and then compare results to come up with the most cost-effective and energy efficient solution. Variables could include:

  • Site conditions
  • Local climate
  • Appliances and home electronics
  • Insulation and air sealing
  • Lighting and day lighting
  • Space heating and cooling
  • Water heating
  • Windows, doors, and skylights

Why Use the Whole-House System Approach

There are number of tangible benefits to building or renovating a home using the whole-house systems approach, including:

  • Reduced utility and maintenance costs
  • Increased comfort
  • Reduced noise
  • A healthier and safer indoor environment
  • Improved building durability

To find out more about the whole-house systems approach and how to make your home more energy efficient, talk to a certified RESNET Home Energy Professional. RESNET professionals are trained in the latest energy efficiency measures and can show you how to save money and energy, while increasing home comfort.

How Ready Is Your Home for Fall?

September 7, 2015 air conditioningair leakageair leaksAir Sealingenergy efficiencyenergy saving tipsHeating & Coolinghome energyWindows & Doors

Cold weather can take a real toll on your home, inflicting some serious wear and tear. The most effective way to minimize damage is by making sure your home is ready to face up to harsh fall and winter weather. Here are some tips to help get you started.

1.    Clean Out Your Gutters

Prevent clogging by removing leaves and debris from drainpipes and gutters, and drain outdoor faucets to prevent pipes from bursting.

2.    Clean Your Fireplace and Chimney

Clear out all the ash and charred wood from the fireplace. Get a chimney cleaner to not only clean out the chimney but also check the damper to make sure it can be tightly closed to prevent drafts from getting in.

3.    Perform Furnace Maintenance

Clean your filters and check to see that your heating vents aren’t blocked or covered by furniture or carpets. Call a certified RESNET HVAC contractor for your annual heating system check-up.

4.    Remove and Store Air Conditioners

If you’re using window air conditioners, now is the time to remove and put them away into storage. Make sure you clean them before covering or storing.

5.    Air Seal Doors and Windows

Check your doors and windows for any air leaks with this simple test: run your hand along a window or doorframe and feel for a draft. If you find air leaks, seal them by:

  • Applying weather stripping
  • Caulking any holes
  • Installing storm windows or doors

6.    Perform Water Heater Maintenance

Drain your water heater and remove any debris that may have settled on the bottom of the water tank.

To learn more about how you can properly prepare your home for fall and winter weather, contact your local certified RESNET Home Energy Professional for advice.

Make Your Home Energy Efficient for Summer!

May 4, 2015 air conditioningair leakageair leaksAir Sealingenergy efficiencyenergy efficientenergy efficient homesprogrammable thermostats

May is the perfect month to start getting your home ready for the summer – energy ready that is. Here are some tips to help you get started.

  • If don’t already have a programmable thermostat, now’s a good time to invest in one. A programmable thermostat can save you a significant amount of money over a long, hot summer.
  • Test your system by setting your thermostat to cool and turn down the temperature. The air conditioner should start cooling your home; if it doesn’t, that means there’s a problem. Call a certified RESNET HVAC contractor to find out what the problem is.
  • If you need to replace your air conditioner, do it now before the hot weather kicks in.
  • If you have an outside AC unit, remove any debris that may have accumulated during the winter. Also, consider trimming or removing plants, leaves, or high grass that is located close to the unit. These could have a negative impact on your unit.
  • Check your windows and doors for any leaks. Leaky windows and doors let hot outdoor air in while allowing cool indoor air to escape. The result is your HVAC has to work harder and your energy bills go up, so make sure you seal those leaks!
  • Check your ductwork for any leaks. Sealing leaky ducts can save you anywhere from 10 to 20% on your heating and cooling bills.
  • Examine your home’s exterior for any wear and tear or damage. Harsh winter weather can inflict some serious punishment to a home’s outer walls, exterior doors and roof. Making repairs now will not only lead to a more enjoyable summer, but also give you a head start on preparing for next winter.

