Advantages of LED Lighting

Part 1 of Advantages of LED Lighting. Light-emitting diodes (LEDs) are often touted for their energy efficiency and long life. Although these are important considerations, selecting a light source should involve many other factors. Let’s explores some of the unique attributes of LEDs, which may make them the best choice for a many applications. Financial […]

Beware Electrical Vampires

Energy vampires are sitting in dark corners, hiding under desks, and lurking on counter tops in offices across America. They take the form of office equipment, personal electronics, and appliances that draw electricity when left in “standby mode.” These sneaky monsters continue to consume power, even when equipment is idle or “shut off.” While you […]

Sunspace Components

Part 4 of Sunspaces. Glazing Glazing is clear or translucent materials that allow sunlight to penetrate and warm the room. Glass is the most common glazing material, and many sunspace developers choose glass for its durability, clarity, and appearance. But plastic glitter may be cheaper, stronger, lighter and easier to work with, making them popular […]

Select and plant trees and shrubs

Part 6 of Landscaping for Energy Efficiency. Trees and shrubs come in all shapes and sizes. How you select your trees and shrubs and how to plant them will directly affect your home’s comfort and energy efficiency. Trees and shrubs have a life span of many years and may become more attractive and functional with […]

Climate Considerations: Landscaping for Energy Efficiency

Part 3 of Landscaping for Energy Efficiency. The United States can be divided into four approximate climatic regions: temperate, hot-arid, hot-wet and cool. The average energy to keep the landscape strategies you use should depend on the region you live. These landscaping strategies by region are listed in order below. Carefully positioned trees can save […]

Attic Insulation Techniques

Loose-fill or batt insulation is typically installed in an attic. Although installation costs may vary, blowing loose-fill attic insulation—fiberglass, rock wool, or cellulose—is usually less expensive than installing batts and provides better coverage. STEPS FOR INSTALLING LOOSE–FILL AND BATT INSULATION Seal all attic-to-home air leaks, especially chases, dropped ceilings, wiring and plumbing penetrations, light fixtures, […]

Energy-Efficient Lighting

Part 1 of Energy-Efficient Lighting. The quantity and quality of light around us determine how well we see, work, and play. Light affects our health, safety, morale, comfort, and productivity. Lighting also directly affects our economy. As a nation, we spend about one-quarter of our electricity budget on lighting, or more than $37 billion annually. […]

Air Conditioner Efficiency

Part 2 of Energy-Efficient Air Conditioning. Each air conditioner has an energy-efficiency rating that lists how many Btu per hour are removed for each watt of power it draws. For room air conditioners, this efficiency rating is the Energy Efficiency Ratio, or EER. For central air conditioners, it is the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio, or […]

Regular Air Conditioner Maintenance

An air conditioner’s filters, coils, and fins require regular maintenance for the unit to function effectively and efficiently throughout its years of service. Neglecting necessary maintenance ensures a steady decline in air conditioning performance while energy use steadily increases. Air Conditioner Filters The most important maintenance task that will ensure the efficiency of your air […]

Energy-Efficient Air Conditioning

Are you considering buying a new air conditioner? Or, are you dissatisfied with the operation of your current air condi- tioner? Are you unsure whether to fix or replace it? Are you concerned about high summer utility bills? If you answered yes to any of these questions, this publication can help. With it, you can […]

Resources: Air-Source Heat Pumps

Part 8 of Air-Source Heat Pumps. The following are sources of additional information on heat pumps. This list is not exhaustive, nor does the mention of any resource constitute a recommendation or endorsement. Ask an Energy Expert DOE’s Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Clearinghouse (EREC) P.O. Box 3048 Merrifield, VA 22116 1-800-DOE-EREC (363-3732) Online submittal form. Energy […]

Installing a New Heat Pump

Part 4 of Air-Source Heat Pumps. A heat pump’s performance and energy efficiency not only depend on the selection and planning of the equipment but also on careful installation. Consumers and home builders alike tend to accept the lowest bid for heating and air-conditioning work. This unfortunate choice can often leave a system lacking 10 […]

Selecting a Heat Pump

Part 3 of Air-Source Heat Pumps. When selecting an air-source heat pump, consider the following three characteristics carefully: the energy efficiency rating, sizing, and the system’s components. Energy efficiency rating In the United States, we rate a heat pump’s energy efficiency by how many British thermal units (Btu) of heat it moves for each watt-hour […]

