typical family spends $1,300 a year on home energy bills, and
some of that energy is wasted. Heating, ventilating and air
conditioning units are inefficient, windows leak conditioned
air, and appliances devour energy.
Ways to Save
Use a programmable thermostat to control the
heating and cooling in your home
Compare your energy use against the national
Conduct a home energy audit to determine the
largest savings potential
such as compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs)
Hire a professional to help you insulate and
repair your ducts
Homes Use Energy Like It's Going Out of Style
This is money out of your pocket, and it's bad news for the
environment—electricity generated by fossil fuels for a single
home puts more carbon dioxide into the air than two average
Building Energy-Efficient New Homes
New home construction
presents an opportunity to incorporate energy-saving features
right from the start. Across the nation, savvy homeowners and
home builders are demonstrating that energy-smart building
choices can help homeowners save on energy bills and, at the
same time, give homebuilders a competitive advantage.
The Good News?
Well, maybe using so much energy—especially in the form of
fossil fuels—is going out of style. Homeowners and renters know
that saving energy means saving money, and they're realizing
that it does not mean sacrificing functionality. There are many
things you can do to save energy, ranging from long-term
investments to simple no- or low-cost changes. In fact, simple
adjustments—like letting your dishes air dry—add up to
Looking for long-term savings? Because we use-and waste-energy
in so many ways, there are plenty of options for cutting back.
If you replace 25% of your lights in high-use areas with
fluorescents, you can save about 50% of your lighting energy
bill. In the market for a new appliance? Invest a little extra
money in an energy-efficient product and save more money in the
long run. If you're building an addition to your home,
double-paned windows and proper insulation will reduce your
heating and cooling costs, and strategically placed windows will
provide daylighting. From water heating to landscaping, most
areas of your home offer opportunities to save.
But we will always need energy, and that's why many homeowners
are turning to renewable energy sources for a cleaner, more
sustainable choice. This can mean investing in solar panels to
supply your home's electricity or purchasing a solar water
heater. It can also mean installing ground source heat pumps
that use the heat of the earth to moderate the temperature of
your home. In many areas, utility companies offer clean energy
options such as wind power.
And that's not all. While you're at the business of saving
money, you'll help reduce dependence on fossil fuels, which
increases domestic security. You'll also help the environment.
In 2000, residences accounted for 20% of U.S. energy-related
carbon dioxide emissions—that's 313.4 million metric tons of
carbon dioxide. Saving energy also goes hand in hand with other
sustainable choices, like saving water and using more friendly
materials and products, like paint, carpet, and cleaners. This
is good news for the environment, but it also improves the
health of your home, so you can breathe easy.
By now, chances are you've come up with a much better way to
spend your money than sending it out your single-paned window. A
college savings fund, perhaps, or a water-saving clothes washer?
Or how about that vacation you've been dreaming about.