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Posted on 11-30-2016
7 Tips on Improving Home Energy Efficiency
by Shen Ge
Making sure your home is as energy efficient as possible helps in ensuring that your solar panels generate the maximum benefit for you. The analogy is like pouring water into a bucket with a giant hole at the bottom. You want to make sure your home doesn’t have a giant energy hole sucking away the benefits you’re getting from solar. As can be seen, the largest energy usage lies in heating and many of our tips have to do with keeping the heat in.
Insulation keeps your house warm in the winter, cool in the summer and reduces heating and cooling costs by as much as 20 percent, according to Green Energy Solutions, Inc., a company that specializes in retrofitting buildings to make them more energy-efficient. You can pick up a roll of insulation for about $15 at home improvement stores.
LED Bulbs or Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs
Incandescent light bulbs are being phased out; the US wouldn’t be manufacturing any such light bulbs after this year. Fluorescent bulbs last four to 10 times longer than regular light bulbs. Another option is going with the more expensive but even longer-lasting LED bulb. If you enjoy a directional light for reading, cooking, or working at home, you might prefer the LED bulbs. For general home lighting, such as illuminating a room, CFL might be best.
Update Appliances to Energy Star Products
Energy usage according to US Department of Energy (Credit: US Department of Energy).
When shopping for appliances, realize that there are two price tags. The first is the purchase price while the second is the cost of operating the appliance during its lifetime. Energy Star rated appliances including refrigerators, dishwashers, washers, and dryers are much more energy efficient than models which merely follow the minimum federal standards for energy efficiency. For instance, Energy Star refrigerators are 20% more efficient than non-qualified models. Fridges with freezers on top use 10 – 25% less energy than side or bottom-mounted units. Energy Star dishwashers are required to use less than 5.8 gallons of water per cycle, while older models before 1994 can use as much as 10 gallons per cycle. Just with this upgrade, you could save around $8 per year in energy costs.
A Programmable Thermostat
Programmable thermostats have become popular due to their energy- and money-saving benefits. When used properly, this device can save users up to $150 per year, and it’s generally more accurate than a regular thermostat, according to Energy Star.
You might be surprised to find how much money you could save by patching up your windows and doors. In homes that haven’t been weather stripped, air leaks account for 30 to 40 percent of heating and cooling loss, according to Energy Star. Weather stripping materials cost less than $10 for 15 feet.
Insulating Window Treatments
Cellular or honeycomb shades help you reduce heat loss (up to 86%) and heat gain (up to 80%) together. These shades start at about $25 a window.
Insulating Blanket For Water Heater
An electric water heater uses a significant amount of electricity compared to every other appliance. In fact, for a family of 2, its costs can run over $200 a year. A $20 investment to buy a blanket wrapped around your water heater can cut down water-heating costs by 9%, according to the US Department of Energy.
The Department of Energy fully supports energy efficiency. They also support new solar companies such as Simplify Solar. Concurrently with cutting your home electricity usage, allow us to help you save by giving you electric generation. With this information, you may feel ready to commit to a residential solar panel. Allow Simplify Solar to help you save up to 30% in residential solar installation costs. Furthermore, our turnkey solution saves you a lot of time — typically one to two months is sufficient for you to get a system up on your roof. Start with Simplify Solar and see how well you can benefit from solar.
Follow Simplify Solar on Twitter at @simplifysolar and Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/simplifysolar for more up-to-date information on solar energy and our suite of products for you. Interested in more of Shen Ge’s posts on solar energy and other energy-related posts? Follow the author on Twitter @shenge86.
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