Increasing Water-Heating System Efficiency

Part 3 of Energy-Efficient Water Heating. Reducing hot-water usage is primarily a matter of common sense and exerting a little extra effort to not be wasteful. Once you have applied a few simple, low-cost measures for reducing hot-water consumption, you may want to consider water-heating system improvements if you wish to further reduce your energy […]

Energy-Efficient Water Heating

Part 1 of Energy-Efficient Water Heating. The next time you pay your utility bill, try one simple calculation. Divide the total amount by seven. The result is the amount you spend to heat your water. (If you receive separate utility bills for gas and electricity, use the gas bill for this calculation if you have […]

Zero Energy Community, Vista Monta

Part 1 of Zero Energy Community. Vista Montaña In August 2003, Clarum Homes opened the doors at Vista Montaña, California’s largest Zero Energy Home community, with homes designed to use almost zero net electricity over the course of a year. Built on a former apple orchard, all homes in the development will harvest the sun to […]

Get Your Power from the Sun

Part 1 of Get Your Power from the Sun. Are you thinking about buying a solar electric system for your home or business? If so, this story provides some basic information that can help you. Solar electric systems, which are also called photovoltaic or PV systems, are reliable and pollution-free. They make use of a […]

Resources: Elements of an Energy-Efficient House

Part 8 of Elements of an Energy-Efficient House. The following are sources of additional information on energy-efficient houses: The Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Clearinghouse (EREC) P.O. Box 3048 Merrifield, VA22116 1-800-DOE-EREC (1-800-363-3732) EREC provides free general and technical information to the public on many topics and technologies pertaining to energy efficiency and renewable energy. […]

Advantages and Disadvantages

Part 6 of Elements of an Energy-Efficient House. Houses that incorporate all of the elements of energy efficiency mentioned in this series of articles have many advantages. They feel more comfortable because the additional insulation keeps the interior wall at a more comfortable and stable temperature. The indoor humidity is also better controlled, and drafts […]

Energy-Efficient Appliances

Part 5 of Elements of an Energy-Efficient House. Appliances with relatively high operating efficiencies are usually more expensive to purchase. However, higher efficiency appliances provide a measure of insurance against increases in energy prices, emit less air pollution, and are attractive selling points when the home is resold. Home buyers should invest in high-efficiency appliances—such […]

Controlled Ventilation

Part 3 of Elements of an Energy-Efficient House. Since an energy-efficient house is tightly sealed, it needs to be ventilated in a controlled manner. Controlled, mechanical ventilation prevents health risks from indoor air pollution, promotes a more comfortable atmosphere, and reduces air moisture infiltration, thus reducing the likelihood of structural damage. Furnaces, water heaters, clothes […]

Criteria for Selection

Part 7 of Selecting a New Water Heater. As with any purchase, balance the pros and cons of the different water heaters in light of your particular needs. There are numerous factors to consider when choosing a new water heater. This publication has already described different system configurations. Some other considerations are capacity, efficiency, and […]

Storage Water Heaters

Part 2 of Selecting a New Water Heater. Storage water heaters remain the most frequently used type of water heater for residential purposes. A variety of fuel options are available for conventional storage water heaters—electricity, natural gas, oil, and propane. Ranging in size from 20 to 80 gallons (75.7 to 302.8 liters), storage water heaters […]

Additional Options for Reducing Heat Loss and Gain through Windows

Part 4 of Energy-Efficient Windows. Movable insulation, such as insulating shades, shutters, and drapes, can be applied on the inside of windows to reduce heat loss in the winter and heat gain in the summer. Shading devices, such as awnings, exterior shutters, or screens, can be used to reduce unwanted heat gain in the summer. […]

Reducing Heat Loss and Condensation

Part 3 of Energy-Efficient Windows. Manufacturers usually represent the energy efficiency of windows in terms of their U-values (conductance of heat) or their R-values (resistance to heat flow). If a window’s R-value is high, it will lose less heat than one with a lower R-value. Conversely, if a window’s U-value is low, it will lose less […]

Controlling Air Leaks

Part 2 of Energy-Efficient Windows. When air leaks around windows, energy is wasted. Energy is also transferred through the centers, edges, and frames of windows. Eliminating or reducing these paths of heat flow can greatly improve the energy efficiency of windows and, ultimately, of homes. Several options are available to reduce air leaks around windows; […]

