You have succeeded in creating and energy efficient home – an excellent job. Many Mt. Pleasant homeowners are following your lead with upgraded heating and cooling systems, as well as more secure windows and doors. Next on the list, is to build an energy conservation plan for your home to ensure you stay warm in winter and cool in the summer.
Energy Efficiency vs. Energy Conservation
Typically, when you think of an energy efficient home, you think of ways to improve the home’s overall efficiency. This can be achieved through sealing air leaks to stop heat escaping, changing air filters regularly and properly insulating the home. When these things are done together, the home is able to use the energy it consumes more efficiently. An energy efficient home will have the same level of comfort it did previously, but use less energy to achieve that comfort level.
Energy conservation also reduces energy consumption but through a different approach. Energy conservation is a conscious effort to use less energy. This could mean making sure lights are turned off when no one’s in a room or reducing the temperature on the water heater in order to use less energy.
Improving Energy Efficiency and Energy Conservation
There are a number of actions homeowners can take to reduce energy use. The checklist below combines the features of an energy efficient home with energy conservation practices in order to reduce energy costs.
Reducing Electricity Costs
Electricity costs account for a significant portion of the utility costs of a home. To reduce utility costs:
- Turn off lights and electronics when you leave the room, even if you’ll be returning in a short time. If you have multiple electronics in a room, try using a power strip so you can turn off the power to multiple electronics all at once.
- Extra appliances or appliances that aren’t used regularly should be unplugged. Even when the appliances aren’t running, they use electricity. The resulting electricity costs add up quickly.
- When you’re ready to replace or upgrade appliances, select Energy Star products. These products have been certified by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as using less energy than their traditional counterparts.
- Replace incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) that are more energy efficient.
Reducing Heating and Cooling Costs
The largest component of a home’s energy costs related to heating and cooling the home. Steps to reduce heating and cooling costs include the following:
- Use a programmable thermostat to adjust the temperature automatically during periods when no one’s in the home. The program will then bring the home to a comfortable level just prior to your return.
- During winter months, open curtains during times of direct sunlight to use the warmth from the sun to heat a room and close them at night to prevent energy loss.
- Change the air filter regularly to ensure adequate airflow to the HVAC system.
- Check return air registers and vents to ensure they’re unobstructed. Obstructed vents reduce airflow, which can compromise the efficiency of the HVAC system.
- Reduce the temperature on the water heater to 120 degrees. This temperature is comfortable for bathing, suitable for cleaning and reduces the likelihood of scalding.
Seal Air Leaks
Air leaks account for much of the heat loss in a home. Simple steps to reduce air leaks and improve energy efficiency include:
- Visually inspect the interior and exterior of your home in order to find and seal cracks. Common areas of air leaks are around windows and doors, around pipes that extrude from insulated walls and where two different types of building materials meet.
- Use caulk and weatherstripping to fill and seal gaps to eliminate air leaks.
- Consider replacing old or poorly fitted windows with Energy Star-certified windows.
For additional information on creating an energy efficient home, contact the experts at Berkeley Heating & Air Conditioning today. The Berkeley team has served the needs of North Charleston, Hanahan and Mount Pleasant since 1958.
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