Want to improve your home’s energy efficiency but you are unsure where to begin? A professional energy audit may be the first step for your home. Also, learn small projects you can do by yourself.
1) Get a home energy audit from a certified company. An energy audit from an independent company (one that does not focus on either insulation/heating/cooling/windows) will help you to better understand how your energy is used and where it is being wasted. It will identify areas on which to focus that will provide the greatest impact for YOU. This will help you target and prioritize your spending and possibly even get you rebates and incentives from the State. Choose a company that is accredited by BPI and the NJ Clean Energy Program.
2) Replace your most-used incandescent bulbs with comparable output compact fluorescent or LED bulbs. Lighting is typically 10%-15% or your electricity usage, and these bulbs use 75%-80% less electricity! Timers and motion detectors on both indoor and outdoor lighting help to manage your electricity use on lighting even further.
3) Turn off everything when not in use. This includes lights, TVs, computers, etc. In addition, either unplug devices, or put on a Smart Strip and turn off, as 7-11% of home electricity is wasted on equipment which is plugged in, and not in use!
4) Plug those leaks. Sealing gaps and crevices keeps out unwanted air infiltration. Leaking faucets and tubs waste a tremendous amount of water over time.
5) Keep heating and cooling equipment updated and serviced properly. Older systems can be inefficient, to the point that upgrading may make sense. Also, proper maintenance can improve the efficiency, and keep your systems running for many more years.
6) Use a programmable thermostat. If you follow a regular schedule, you can coordinate indoor settings with your family’s daily and weekly patterns. Keep your thermostat at energy efficient and comfortable settings during the days and nights for all seasons. This can save up to 20% on your heating and cooling costs.
7) Run clothes washer and dishwasher only when it is a full load. This saves water, along with energy. Newer washing machines can use cold water cycles and still get laundry cleaned properly. On sunny days, try using the clothesline instead of the dryer. In winter, an indoor drying rack will increase your relative humidity levels.
8) Renewable energy may be for you. Your home may be a good candidate for using Solar Panels to generate electricity, or geothermal for ultra-efficient heating and cooling. If so, these technologies can save you money while being much more Earth-friendly.
9) Don’t run to change windows. Get an energy audit first to prioritize where the biggest impact items are. Many times you can get a much greater benefit by targeting other areas that cost much less. This will help you to get the best bang for your dollars spent.
10) Landscaping can reduce your energy use. Deciduous trees can shade your southern and western exposures, reducing your cooling requirements. Evergreen buffers can shield your home from northern winds in winter. Also, consider composting in your yard to reduce solid waste, and add nutrient rich additives to your gardens. See our composting guide for additional details.
WE CAN ALL DO OUR PART TO REDUCE OUR CARBON FOOTPRINT!
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