Energy-Efficient Windows

Part 1 of Energy-Efficient Windows. Windows bring light, warmth, and beauty into buildings and give a feeling of openness and space to living areas. They can also be major sources of heat loss in the winter and heat gain in the summer. In 1990 alone, the energy used to offset unwanted heat losses and gains […]

Saving Energy with Appliances

Part 9 of Ways to Save Money on Energy at Home. Appliances account for about 20% of your household’s energy consumption, with refrigerators, clothes washers, and clothes dryers at the top of the consumption list. When you’re shopping for appliances, you can think of two price tags. The first one covers the purchase price—think of […]

Use Landscaping to Save Energy and Money

Part 7 of Ways to Save Money on Energy at Home. Landscaping is a natural and beautiful way to keep your home more comfortable and reduce your energy bills. In addition to adding aesthetic value and environmental quality to your home, a well-placed tree, shrub, or vine can deliver effective shade, act as a wind- […]

Your Home’s Energy use

Part 2 of Ways to Save Money on Energy at Home. The first step to taking a whole-house energy efficiency approach is to find out which parts of your house use the most energy. A home energy audit will show you where these are and suggest the most effective measures for reducing your energy costs. You […]

Save Energy and Money at Home

Part 1 of Ways to Save Money on Energy at Home. Did you know that the typical U.S. family spends close to $2,100 (2008 dollars) a year on their home’s utility bills? Alas, a significant portion of that energy is wasted. The amount of energy wasted just through poorly insulated windows and doors is about as much […]

Design: Earth-Sheltered Houses

Part 3 of Earth Sheltered Houses. There are two basic types of earth-sheltered housing—underground and “bermed” (or banked with earth). Certain characteristics such as the location and soils of your site, the regional climate, and design preferences are central to which type will work best for you. Underground housing means an entire structure built below […]

Options that Increase Window Efficiency

Part 2 of Advances in Glazing Materials for Windows. Manufacturers usually represent the energy efficiency of windows in terms of their U-values (conductance of heat) or their R-values (resistance to heat flow). If a window’s R-value is high, it will lose less heat than one with a lower R-value. Conversely, if a window’s U-value is […]

Mechanical Ventilation: Ceiling Fans

Part 3 of Cooling Your Home Naturally with Fans and Ventilation. When you know how air moves naturally through your home, you can then optimize your mechanical ventilation. In warmer climates, natural ventilation can’t circulate enough air through a home to provide sufficient cooling at night to remove the day’s heat. Mechanical ventilation can provide […]

If You Need a Contractor

Part 6 of A Guide to Making Energy-Smart Purchases. You may find that many improvements involving energy efficiency require a contractor for installation. While finding a quality contractor at the best price can be a little confusing, these suggestions may help along the way. Try to limit your choices to local contractors. They are usually […]

Weatherization Projects

Part 4 of A Guide to Making Energy-Smart Purchases. Weatherization projects insulate and tighten the shell of the home. Such projects include, but are not restricted to, caulking and weatherstripping, improving or replacing windows, and installing insulation. Caulking and Weatherstripping Caulking and weatherstripping are the easiest and least expensive weatherization measures and can save more […]

Determine Energy-Savings Priorities

Part 3 of A Guide to Making Energy-Smart Purchases. Results from the energy audit can direct you to the changes that would be most appropriate to improve the energy efficiency, or “tightness,” of your home. Before you purchase an energy-related product or system, though, you should answer some important questions. What are your budgetary limits? […]

Knowing Your Needs

Part 2 of A Guide to Making Energy-Smart Purchases. An energy audit is one of the best ways to determine the most cost effective measures for reducing energy bills. Energy audits can locate areas where energy is wasted and can determine the efficiency of your heating and cooling systems. Energy audits vary in complexity. You […]

Save Energy by Cooling Your Home Naturally

Part 7 of Cool Your Home Naturally. Using any or all of these strategies will help keep you cool. Even if you use air conditioning, many of these strategies, particularly reflecting heat and shading, will help reduce the energy costs of running an air conditioner. However, adopting all of these strategies may not be enough. […]

Reducing Heat-Generating Sources

Part 6 of Cool Your Home Naturally. Often-overlooked sources of interior heat gain are lights and household appliances, such as ovens, dishwashers, and dryers. Because most of the energy that incandescent lamps use is given off as heat, use them only when necessary. Take advantage of daylight to illuminate your house. And consider switching to […]