Elements of an Energy Efficient House
Designing and building
an energy-efficient home is an important step in building a new house or addition.
An energy efficient home is one that incorporates common sense design principles
that makes the building efficient in terms of - Reducing the need for expensive
heating & cooling appliances/equipment - Reducing appliance running costs - Reducing
energy related greenhouse gas emissions . Energy efficient homes have the following
elements:a high R-value, tightly sealed thermal envelope; controlled ventilation;
and lower than usual heating and cooling bills.
Most air leakage problems
are found in the areas listed below. Make sure your builder has identified these
potential trouble spots in your home building plan and that steps will be taken
to properly seal:
and other vented areas
staircases on outside or garage walls
wiring & plumbing
walls where they meet floors and rooflines
attics and attic doors
knee-walls and dormers
bathtubs or showers on outside walls
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Energy Star qualified products help protect the environment and save you money.
Shop for water heaters, windows and other products for your home.
The FreedomCAR and
Vehicle Technologies (FCVT) Program is developing more energy efficient and environmentally
friendly highway transportation technologies that will enable America to use less
petroleum. The long-term aim is to develop "leap frog" technologies that will
provide Americans with greater freedom of mobility and energy security, while
lowering costs and reducing impacts on the environment.
Shop for fuel efficient cars. Research hybrid, electric, diesel, and other
alternative fuel vehicles.
gas saving tips, and compare prices of cars with great gas mileage!
Efficient Rescource Center
less energy and save big on your fuel bills! Compare prices of cars with great
gas mileage and tax incentives!
Heating tips for your home
Cover all bare floors. Carpeting or rugs add to comfort and
heat retention, especially if there is little or no floor insulation.
Set your thermostat to 60 degrees if going on vacation during
the winter months, but dont turn it off.
Raise the temperature slowly to keep your bill lower.
Set your thermostat to 68-70 degrees during the day in the winter,
and 65-68 degrees at night to keep your home comfortable and
save on heating costs.
Keep your thermostat close to the outside temperature
its cheaper to keep your home at 70°F when its
50°F outside than when its 30°F.
Dont block air vents with drapes and furniture.
Get an energy-efficient heat pump and you could cut your heating
costs in half.
Change the filters in your heating system every month for optimum
Give your air compressor space to work efficiently. Never stack
anything against your HVAC or drape anything over it.
Heat your home with the sun's help. Leave window shades or blinds
open during the daytime. And consider using solar heat to supplement
your normal heating source.
Close the flue in your fireplace and install glass doors to
keep in the warm air.
Limit your use of portable heaters. Theyre great for "spot"
heating, but running a 1,500-watt heater 24/7 can be expensive.
Lower your thermostat every time you leave the house.
MAINTAIN YOUR HEATING SYSTEMS
Schedule service for your heating system. Find out what maintenance
is required to keep your heating system operating efficiently.
Furnaces: Replace your furnace filter once a month or as needed.
Find out more about maintaining your furnace or boiler. Wood-
and Pellet-Burning Heaters: Clean the flue vent regularly and
clean the inside of the appliance with a wire brush periodically
to ensure that your home is heated efficiently. Find other maintenance
recommendations for wood- and pellet-burning appliances.
FIND AND SEAL LEAKS
Seal the air leaks around utility cut-throughs for pipes ("plumbing
penetrations"), gaps around chimneys and recessed lights in
insulated ceilings, and unfinished spaces behind cupboards and
closets. Find out how to detect air leaks. Learn more about
air sealing new and existing homes. Add caulk or weatherstripping
to seal air leaks around leaky doors and windows. Find out how
to select and apply the appropriate caulk. Learn how to select
and apply weatherstripping.
TAKE ADVANTAGE OF HEAT FROM THE SUN
Photo of a window with the curtains open. Sun is shining into
the room and snow-covered mountains are visible outside. Copyright
iStockphoto.com/Giorgio Fochesato. Open curtains on your south-facing
windows during the day to allow sunlight to naturally heat your
home, and close them at night to reduce the chill you may feel
from cold windows.
COVER DRAFTY WINDOWS
Use a heavy-duty, clear plastic sheet on a frame or tape clear
plastic film to the inside of your window frames during the
cold winter months. Make sure the plastic is sealed tightly
to the frame to help reduce infiltration. Install tight-fitting,
insulating drapes or shades on windows that feel drafty after
weatherizing. Find out about other window treatments and coverings
that can improve energy efficiency.
Tips for your home
Switch your ceiling fan to turn in a counter-clockwise direction
In the summer; in the winter, run it at low speed, but clockwise.
Close your exterior doors and windows tightly when the AC is
on. Save even more by turning off kitchen and bath exhaust fans.
Change or clean your AC's air filters at least once a month
to keep your system running at peak performance.
Plant trees to provide shade on the sunny side of your home.
Make sure your AC has a rating or Seasonal Energy Efficiency
Ratio (SEER) of 15.
Make saving automatic: Set your thermostat fan switch to "auto"
to save energy. Leaving it in the "on" position keeps
air running constantly.
Block the sun from overheating your home! Inside, use shades,
blinds and drapes. Outside, use awnings, trees and shrubs.
Give your AC tune-up. Running an inefficient AC system can result
in high monthly bills. Plus, you could qualify for a rebate.
Open interior doors so that cooled air flows freely throughout
Repair leaky ducts to reduce heating and cooling costs.
Install attic insulation rated R-30 and sealing any attic leaks
to reduce high home cooling costs.
Check for household leaks to make sure air isn't escaping through
openings such as fireplace dampers, doors and windows.
Insulate your walls with injected foam insulation to help you
save energy by keeping hot outside air from seeping through
porous block walls check with your local building supply
company for details.
Decorate for a cooler home by hanging light-colored curtains
that allow light to enter a room while blocking some of the
suns rays, and light-colored paint to reflect heat.
Close unused air vents. If you have central AC you can close
air vent in rooms you're not using so you're not paying to cool
Use ceiling fans to cool off for less. Ceiling fans use no more
electricity than a standard light bulb. However, be sure to
turn fans off when you leave they only cool people, not
Install more ceiling fans. Because the breeze of a fan can make
you feel three to four degrees cooler, you can raise that thermostat
and still stay comfortable.
Raise the temperature on your thermostat by a few degrees to
save on your cooling costs.
Install a programmable thermostat to adjust your temperature
during the day.
from the US Dept of Energy