The Low Down to Having an Energy Efficient Home
Global warming has already caused the Bramble Cay to go extinct, what will it take to get us to wake up and realize that this isn’t a problem that’s going to go away on its own? Will we be prepared when our grandchildren ask us what it was like when polar bears and other animals walked the earth? When they realize we were to blame for their extinction, how will that feel?
Despite what the naysayers are preaching, global warming is a threat, but there are ways to combat it, starting from the comfort of our homes.
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Find Your Inefficiencies
U.S. News & World Report tells us that there are 10 ways we can make our homes more energy-efficient, starting with getting an energy efficiency audit. An energy efficiency audit (say that 5 times fast) would require that you have an energy expert visit your home to measure how energy efficient or inefficient your home is. Through a series of tests, the energy auditor can determine what parts of your house are losing the most energy. Most often, unsealed cracks in door and window treatments are the culprits. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that making even minor changes to your house can save between 5 and 30 percent on your energy bill. Apart from sealing, let’s take a look at some other things we can do around the house to make it an energy saver versus waster.
There are four areas in your home that need to be well insulated to cut down energy bill costs and reduce energy use. These areas are:
The attic: If the thickness of your insulation is less than R-30, you need more insulation. Before you add more to the space, make sure you have sealed any places that the auditor reported as having an energy leak. Adding more insulation won’t do anything if there are leaks still around.
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The duct system: If your energy duct systems are in an unconditioned space (the attic, basement or garage), seal and insulate them.
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Exterior walls: You will know if your home requires having more insulation added to the exterior walls if your house is too hot during the summer or too cold during the winter, despite having an energy-efficient central-heating system.
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The foundation: Insulating your foundation will keep your house from suffering a bug infestation while also avoiding moisture issues.
Saving energy can start as soon as you replace your outdated lighting fixtures and energy draining light bulbs. Design firms like Artemide (named after Artemis, the Greek Goddess of the moon) have created fixture pieces that cut down on energy use without sacrificing style. LED lights last 25 times longer than other light bulbs and use 75 percent less energy. The U.S. Department of Energy has estimated that if a majority of Americans used LED lights, by 2027, we as a country would save $30 billion. If every American replaced even just one light bulb with an LED, we could shrink our greenhouse gas emissions by as much as 9 billion pounds.
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Changing the Filters
Because we don’t see our central heat and air filter, we don’t think to change it. Some people remember to change it after a season change, but it can take others years before they replace the filter with a new one. A filter needs to be checked once a month, and if it’s dirty it will need to be replaced.
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Setting the Thermostat
A rule of thumb is to set your thermostat to 68 degrees when you’re in the home, and to set it 7-10 degrees lower when you are away for the day during the winter. To save energy during the summer it’s much the same, only you will the thermostat to 78 degrees.
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Saving energy isn’t rocket science; we just have to be aware. By making a few simple adjustments and home improvements, you can help save the planet and line your wallet all at once.
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