The building industry looks at things a little different when it comes to saving energy. Building products for your home work together to ensure energy savings for the long haul. The question is; Is your home built or remodeled to save energy? We in the trades aren’t interested in how you can slap a band-aid on an issue, we want you to have the cure! So, in this blog, I will share some real energy saving, home comforting, confidence building, equity grabbing ideas you can incorporate into you house. Why wait for the authorities to call for a shutting down of power and become uncomfortable in your own home, when you can prepare for the occasion and add value to your home at the same time. In the event of a “Flex Alert”, you’ll be way ahead of the game. We will go beyond their recommendations, and give solutions to year round energy savings that are no further away than your favorite home improvement store. By the way, I know it isn’t the greatest time to spend money on your home. So figure out your priorities. Take one step at a time, and do the things you can for the funds and the time you have available.
They say, “Adjust your thermostat”. I say, 1. Add more insulation to your attic. Most homes are under insulated. This is the single most important thing you can do to save energy. Radiant energy goes through your roof and into your home in the course of the day. A good 24 inched of insulation slows that process and allows your air conditioner to work more efficiently. In winter, that same level of insulation contains heated air space in your home, allowing your furnace to work more efficiently. 2. Change out existing single glazed windows. 3. Consider a new Energy Star efficient A/C system with a SEER rating above 13.
They say, “Unplug electronics”. I say that; And, find the other ‘Ghost Usage’. This means disconnecting extension cords and appliances that really don’t need to be used. I.e. a refrigerator or freezer in an unfinished garage. Not only is the appliance using power, but it’s working harder in summer due to the fact that the garage is super heated. Consider ANY appliance that uses electricity to generate heat. For example, try not to leave a curling iron or toaster oven on too long. Power stations to chargers should be on a switch and used only when needed. Try to get out of the habit of using the television to lull you to sleep. Especially if it is a flat screen. TV’s produce much heat and draw much power. And turn the power off on non-essential appliances when you are on vacation.
They say, “Prevent leaks”. I say, seal the envelope (of your home). Purchase new insulated exterior doors with R-factors of 14 or better. Install door sweeps and weatherstripping. Change out single glazed windows to vinyl dual glazed. One at a time if you have to. Caulk drafty siding and trim. Tape the windows on the inside where a draft stop needs be. Use receptacle insulators on exterior wall plugs. Close the damper on your fireplace and install a barrier in front of your fireplace screen. You’re air conditioner will actually pull air in from outside through your fireplace. For technology sake, research radiant window film for south and west exposed windows. This tech refracts radiant energy away from the home, allowing a cooler room in summer.
They say, ” Adjust your water heater”. I say that, and install an electric water heater timer for an electric water heater. This way, you’ll be heating water in the early morning and in the late afternoon. Effectively saving energy (and money) all year long. Install a water heater blanket if you don’t have one. If your water heater is in an unfinished garage, finish the garage. The water heater now becomes a heat source for the garage in winter ( where some do their laundry) and is more efficient all year due to the insulation from the exterior walls and ceiling.
They say, “Keep cool with ceiling fans”. I say that AND invest in a whole house fan. These are amazing. If the outside temperature in the day is 100, and the temperature at dusk is 75, your attic temperature could be as high as 140. Turning on the whole house fan will exhaust the super heat in the attic by pulling outside air in through your windows and allow the house to cool down much faster. Now you won’t have to leave the ceiling fans on all night. Saving energy!
They say, “Be smart about lighting”. They talk about CFL’s. That’s ok, but consider LED’s Much safer and usage can be creative in many ways. For instance, I use LED’s for my exterior night lighting. They’re installed in brass coach lights, stay on all night, every night at a few dollars per year. Talk to an electrical contractor for tips on lighting efficiency as it pertains to your home. The internet is a great place to learn, but all homes are unique and most contractors will come to you for the chance to bid.
Above you will notice bold font on building products and services you can take advantage of for your benefit and that of your community. And I haven’t even started. Listen to the radio show and call in with your questions and/or tips. Below you will find more suggestions for energy savings and comfort that can be fun when you know it will be a hot one.
Cook outside. BBQ like the American that you are. Take your electric coffee maker to your patio and keep the heat outside. Same for a crock pot and toaster oven. Don’t leave the refer door open. Get up early in the morning and do your laundry. It’s a great feeling to get something done before the day starts. Check your sprinkler system for broken pipes and failed sprayers. Think about your cities water pumping station and how the community at large can save energy together. Turn off your spa in summer if not in use. Use pool pumps at night. Research passive water heating for your pool/spa. Build a passive outdoor shower. Mine works great. And for those who plan to live in their homes for a long time and can make the investment, consider producing electricity at home with solar technology. Photo voltaic panels slow the meter on your home and will eventually pay back the investment. Buy thermal draperies. Clean the coils on your refrigerator and also your A/C compressor. I’ll be adding more when I think of them. Meanwhile, send a comment if you think I’ve forgotten some.