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Thursday, July 8, 2010

10 Most Effective Ways to Save Energy in Your Home | Cape Cod Holistic


10 Most Effective Ways to Save Energy in Your Home | Cape Cod HolisticThe typical usage in a New England home looks something like this:
61% goes to heating the interior space in our homes.
4% goes to Air Conditioning that same space.
4% goes toward keeping our food cold (refrigerator).
16% goes toward other electrical loads from various appliances and electronics.
17% goes to heating our hot water.
By tracking your energy bills you can see the fruits of your efforts. It’s certainly reassuring when you see results that actually put money back into your pocket.
EnergyStar® also has a way for you to compare your home’s energy use as compared to others across the country and get recommendations for improving your own energy usage. It’s called the EnergyStar® Home Energy Yardstick. (You’ll need your last 12 months of utility bills or a 12-month summary from your utility co.)
If you follow these 10 suggestions you will be able to realize a significant savings in your energy budget each year.
  • Water Heater – Your hot water heater uses up to 17% of your total energy bill.

    • Set your hot water heater to 122° and add an insulating blanket.
    • By using water that’s not OVER heated and adding the blanket you can save up to 7% yearly.
  • Lighting – Technology has come a long way since Edison’s light bulb.

    • Replace incandescent bulbs with CFL’s (compact fluorescent lights)
    • By using compact fluorescent lights you can save up to $65 per year.
  • Phantom Loads – Many appliances and electronics still draw a load even while switched off.

    • Use power strips to and timers to maximize the efficiency of your efforts.
    • These methods can save you up to 14% yearly.
  • Programmable Thermostat – By automating your heating and cooling needs you will use energy more efficiently.

  • Air Seal Your House – By sealing all of the gaps and holes in the exterior of your home you’ll increase it’s heating efficiency.

    • Seal the sills, pipes, wires and lights in your basement.
    • Seal the walls, windows, doors and electrical outlets.
    • **USE A PROFESSIONAL** to get the job done correctly and properly.
  • Appliance Efficiency – It may just be time to get rid of that second refrigerator out in the garage.

    • By using Energy Star® appliances you may be able to keep up to $75 in your pocket each year while saving the environment.
  • Attic Insulation – Since we live in New England there are considerations that may not apply in other areas of the country.

    • Make sure that your attic is insulated up to 14″ of blown in cellulose to bring it to a level of R-49
    • Get an audit to determine your actual need.
  • Wall Insulation – Many modern homes are already up to code but too many older homes still need to be looked at.

    • Ask your contractor to determine your actual needs here too.
  • Basement Walls – Your exposed exterior basement walls are like a single pane window without the solar gain.

    • Apply 2″ of sheet insulation bonded to the concrete wall with ½” concrete board outside of that and cap it with flashing.
    • This is a MAJOR project and should only be undertaken by professionals.
    • Doing this can save you anywhere from 5-20% yearly.
  • Heating System – Heating and Cooling comprise 75% of your total energy budget.

    • Replace old systems with EnergyStar® compliant heating systems.
    • Be sure to seal all of the ducting in your heating system too.
    • These actions can save you an additional 10-20% as well.
Follow these tips and suggestions and you’ll realize both the monetary savings and benefits as well as the self satisfaction of knowing that you’re doing your part to reduce and sustain the overall reduction on the dependence for oil in this country.
You can find other great resources, calculators and software at the US Dept. of Energy’s “Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy” website.


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