Did you know that the typical U.S. family spends about $1,900 a year on home utility bills? Unfortunately, a large portion of that energy is wasted. Each year, electricity generated by fossil fuels for a single home puts more carbon dioxide into the air than two average cars. The good news is that there are many things you can do to save energy and money at home.
The key to achieving savings in your home is a whole-house energy efficiency plan. To take a whole-house approach, you should view your home as an energy system with interdependent parts. For example, your heating system is not just a furnace; it’s a heat-delivery system that starts at the furnace and delivers heat throughout your home using a network of ducts. Even a top-of-the-line, energy-efficient furnace will waste a lot of fuel if the ducts, walls, attic, windows, and doors are not properly sealed and insulated. Taking a whole-house approach to saving energy ensures that dollars you invest to save energy are spent wisely.
Energy-efficient improvements not only make your home more comfortable, they can yield long-term financial rewards. Savings from reduced utility bills more than make up for the higher initial cost of purchasing energy-efficient appliances. In addition to immediate savings, your home could bring a higher price when you sell given your energy efficient upgrades.
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Easy low-cost and no-cost ways to save energy
- Install a programmable thermostat to keep your house comfortably warm in the winter and comfortably cool in the summer.
- Use compact fluorescent light bulbs with the ENERGY STAR® label.
- Air dry dishes instead of using your dishwasher’s drying cycle.
- Turn off your computer and monitor when not in use.
- Plug home electronics, such as TVs and DVD players, into power strips; turn the power strips off when the equipment is not in use. (Remember: TVs and DVDs in standby mode still use several watts of power).
- Lower the thermostat on your hot water heater to 120°F.
- Take short showers instead of baths.
- Wash only full loads of dishes and clothes.
- Look for the ENERGY STAR label on home appliances and products as ENERGY STAR products meet strict efficiency guidelines set by the U.S. Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency.