American homes account for more than 20 percent of the nation’s energy consumption, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and produce more greenhouse gases than the average family car. Reducing your home’s energy use not only lowers monthly utility bills, but also helps protect the environment and conserve precious natural resources.
These five tips can help you make your home both eco-friendly and energy efficient. An organized approach to energy home management can help you track your progress and save money while saving the planet.
1. Get the Facts
To accurately understand where your home is using energy, check out the Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) national surveys that compare home energy costs. According to the EIA’s most recent findings, using space heaters to warm your home can consume 42% of the average household’s energy use. Appliances, electronics, and lighting fixtures account for 35% of energy usage, with 23% going to heating water and cooling the air. By determining exactly where your home uses energy, you can find ways to save.
2. Set Energy Conservation Goals
The average American household spends nearly $2,000 a year on energy bills. A 10% reduction in costs puts $200 back into your family budget. Setting and reaching your energy conservation goals may require investing in energy-saving products and services, so you’ll need to factor in up-front costs when calculating savings. It may be best for your budget to approach the conservation process step-by-step, making small changes as it works with your budget.
3. Identify Energy Wasters
A home energy audit conducted by a qualified contractor is the most effective way to identify sources of energy waste in your home. Home assessments analyze your home’s overall construction, layout and design as well as the efficiency of household products like hot water heaters and HVAC systems. Using specialized equipment such as infrared cameras, auditors can locate weak spots in your home’s “envelope,” an important measure of efficiency. The detailed report provided at the end of the audit lets you know which home improvements will offer the best return on your investment.
4. Invest in Energy-Efficient Products
Replacing existing household products with Energy Star qualified models will save you money over the product’s service life. Long-lasting products like heating and cooling systems offer some of the best savings. Advancements in technology made over the last decade have resulted in HVAC systems with significantly better energy efficiency than their outdated counterparts. A qualified furnace, for example, is around 16 percent more efficient than a baseline model, according to the EPA.
5. Monitor and Measure Performance
High-tech home energy management systems and controls can monitor and display household energy usage in real time. Simple and inexpensive devices, like programmable thermostats, can help you manage household temperatures from your computer, tablet, or smartphone. Whole-home energy management systems offer you remote control for a variety of household appliances, including HVAC systems, lighting, and even WiFi controlled blinds. If you travel frequently, this option can help you save while you’re away.
The more conscious you become of your home’s daily energy consumption, the easier it becomes to implement energy-efficiency strategies. Not only can you take pride in your contribution to the environment, you may be able to save a lot of money in the process.
Post Author: andyc.