To get a comprehensive idea of how to make your home energy efficient for summer, talk to a certified RESNET Home Energy Professional. They’ll be able to pinpoint where and how your home is losing energy, and offer cost-effective solutions to rectify the problems.

How to Warm Your Home Without a Heater

December 22, 2014 Air SealingCFLsenergy auditenergy auditsenergy efficiencyHeating & Coolingheating and coolingWindows & Doors

Now that we’re in the middle of winter, don’t panic if your heater breaks down! Believe it or not, there are a number of ways to warm your home without using a heater.

Fireplace
A fireplace is a great way of heating your home without using your furnace or heater. In fact, many people maximize their use of fireplaces during the colder months while minimizing the use of heaters and furnaces. This saves energy and money while providing effective heating.

Properly Seal Windows and Doors
Leaky windows and doors let cold air in and warm air out. Therefore, it’s important to properly air seal your home. The easiest way to detect drafts is by hand – you can feel for cool spots around door and window openings. Or better still, get an energy audit to find out exactly where the leaks are occurring and how to best seal them.

Maximize Nature’s Warmth
Strategic use of sun, and placement of trees and shrubs can go a long way in keeping your home warm when it’s cold outside.

  • Place a row of evergreen trees to shield your home from harsh winter winds.
  • Plant shrubs and bushes around the perimeter of your home, around one foot from walls to act as an insulator in winter.
    • Shrubs can help trap snow and reduce drifts when placed along the windiest side of your home.
  • Use dense windbreaks to protect your home from cold winter winds.
  • Ensure the winter sun reaches south-facing windows.
    • Try and make sure you get as much sun in the house as possible during daylight hours.
  • Close drapes in the evening to keep heat in.

Shut the Door!
The closed door can be a simple yet powerful tool to help keep your home warm. It stops air from leaving the room, thereby conserving heat and reducing heat loss.

Use More Rugs and Carpeting
Rugs and carpeting work as insulation to trap heat in rooms. Liberal use of area rugs and carpeting in larger rooms can help keep rooms warm without necessarily using a heating source.

Candles and Lighting
Traditional incandescent light bulbs might not be as energy efficient as their compact fluorescent counterparts (CFLs), but if you’re trying to warm your home without a heater, then turning on the lights does help. Incandescent light bulbs can generate quite a bit of heat; candles will also create light that emits heat, although not as much as light bulbs.

Cook More!
This is one of the most effective ways to warm your home! Your stove and oven generate lots of heat; take advantage of this to cook great meals, bake wonderful desserts and make your kitchen the warmest room in the house! A bonus is that with all the warmth and great food in the kitchen, family and friends will gather there and you’ll get to spend more quality time with them!

While these are great tips on how to warm your home without a heater, there’s nothing quite like an energy efficient heating system when it gets really cold! Contact your local certified RESNET Home Energy Professional to learn more about energy efficient heating options.

Don’t Let A High Energy Bill Haunt Your Halloween!

October 29, 2014 air leakageair leaksAir SealingCFL lightbulbsCFLsenergy auditenergy auditsenergy efficiencyenergy efficient lightingenergy saving tipssave energysolar lightingsolar power

It’s that time of year again when ghosts, ghouls and goblins emerge from their dark recesses to stalk the earth, but they can’t hold a candle to the fear that a sky-high energy bill inspires.

While it’s true that there are few things in this world (and also not of this world) that can send a cold shiver down your spine the way the dreaded energy bill does, there is action you can take that doesn’t involve eating raw garlic, wooden stakes or magic spells. This year, don’t let a high energy bill haunt your Halloween by following our tips below:

