When your utility bills keep going up and your appliances keep getting older, you know that your home is not as energy efficient as you would like it to be. It is to your best interests to maintain a “green” home that uses energy efficiently. Improving your rating will result in significant savings on monthly utility bills and reduce environmental pollution.
Newer appliances and equipment are designed to save energy. However, some products are more energy-efficient than others. Knowing how to interpret energy ratings will help you choose products that will save you more energy dollars in the long run.
Products with the Energy Star label exceed the energy consumption standards set by the federal government. They may also come with energy-saving features. Thus, an Energy Star product is energy efficient.
Refrigerators and freezers are labeled with the number of kilowatt-hours of electricity the appliance uses in one year of operation. A smaller number means the appliance is more efficient.
For central air conditioners, the SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating) measures its efficiency. The higher the number the more efficient it is. You want a unit with a SEER of 12 or more.
Room air conditioners are rated with EER (Energy Efficiency Rating). Look for a unit with higher EER.
Washing machines and dishwashers are rated with an EF or energy factor, the number of cycles that can be completed using 1 kilowatt-hour of electricity. You want a washing machine with an EF of at least 2.5, and a dishwasher with an EF of 0.52 or greater.
How To Improve Your Rating
Home improvement projects to enhance the efficiency rating of your home can save money on utility bills. Prioritize your projects and prepare a budget so that you will know where to begin.
You can undertake the following home improvement tasks to save energy at home:
1. Insulation: Reduce energy waste with proper insulation. About half of the average household’s energy demand is for heating and cooling. Stop air leakage and add new insulation to reduce your utility bill dramatically.
2. Install energy efficient windows and doors. Double or triple glazed windows can increase home efficiency at a more affordable cost than a major home renovation. Weather strip doors to eliminate drafts and create an air seal.
3. Heating, ventilation and cooling systems today are more efficient. Keep your HVAC system well maintained to improve efficiency. If it’s time to replace your heating or cooling unit, you will benefit from the newer systems that use less energy to do the same amount of heating or cooling.
4. Practice good energy conservation habits. Turn off lights when not needed. Lower the thermostat one or two degrees. These practices may not seem like much but they will help boost the energy efficiency rating of your home.