Design

Save Money on Your Energy Bills

When doing any upgrades or remodeling in your home the goals are usually twofold: enhance the look and feel of your home for personal enjoyment and increase the value of your home for resale.
When doing any upgrades or remodeling in your home the goals are usually twofold: enhance the look and feel of your home for personal enjoyment and increase the value of your home for resale. These days you can accomplish both of those things while also saving money on your monthly energy bills.

Windows & Doors

Hundreds of dollars can be saved each year by replacing old, inefficient windows and doors. When selecting windows look for ENERGY STAR designated products, which assures they meet certain energy performance criteria set by the Department of Energy (DOE) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Energy Star reports an approximate $126 yearly savings on your energy bill over single pane windows when replaced with Energy Star approved products.

What makes windows energy efficient? Improved frame materials, multiple panes, and gas fills between panes improve insulation and therefore energy efficiency. Low-E Glass reflects infrared light, keeping heat inside in winter and outside in summer. Warm Edge spacers keep windows glass panes the correct distance apart reducing heat flow and preventing condensation. Check the NFRC label on ENERGY STAR windows for the SHGC rating. For San Diego homes, look for windows with a SHGC of 0.40 or less. According to efficientwindows.org a low SHGC is the most important window property in warm climates.

What makes doors energy efficient? Improved core materials like fiberglass, wood cladding, and steel with polyurethane foam core are among the most energy efficient door materials available today. Tighter fit and improved weather stripping reduce air leakage and multiple glass panes reduce heat flow.

When replacing windows and doors proper installation can make all the difference. Make sure to interview candidates and ask for references when hiring a professional installer. When planning a major addition consider if you can orienting windows to the south and using roof overhangs to provide shade from the sun in summer and solar heat gain in winter.

Appliances

When buying an appliance, remember that it has two price tags: what you pay to take it home and what you pay for the energy and water it uses. ENERGY STAR qualified appliances incorporate advanced technologies that use 10-50% less energy and water than standard models. The money you save on your utility bills can more than make up for the cost of a more expensive but more efficient ENERGY STAR model.

Washing machines:

An ENERGY STAR qualified clothes washer can save you $550 in operating costs over its lifetime compared to a regular clothes washer. ENERGY STAR qualified washers are also better for the environment because lowering energy and water use means less air pollution from power plants and less water going to waste.

Dishwasher:

ENERGY STAR qualified dishwashers use at least 41 percent less energy than the federal minimum standard for energy consumption.  They also use much less water than conventional models. Because they use less hot water compared to new conventional models, an ENERGY STAR qualified dishwasher saves about $90 over its lifetime.

Refrigerator/Freezer:

ENERGY STAR qualified refrigerator models use high efficiency compressors, improved insulation, and more precise temperature and defrost mechanisms to improve energy efficiency using at least 20% less energy than required by and 40% less energy than the conventional models sold in 2001.  Many ENERGY STAR qualified refrigerator models include automatic ice-maker and through-the-door ice dispensers.

Lights

If every American home replaced just one light bulb with an ENERGY STAR qualified bulb, we would save enough energy to light more than 3 million homes for a year, more than $600 million in annual energy costs, and prevent greenhouse gases equivalent to the emissions of more than 800,000 cars.

ENERGY STAR qualified bulbs use about 75 percent less energy than standard incandescent bulbs and last up to 10 times longer. You save about $30 or more in electricity costs over each bulb’s lifetime. They also produce about 75 percent less heat, so they’re safer to operate and can cut energy costs associated with home cooling.

Home Integration

Have the ultimate control over the energy used in your home by computer integrating your appliances and house hold systems. Lights, heating and cooling, refrigeration, air flow ventilation, and water can all be managed more efficiently. By integrating or automating your home systems you can turn off sprinkler systems on a rainy day with out getting off the couch, window treatments can be adjusted to shade a room rather than running your AC, and all the lights in your home can be turned off with the touch of one button rather than running from room to room as you leave for the night. This not only saves money on your energy bill and benefits the environment but it is also the ultimate luxury…flexing your power never felt so good. Visit C² Custom Home Automation at www.c2cha.com for more information on home automation systems that will work for you.

Some information in this article courtesy of the US Environmental Protection Agency’s ENERGY STAR program.

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