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Feb 27, 2013 2:00 PM  PST  

GreenPointers: Home Energy Performance 

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GreenPointers: Home Energy Performance

Our series of GreenPointers provides helpful tips for a healthier, greener home in a variety of topics. Today's topic is Home Energy Performance.

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For most people, saving money on each month's utility bill is the major motivation for improving their home's energy efficiency. But energy improvements actually provide multiple benefits. Making energy upgrades can reduce maintenance and replacement costs, increase your property value, increase home comfort, and have a positive effect on the community and environment.

When making a decision about whether to move forward with an energy upgrade project, be sure to factor in all these benefits. Here are a few ways to make your home more efficient.

Step 1


  Utilize passive design strategies to make the most of the sun's warmth in the winter while keeping out heat in the summer. These strategies include designing the home with good south-facing orientation, using thermal mass such as tile or stone floors to store solar heat, and designing rooms for natural cross-ventilation. Passive solar design is explained in our Major Remodeling and Additions Overview.
Step 2


  Windows can account for as much as 25% of the home's heat loss. Today's high performance double-pane windows reduce heating and cooling costs and keep homes more comfortable. In most cases, dual-pane windows are now required by California's building energy efficiency code for new home construction and major remodeling projects.

Learn more about windows.

Step 3


  When shopping for home appliances that use a lot of energy or water, such as refrigerators, dishwashers and clothes washers, always look for the Energy Star label. Energy Star–qualified appliances save more energy and money than standard models that merely meet the government's basic standards for energy efficiency. As an added benefit, many high efficiency appliances work even better than their standard counterparts.

Learn more about energy efficient appliances.

Step 3


  Make sure heating & cooling and water heating systems are well designed and tested to ensure they are operating properly for performance. Simple and cheap methods like fixing leaky ducts, replacing air filters, and insulating pipes can make a huge difference. Consider upgrading your old systems to new, more efficient ones.

Learn more about heating and cooling systems and water heaters.

Step 3


  Although renewable energy systems may seem expensive to purchase and install, these technologies lower your electricity and water heating costs, and will pay for themselves over time. Also, rebates and tax credits will also help bring the upfront costs down.

Learn more about renewable energy sources.


Learn more about home energy performance

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