Vaha Energy is an advocate of energy efficiency in conjunction with the installation of a solar system. While we provide you a free energy consultation, you may want to consider a thorough energy audit as most energy is wasted through inefficient appliances, poor insulation, leaky ducts, and poor energy management practices. In the meantime, here are 10 ways to increase your energy efficiency in addition to installing solar panels:
- If you’re not using it – shut it off! We tend to leave lights on when we go in and out of rooms. In many cases, our intent is to go back into a room – but we never do. If you find turning switches on and off tedious, you can invest in motion detectors and simply adjust them accordingly.
- Same thing applies to other electronics and appliances we heave plugged in. Whether it’s cell phones, computers, or TV’s, if they’re not being used or re-charging, and it’s plugged in, it still consumes energy (even in standby mode). Many times these are considered phantom loads because they are not as easily detectable.
- Transition to Energy-Star® rated appliances. When it is time to get a new appliance, always look for an energy efficient model. For help with Energy-Star® qualified products, please visit the government’s website: http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?fuseaction=find_a_product
- Do a full sweep through the house and switch out any remaining incandescent bulbs over to CFL or LED bulbs. You would be surprised how much energy this simple exercise will help save you. In the past, LED lights were expensive but these days the prices are coming down. LED lights are becoming a favorite over CFLs, since LED lights consume only 1/8 of the power that an incandescent light bulb uses and unlike CFLs have many color hues that are pleasant and easy on the eye
- Install a programmable thermostat and adjust accordingly depending on when you and your family find yourselves at home. Bumping the temperature up on your AC by 3-4 degrees during the day when everyone is away and dropping the temperature on your heater by 3-4 degrees at night when everyone is asleep could save you a bundle. Especially, when you consider that heating and cooling account for almost 45% of a household’s energy consumption.
- Make sure you clean out any lint traps on dryers and condenser coils on your refrigerator. The same goes for any ventilation pipes. Accumulated lint and dust make your appliances only work harder and ultimately cut down on their useful life span.
- If you are in the market for a HVAC system, then go for one that is efficient. Many utility companies have incentive programs for high SEER-rated AC units, which can save you on the system cost as well. Otherwise, make do with the one that you have and simply conduct a walk-through and insulate the attic, the ducts, and any leaky windows. Simple weather-strips on the bottom of your door and in any porous windows could make a big difference at a very low cost.
- Use of canopies, curtains, and even tinting of any windows facing direct sunlight can help keep a home cool during peak hours. Upon sunset, the opening of windows to form a cross-breeze and use of ceiling fans can cool down a home effectively and economically. Attic fans are also very useful in pulling the hot air out of the house, thus reducing the need to use air conditioners.
- If you have an electric water heater, then switch to a gas electric water heater. Even more space and energy efficient are the new tankless water heaters available on the market. Switching from electric to gas also makes sense for clothes dryers and ovens as gas heats more efficiently and more cheaply than electric.