Consumer Guide to Home Energy Savings
From energy efficient appliances to better insulation, a home energy audit and a few changes can mean reduced consumption and big savings for consumers.
Photo By: Edward Jenkins
Whether you are looking to reduce energy use for environmental purposes or strictly for saving money, it is hard to argue against effective ways to lower your home's energy consumption and reduce utility bills. There are many ways to reduce energy usage in the home, with most paying off in the long run.
Upgrade Your Lighting
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, lighting makes up about 15 percent of Americans' electric bills. Upgrading lighting to more efficient compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs can reduce your lighting expenses up to 75 percent. Incandescent light bulbs are less efficient because the majority of the energy they consume actually produces heat, rather than light. CFL bulbs are more expensive than incandescent, but they save you more money in the long run and reduce energy usage.
Switching to a 100 percent solar powered home might not be for everyone, because of the high initial investment. However, a solar powered hot water heater is a great way to harness the power of the sun and drastically reduce energy usage. Up to 25 percent of home energy costs are accounted for by water heating. A solar powered water heater is a great way to cut home energy costs and can pay for itself within three to five years.
Upgrade Windows and Doors
If your home is more than 10-years-old, chances are high that it is equipped with very inefficient windows and doors. Windows and doors are passive energy wasters that most people neglect to think about when trying to make their home more efficient. Windows should be double-paned to minimize their effect on your heating and cooling system. Doors lose efficiency over the years primarily due to ineffective weather stripping; however, newer doors are usually more efficient because they fit better and have less space gaps between the seams.
Purchase Energy Star Appliances
Increased regulations for Energy Star certification means lower energy costs for consumers who purchase Energy Star certified appliances. To qualify for Energy Star certification, appliances must consume between 10 percent and 50 percent less energy (depending on the appliance) than the industry average. Buying the highest rated Energy Star certified appliances can reduce your energy consumption by 20 percent to 30 percent, saving you money month after month.
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