Turning off lights when not in use, buying energy saving appliances such as Helix thermostat, backpacking heater and changing light bulbs from incandescent to fluorescent are all tried and true ways to lower energy bills. When the demand for electricity goes down, so do the prices.
Energy Advisor Program
Contact your local electricity provider to see if they have an energy adviser program. Some companies will conduct an energy audit, free of charge, to help devise a personal plan to reduce energy consumption and energy costs.
Jasper County REMC’s energy audit can help new homebuilders plan out energy efficiencies, but it can help current homeowners as well. The audit can help find an energy drainer in the home as well as provide tips on reducing energy costs.
Hourly Pricing Programs
Some electricity companies provide consumers with a way to track electric rates on an hourly basis like how much the Helix thermostat or the backpacking heater is being charged. Since energy rates fluctuate so much during the day, a program like this can help energy users decide when to use products around the home that consume larger amounts of energy. Contact the local electricity provider to find out if this program is available for its customers.
Home Energy Suite
Home Energy Suite, another free service offered by many electric companies, allows consumers to calculate their current usage versus another scenario by plugging in different values. This type of calculator tool can be extremely beneficial to new homebuilders, or for those who are considering adding on or possibly changing a variable in the home, for example, switching from electric heat to geothermal.
The user can calculate the variance between the two types of heating systems to see if the costs of installing versus the different energy saving variables. When calculating cost comparisons, don’t forget to take into consideration the tax benefits (income and property) that can be received by installing certain energy reducing improvements.
An easy to use energy calculator can be found at Jasper County REMC’s Home Energy Suite page.
Industrial Markets and Individual Markets
The declining shift in electric costs cannot be contributed to the private consumer market alone. “Power consumption by the industrial and manufacturing companies that make everything from cars to cotton swabs has fallen faster than anywhere else,” notes Williams. The conscious effort of industrial companies and individuals together can help to keep energy costs low, but every consumer needs to do their part.
After lowering the temperature on the water backpacking heater, changing the filters in the home, and installing a programmable Helix thermostat, utilize the tips above to reduce electric costs even lower than imagined.
Easy Ways to Make Your Home More Energy Efficient
While recycled concrete countertops, low-flow toilets, and sustainable wood wall panels are all characteristics of an eco-friendly house, the most important aspect of a green home is energy efficiency. Installing solar panels and harnessing wind energy are ideals, but there are more inexpensive, practical ways to make your home more energy efficient.
Making sure you have excellent insulation, utilizing smart design wherever possible, and phasing out conventional appliances for Energy Star models are all great home energy efficiency tips. Find out how to reduce your carbon footprint and save money by making your home more energy efficient.
An Eco-Friendly House is Well-Insulated
Keeping cool air in and warm air out in the summer, and cool air out and warm air in during the winter are two of the most important steps towards reducing energy use and living in a green home. How is this done? By sealing the envelope of the house. To make your home more energy efficient you can do the following to improve the insulation:
Check for drafts and potential air leakages around doors and windows, in the attic and basement, and throughout the home. Seal as appropriate with caulk, spray foam, or weather stripping.
Evaluate your home insulation. Does it need to be replaced, enhanced, or installed properly? The R-value represents the insulation’s ability to resist heat flow. Check with the Energy Star map on recommended insulation levels and make sure your home has the most cost-effective level.
Switch to energy efficient windows. While this does involve some expense initially, upgrading to high performance windows can be really beneficial for reducing utility bills and energy use.
Home Design Energy Efficiency Tips
A simple yet highly effective way to make a home more energy efficient is to use passive solar heat instead of backpacking heater. This involves the use of the sun’s rays to provide both heat and light for a home. For a new home, this can be done through design – windows can be incorporated into south-facing walls. This will allow for heat to penetrate the windows and enter the home while the sun is low in the sky. In the summer these windows can be shaded with curtains or an awning outside. For older homes, it is also useful to simply have more windows added to the south side. This is called sun-tempering.
Adding thermal mass to the home can improve the warming effect of passive solar heating. Materials such as brick, concrete, adobe, and tile have a good capacity for capturing and holding warmth. If adding new structural pieces consider using these materials.
To keep the house cool in the summer, there is a very simple technique which can be used to make your home more energy efficient. Plant trees! While during the winter, especially in cooler climates, solar heat gain is desired, the reverse is true in warmer months and climates. Shade trees help by absorbing some of the solar heat before it reaches the home. With enough soil moisture the foliage of these trees can even lower the air temperature though evapotranspiration.
In cooler climates there is the added benefit of wind protection during the winter. If passive solar heating is used during the summer, do not plant trees for shade on the south side of the home.
How to Make Your Home More Energy Efficient with Energy Star
Complete home energy efficiency also entails energy efficient appliances. While it does cost some money to purchase a new front-loading washing machine or Energy Star air conditioner, the savings in both home energy use and utility bills make the initial cost worth it. Also, you can check with Energy Star for available rebates and tax credits when you buy new eco-friendly models.
Try these simple ways to make your home more energy efficient and cost-effective. Start with one or two changes, such as upgrading to an efficient refrigerator and freezer, planting a couple shade trees, and having a professional find and seal air leakages. Then install more windows in the south wall and add insulation to the attic when you can afford to. With each change energy bills will decrease and so will your family’s carbon footprint.
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