    1. Banish Cold Chills from Your Home
      • Stop cold air from infiltrating your home by air sealing it properly. The easiest way to look for leaks is to check doors and windows by hand. You’ll be able to feel the cold air seeping in through unsealed spots. Also, step outside and close the door behind you when handing out treats on All Hallows’ Eve. This will prevent heat from escaping and cold air from getting in.
    2. Keep Energy Vampires at Bay
      • Vampires really do exist! Energy vampires are electronics that continue to draw power when on standby mode. Some examples include: TVs, DVD players, gaming consoles, battery chargers and stereos. This usage costs the average American household $100 a year. Don’t let energy vampires get the better of you this Halloween – use a power strip or unplug devices when not using them.
    3. Engage the Power of Energy Efficient Light
      • Nothing fights darkness better than energy efficient light bulbs! One of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to lower energy bills is by replacing traditional incandescent light bulbs with energy efficient compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs). Most of the energy used by incandescent bulbs results in heat generation rather than light. CFLs use far less energy, emit less heat and generate the same amount of light.
    4. Reach for the Sun
      • Scare off any creatures of the night that may be lurking around your outdoor space by tapping into the awesome power of the sun’s energy. Outdoor solar lighting is easy to install, affordable and virtually maintenance-free. You can choose from a wide range of pathway lighting, wall-mounted lights, freestanding lampposts and security lights.
    5. Water – Your Secret Weapon
      • Efficient water use can prove to be deadly to both witches and water bills. Installing low-flow showerheads and faucets can help you achieve water savings of up to anywhere from 25-60%. Leaky faucets could be costing you more money than you realize, so make sure to fix them ASAP!
        • Hot water leaking at 1 drip per second adds up to 1,661 gallons of water wasted in a year.
        • 1,661 gallons of water works out to approximately $35 in wasted energy costs.

The best way to learn how to make your home energy efficient is through a home energy audit. Contact a certified RESNET Home Energy Auditor to find out more.

Tips on Creating an Energy Efficient Study Room

September 25, 2014 air conditioningair leakageair leaksAir Sealingenergy efficient lightingenergy star

With the start of the new school year, many parents are turning that spare room or den into a study room for their kids. Here are some tips on how to make it energy efficient so you can maximize savings, and create a comfortable study atmosphere for your kids:

  • Select ENERGY STAR® qualified computers and printers; they use anywhere from 30-65 percent less energy.
    • ENERGY STAR power management features put computers into a low power “sleep mode” after a designated period of inactivity to cut down on energy usage.
    • Turn off the monitor if you’re not going to use the desktop computer for more than 20 minutes.
    • Turn off both the CPU and monitor if you’re not going to use your computer for more than 2 hours.
  • Use a power strip that can be turned off (or turns off automatically) for all electronics (computers, audio and video equipment, etc.).
    • Did you know that the transformer in the AC adapter draws power continuously, even when the laptop is not plugged into the adapter?
    • Many appliances (i.e., DVD players, TVs, stereos, computers) will still draw power when they are switched off unless they’re unplugged or using a power strip.
  • Install ENERGY STAR certified lighting fixtures that are highly efficient (and have lower greenhouse gas emissions) to provide your kids with the lighting they need to study properly.
    • ENERGY STAR lighting uses ¼ of the energy of traditional lighting and produces light that lasts between 10,000-50,000 hours (about 7-22 years of regular use).
  • For electrical gadgets that need batteries such as cordless phones or digital cameras, use rechargeable alternatives. Rechargeable batteries are more cost-effective and better for the environment.
    • If you’re putting a cordless phone in the study room, choose one that is ENERGY STAR qualified. They’re more efficient and use half the energy of standard units through improved energy performance features such as switch-mode power supplies and “smart” chargers.
  • If the room has windows, you should:
    • Seal them properly to prevent air leakages, which can make the room uncomfortable to be in while driving up energy costs.
    • Replace old ones with newer ENERGY STAR qualified windows to lower household energy bills by anywhere from 7-15 percent.
    • On warmer days, draw the blinds or curtains to prevent the room from becoming too warm – it’s hard to study in a room that’s too hot! Also keep in mind that your air conditioning will have to work harder, which means higher costs.

And remember, an energy efficient study room also works well as an energy efficient home office! To get more great energy-saving tips, visit www.resnet.us