Home Efficiency Tips

Save money. Save the environment. An energy efficient home is something we should all strive for. Not only can small steps be taken to lighten the "footprints" left behind for future generations, but these same steps can have positive financial results. The most effective strategy for improving household energy efficiency is to first target your homes envelopeXwalls, attic, windows, and doors. Then reduce the energy consumption of systems, such as heating, cooling, lighting and appliances. Finally, consider clean energy generation (solar, geothermal, and so on).

  1. Inspect insulation.

    Effective insulation slows the rate that heat flows out of the house in winter or into the house in summer, so less energy is required to heat or cool the house. Your contractors expertise is more important than the insulation material you choose. Ideally, your contractor will use an infrared camera during or after installation to look for voids.

  2. Watch your windows.

    If your windows are old and leaky, it may be time to replace them with energy-efficient models or boost their efficiency with weatherstripping and storm windows. Add caulking to your windows and doors. Poorly fitted windows and doors can cause up to 30% of heat loss in your home.

  3. Look at landscaping.

    Good landscaping can save energy. For example, deciduous trees planted on the houses west side will block rays that warm the house, while in winter the bare branches let these rays come through.

  4. Fine tune the furnace.

    Upgrade to a new high-efficiency furnace. When replacing your furnace, upgrade to a high-efficiency model. It can help lower your heating bills and save you money. Keep your furnace properly maintained. Have your furnace checked and cleaned every year to help maximize its efficiency. A licensed technician will help ensure that components are working properly and check for carbon monoxide. Programmable thermostats are a smart move for improving your homes comfort, while saving energy and money. Lowering the temperature of your home by just a few degrees will make a very big difference in your heating bill.

  5. Stem water system woes.

    There are many ways to upgrade your hot water system that can have a quick impact on your costs. First, turn down the temperature of your water heater. Second, insulate your hot water lines so they dont cool off as quickly between uses. Third, use low-flow fixtures for showers and baths.

  6. Look at Lighting.

    Once dismissed as buzzing tubes in offices, fluorescent lights have gone compact and upscale. Energy-saving compact fluorescents (CFs) now rival the cozy, warm light of traditional bulbs. They use a fraction of the electricity, which means lower electricity bills and millions of tons less global warming pollution.

  7. Review refrigeration.

    The energy efficiency of refrigerators and freezers has improved dramatically over the past three decades. A typical new refrigerator with automatic defrost and a top-mounted freezer uses about half the energy used by a typical 1990 refrigerator. So if your refrigerator is old, needs repairs, or is nearing the end of its expected 15-year life, it may make good economic sense to replace it now.

  8. Investigate incentives.

    As the move to green living and environmentally conscious decision making grows, so do incentives and rebate. Check out these initiatives:

    http://www.oee.nrcan.gc.ca/corporate/programs.cfm?attr=0


  9. Ask for audit advice.

    Energy auditors and raters use specialized tools and skills to evaluate your home and recommend the most cost-effective measures to improve its comfort and efficiency, as well as the best sequence for doing them to take advantage of interactions. Check out these links for Alberta-based audit services:

    http://www.epcor.ca/ (energy)

    http://www.epcor.ca/ (water)

    http://www.atcoenergysense.com


Other links for home efficiency tips:

http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=home_improvement.hm_improvement_index

http://www.greenhomeguide.com/index.php/knowhow/entry/790/C236