Worth the Effort
Saving energy is easier than you think, and it’s good for the earth and your wallet. Here are 10 great ways to get started.
1. Make the switch. Ninety-five percent of the energy used by incandescent lights is wasted on heating the bulb. Replace your bulbs with compact fluorescents, which provide the same amount of light, are as much as four times more energy-efficient, and last up to 10 times longer.
By Allen B. Bunting | Printed with permission from Coastal Living Magazine
2. Fill in the cracks. Use spray foam or long-lasting caulk to seal off crevices around windows, doors, floorboards, light fixtures, and wall sockets. Check the insulation in your attic, and consider adding more if the existing blanket is less than 6 or 7 inches thick.
3. Protect your pipes. Insulate your water heater and exposed pipes, then set your water heater below 120 degrees. Showers will still be steamy, and chances are you won’t even notice the difference.
4. Replace or cover drafty windows. Choose storm windows or products with double-pane glass to remedy leaky single-pane units. Hanging draperies inside can keep things cozier in cool-weather climates.
5. Shop smart. If you’re in the market for a central air system, look for a seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER) of 13 or higher. If you’re shopping for a room unit, look for the Energy Star label. (Learn more about Energy Star and its approved products at energystar.gov.)
6. Warm up. Install a solar water heater in a sunny spot. Many can be hidden unobtrusively on rooftops.
7. Grow green. Use landscaping to your advantage. Plant deciduous trees to block the sun in warmer months and to let in the light in winter.
8. Hire an expert. Home Energy Raters are contractors who specialize in evaluating a home’s energy-efficiency. To find a Home Energy Rater in your area, contact the Residential Energy Services Network at 760/806-3448, or visit natresnet.org.
9. Take a break. According to the Energy Policy Act of 2005, homeowners are eligible for a 10 percent tax credit if they update their home with certain energy-efficient utilities before 2008. (For more info, visit energytaxincentives.org.) Some hybrid vehicles yield similar deductions—anywhere from $250 to $3,400. (For more info, check out aceee.org/transportation/hybtaxcred.htm.)
10. Save water. Choose water-efficient showerheads and install dual-flush toilet systems.