Tips For Investing in Home Efficiency


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The biggest energy drain on a household is heating and cooling, but that doesn't mean you have to wear sweaters or bathing suits around the house to save energy. There are a number of ways to invest in home efficiency by reducing energy consumption, starting with your windows. Depending on your situation and investment capability, it is possible to use sunlight to passively heat your home. Skylights can create natural lighting and save on electricity, and Energy Star windows can be placed on south-facing windows to help generate heat and light.

The Energy Star label, an international standard for energy efficient products, is one thing to keep an eye out for when investing in new items or appliances. Computers, for instance, often have the Energy Star label, indicating they are more energy efficient than required by federal standards. You can take your energy efficiency a step further by purchasing a laptop instead of a desktop computer, and keeping them turned off when not in use.

Many major household appliances carry the Energy Star label, so when your air conditioner reaches its mid-life point of about ten years, you may end up saving more than twenty percent on energy by purchasing a new, Energy Star-labeled model. Water heating tends to come in second in energy consumption after heating and cooling, and one way to invest in efficiency is by purchasing a tankless water heater. These types of water heaters do not store and maintain a constantly-heated reservoir of water, but instead heat water as it passes through. This can save energy, especially if you don't use a great deal of hot water.

You can manage your appliances' power consumption by keeping them unplugged when not in use, or use a power strip to cut the power to the appliances. Some appliances will still draw small amounts of power, even when switched off. Electronics such as computers, TVs, and DVD players expend much less energy when put into low-power modes such as stand-by and hibernate. Monitors that are left on continue to draw power, even with screen savers, so if it is a recent model, use the power-saver features to have the monitor switch itself off when not in use.

Finally, if you are still concerned about your energy consumption, a professional technician, called an energy auditor, can perform a check of your power consumption. An energy audit can tell you how much energy you are consuming or losing on a monthly basis. They let you know areas that could use improvement, and are an excellent next step for anyone who wants to take their energy efficiency to the next level.


Bradley Derringer blogs at Techbreach.

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