Saving Energy is for More than Just the Planet
Often, when people talk about be more energy-efficient, they speak in terms of saving the planet, conserving resources and make the world a bit greener. Those are all noble causes and great motivation, but the most frequent motivation is to save money.
Many energy efficient items, like appliances and windows, have a basic standard that the manufacturers must meet. This standard is set by the federal government as a minimum that the companies must meet. Increasingly more efficient appliances and equipment also increase in price. There is usually a break-even point where the economic value stops and the benefit is strictly environmental.
In this article, we will review the most common items to look for energy efficiency in and tell you how to find the right item for you.
The most logical place to start with making your home more efficient is with your heating and cooling system. In the average home, this is largest user of energy and is often the least efficient appliance.
If you haven’t replaced your heating and cooling system in the last 10 years, it will likely save you a lot of money to replace it.
SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating) – This is a measure of the energy efficiency for cooling. It’s gauged by a specific set of tests that the industry uses to get standardized results. The higher the SEER rating, the more efficient the unit is. A SEER rating of 18 or higher is extremely efficient unit.
HSPF (Heating Seasonal Performance Factor) – This is measure of the heating efficiency of a unit. The higher the HSPF rating, the more efficient the unit. A rating of 8 or higher is considered extremely efficient.
EER (Energy Efficiency Ratio) – EER is a measure of efficiency for room air conditioners, whereas SEER is for central air conditioners. The higher the EER rating, the most efficient the unit. An EER rating of 8.5 or higher is consider efficient.
ENERGY STAR – Energy Star is a rating system devised by the US government to make shopping for energy efficient equipment much easier to shop for. Energy Star allows you to compare apples to apples when shopping. Look at the rating and use it as guide for the most efficient system you can find. The Energy Star label will tell you how much you can expect to save on your equipment. Use this number to decide on the ‘break-even’ point of your equipment. When will the cost savings and tax credit offset the increased costs.
As a guide for the energy efficient heating and air conditioning, check out this article from Quality Smith on Coleman heat pumps . Quality Smith offers a huge number of articles on energy efficiency.
The next place to look at for energy efficiency is the windows on your house. Not only do windows let in the cold in winter, they allow the sun in to heat up your home. There are a large number of ways that window manufacturers have made windows extremely energy efficient.
- Coatings – These are simply plastic or ceramic coatings that help to keep in what you want and keep out what you don’t the most common reflects some of the sun’s energy back out of the house so that infrared radiation doesn’t heat your home up too much. All modern windows worth buying have a low-e coating.
- Air gaps and materials – Using low efficiency gases or simply air and materials that don’t transfer heat easily can make windows much more efficient.
- Passive Solar – One of the ways to make your home more energy efficient is to place the windows so that in the winter, solar heat is able to come in. The sun can heat your entire house through south facing windows simply by letting even a little.
Getting most energy efficiency from your windows is a matter of doing some research and working with a professional installer.
One of the most important factors to remember is that the installation is vital. If the window is installed with gaps, those gaps can negate the energy efficiency of the windows.
Energy Efficient Roofs
Your roof is the part of your house that can be the biggest loser of heat and cold. It’s a vast area that needs to have the right materials on it to make it efficient. Different roofing materials offer different levels of energy efficiency.
Metal roofs are often the most efficient. Although most people would think of metal as being the most heat and cold conductive, placing it onto roofing felt and other materials can make it very efficient. It can also be painted in colors that will reflect the suns heat, keeping the sun from overheating your home in the summer.
This article goes into detail on the different types of energy efficient roofing materials.
Figuring out how to make your home more energy efficient
There are lots of ways to figure out how to make your home more energy efficient. One of the easiest ways to make sure that home is more energy efficient is to have an energy study done.
Power companies are often willing to do at least a preliminary review of your home’s energy efficiency. They will send someone in who will look at everything in your home and review how energy efficient everything in your home is. Their report can be a guide to saving a low of money. It’s likely that they can also tell which parts you can do for yourself and what parts you need a contractor for.
Energy efficiency experts often will do very detailed reviews of the efficiency of your home. This will allow you to see everything from the insulation level of your insulation. Their reports will make detailed recommendations on what types of equipment to buy and who to get to install it.
Quality Smith offers a large selection of articles on making your home more energy-efficient.
Quality Smith created a number of articles about installing solar panels and energy around the US:
- Arizona solar energy: costs and ideas for the home
- California solar heating: costs and ideas for the home
- Installing Solar Panels on Your Roof for Efficient Home Energy This Winter
- California Solar Energy: Costs and Ideas for Home
- Live in a Cold Climate but Get Lots of Sun? Solar is Your Best Option
Tax incentives are among the most important reasons to make your home more energy efficient.
Knowing how to make your home more energy efficient and knowing where to look can make a huge difference in the cost of your home.
- 10 Ways to Make Your Home Energy Efficient
- Best Energy-Efficient Home Improvements
- How to Properly Insulate Your House for this Winter
As we mentioned earlier, your home’s roof is an important place to keep your house more efficient. Here are some articles that help you.
Siding is another very important place to look to make your home more efficient. Here are some articles to guide to great decisions.
Your HVAC system can be the biggest loser of energy or the biggest place to capture efficiency. Here are a few articles that can help guide you.
Finding a Great Contractor
Finding a great energy efficiency contractor.
The easiest place to start is Quality Smith. Using your postal code, you can look for a contractor that can help.
Next, look at reviews of the contractors and see if you can find online reviews of their past work for others. Remember that reviews are only written by people who are really happy or really unhappy. Look for trends, both positive and negative.
Speak to the contractors and ask for a few things:
- Liability insurance – Every contractor needs professional insurance. They should supply you with their insurance policy number and insurance agent’s info. Call to verify that the policy is in effect and paid up.
- License – Contractors all need to be licensed. Ask for their license number and call the state to make sure that the license is current and not suspended.
- Workers’ Compensation – If the contractor will have employees working in your home, they must have workers’ compensation insurance. Again verify it. If one of their employees gets hurt working on your home, you can be liable for the damages.
- Interview – It’s possible that this person will be in your home for a week or longer. Make sure that you can get along with them. If they irritate you during a simple interview, they will be unbearable for week inside your house.
A qualified contractor can be a great person to help you save money and make your home much more energy efficient.