Energy Saving in the Home
Energy saving begins with forward thinking individuals who come to the realization that saving energy can reduce emissions while lightening your bills. The truth is, energy conservation in the home has many benefits including occupant health and comfort. The big problem tends to be in the homes that cannot afford a full-on renovation project, but want to make their home a better place. There are some options out there for everyone to reduce their energy use that are low or no-cost!
First Steps: Free Energy Saving Techniques
Here are a few things that cost nothing at all, these would ideally be included in your, “homeowner’s manual,” that is, if it existed.
- Turn things off. This is the number one rule in our book. If you cannot turn things off than it is likely you will not do anything on this list.
- Rule of thumb: If it doesn’t have an on/off button, then unplug it too!
Step 2: Turn things down: When your not home, adjust the thermostat to something more appropriate.
- For those with heat pumps (electric heat), do not turn the thermostat up more than 2 degrees at a time to avoid using high-energy emergency coils.
- If you have a wood stove or chimney, keep the temperature lower all day and night and use your fireplace to warm things up when needed.
- When its nice outside, open the house up and turn the thermostat off. Free conditioning air is all around you, and it’s fresh!
Step 3: Shut it!
- Latch windows shut. Windows seal better when you lock them shut.
- Keep doors shut. Sometimes your door won’t seal right until you lock it.
Step 4: Appliance use.
- Use appliances when full, Inc. dish washer, clothes washer, and clean and maintain appliances regularly.
- Replace your HVAC filters regularly!! Some filters require quarterly replacement so be sure to change them as needed.
- Clean refrigerator coils once a year, and clean seals on refrigerator doors so they create an air tight seal.
- Clean your dryer vent! A quick cleaning can make very noticeable differences in drying times. Most of our clients who recieve our dryer vent cleaning service notice the results the first time they use their dryer post-cleaning.
- Dry clothes the old-fashioned way, or dry inside on a rack (in small quantities)
- Use a microwave (when possible)
- Measure first. Only cook or boil the appropriate amount of food/water.
Step 5: Hot water is expensive: Your not just using water your using energy.
- Reduce your shower temperature. This one works best in increments, it can still be pretty hot without turning it all the way up.
- Only use hot water for laundry when needed.
$10 Energy Saving Tips
Surge protectors: Make it easy to turn off 6 or more appliances at once, let’s say your home entertainment console.
Weather stripping: The 1/4″ foam tape can be installed around the attic hatch to stop air leakage.
Insulate your attic hatch: you can build a cardboard or rigid foam box and tape or staple or tape it to the hatch door. Then use some spare insulation scraps from the attic to fill the box. You will then have an insulated attic hatch.
Caulking: Check your window trim, top bottom, and sides for areas that didn’t get caulked or where gaps occur in caulk seams. In addition, baseboards can be caulked. Use the clear caulk to avoid making an ugly mess.
LED Lighting: LED bulbs are very cost effective, especially in lights that are used often. Now LED’s are around $5 a bulb! So get them while the subsidies last.
Conservation Pros Low-Cost Renovations
In Asheville And Surrounding Areas
1. Home Performance Checkup ($100 in Asheville). An energy auditor will inspect the home for energy, health, and safety issues and decide the most cost effective solutions and techniques. After your checkup you will get an itemized list of renovations which you can choose to have Conservation Pros do, or you can do yourself.
2. Door Seals: Check your doors for air leakage. The best way to do so is look at the door sill for dust build-up, or to close the door and look at the seals rom the inside, inspecting for light shining in. Conservation Pros can fix door seals quickly and efficiently for a low cost.
3. Air Sealing: Attic and Base/crawlspaces. Air sealing is a low cost solution to high energy bills, discomfort, and unhealthy indoor air quality. Many times air leakage can be stopped in other locations of the home such as band joists.
4. Insulation: Building Code requires R-38 insulation in the attic (this is about 12 inches depth of most types of insulation). Most attics do not meet building code due to poor insulation. Conservation Pros knows attic and basement insulation is a very cost effective renovation, and we recommend R-50 or greater of insulation total in attics in Asheville. Many older homes will qualify for a rebate of up to $500 for insulation and air sealing.
5. Energy Audit: For those who want to know all the issues with their home shown with diagnostic testing and IR imaging to prove it, a Conservation Pros Comprehensive Energy Audit is the way to go!