Increasing Energy Efficiency At Home
When you take steps to become more energy efficient, you reap the benefits many times over: not only is it more responsible in terms of your environmental footprint, efficiency helps you save money each month. Win-win! Synergy Homes is committed to utilizing the most advanced plans, materials, and building techniques to ensure maximum performance. Any home, though, can use energy more efficiently. And every home should!
Here are 10 ways to help you reduce your impact — and your bills — while feeling at home sweet home:
1. Schedule an energy audit. Start at the beginning. An energy audit is an assessment that tells you how much energy your home uses. It also gives you invaluable feedback about how you can become more energy efficient.
The auditor goes through your home room-by-room, examines your energy bills, and uses specialized tools and tests (such as a thermographic scan, which detects problems like deteriorated insulation and poor connections) during the course of this process.
You will receive a thorough report, including suggestions to optimize your home’s use of energy. Implementing these recommendations can help you save 5 to 30% on your energy bills.
2.Look into tax incentives. Thinking about replacing your windows to stop drafts or putting in insulation with a higher R-value to keep your heating and cooling dollars from seeping right through the roof? Good idea. Not only will you save money each month, you can qualify for tax incentives. This can help you earn a higher return on your energy efficient investments.
3.Go green — with trees and shrubs. Instead of turning your AC down to “Frigid,” let nature help out. Strategically positioned trees can lower your cooling/heating bills by as much as 25%. Ensuring your your AC unit is protected by shade can make it operate more efficiently, and a carefully landscaped yard can reduce cooling bills by 15 to 50%. The shading and windbreak effects also help increase fuel efficiency. Bonus: all this greenery and landscaping looks wonderful! Why not increase your curb appeal too?
4.Think of quick and easy steps. Simply switching from incandescent to CFLs will save you money. A CFL costs a few dollars and lasts 10,000 hours; the lifetime cost is about $22 (including initial cost and ongoing electricity). An incandescent bulb that generates the same amount of light costs less than $1. But it only lasts 1,000 hours. Over it’s lifetime, it’ll cost $80. So, you get less life at more cost. Flip the switch to CFLs.
Another easy energy efficient change: turn off your water while you shave and brush your teeth, and don’t run your washer unless you have a full load. This can help you save as much as $170 each year. Small step: big impact.
5.Slay the energy vampires. Another easy step to illustrate that every home can become more efficient. Simply unplug chargers (e.g. phone, computer) and other appliances (e.g. toaster, blender) when not in use. Energy vampires can account for as much as 10% of your monthly bill: talk about sucking the “blood” out of your budget. Unplug, conserve, save.
6.Muy Caliente! Turn your water temperature down. Most home systems are set at 140°F. If you dial it down to 120°F, you’ll still get your hot shower fix (we promise) and you’ll reduce your energy consumption. An added benefit: you’ll reduce the risk of scalding, which is of particular concern when you have small children.
And speaking of hot water: consider giving your laundry the cold shoulder. Of the energy it takes to do a load, 90% is used in heating the water. If you wash cold, you can save significantly. And you’ll prevent fading and shrinking in many fabrics.
Speaking of laundry: If you want to increase efficiency even more, throw a dry towel in the dryer. It’ll help everything dry more quickly. Better yet, hang some items on an outside line or on a drying rack in your home.
7.Go low flow. An average shower head uses about 3-4 gallons per minute. A low flow model sends out 2 or less gpm. This saves a significant amount of water (and you can amp up your efficiency by shortening your shower or turning off the water while shaving). In years past, a low flow shower meant weak flow and an unsatisfactory experience. Not so today. Technology has advanced so you’ll be singing in the shower and using energy wisely.
8.Be an Energy Star. Next time you need to replace an appliance, go for EnergyStar. These appliances meet EPA requirements and can save you from 10 to 50 percent. Additionally, you will cut CO2 emissions. After all, homes account for 21% of the country’s carbon emissions. Reducing your footprint makes a difference.
9.Turn it down, turn it up. When you are heating, adjust your thermostat a few degrees lower. When you’re cooling, turn it up. A ceiling fan can reduce the impact so you won’t feel it — until you receive your power bill.
10.Get efficient from the ground up. Our energy efficient homes are designed and built with environmental responsibility and savings in mind. You won’t have to start with the basics; your home will already have a tight thermal envelope. But you can increase efficiency even further with steps like reducing water use, adjusting your thermostat, planning your landscaping, etc.
Synergy Homes provides you with a sound, strong foundation for energy efficiency. Build onto this with simple steps that can help you reduce your impact even more while spending even less.