ENERGY SAVERS - Pat Wattam

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ENERGY SAVERS - Pat Wattam

ENERGYSAVERSBOOKLETTips on SavingsEnergy & Moneyat Home17736_bklet 1 10/23/08 7:37:05 PM


Because REALTORS ® care:As energy prices increase, it makes sense to consider the energyefficiencyof your home. If you are worried about energy costs,you’re not alone. Nearly half of all REALTORS®, members of theNational Association of REALTORS®, say this is an importantissue for their clients and 87% say that their clients’ concerns overhome energy efficiency will increase over the next year.Contents1 Save Energy and Money Today2 Your Home’s Energy Use4 Insulation and Sealing Air Leaks10 Heating and Cooling16 Water Heating18 Windows20 Lighting22 Appliances29 Home Office and Home Electronics31 Driving and Car Maintenance32 Renewable Energy33 ReferencesThis booklet shows you how easy it is to reduce your energyuse at home and on the road. The easy, practical solutions forsaving energy include tips you can use today, throughout yourhome—from the roof, walls, and insulation that enclose it tothe appliances and lights inside. Please take a few moments toread the valuable tips in this booklet to start saving energy andmoney today.To learn more about U.S. Department of Energy programsin energy efficiency and renewable energy, visit theOffice of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s web siteat www.eere.energy.gov17736_bklet 2 10/23/08 7:37:05 PM


Save Energy and Money TodayDid you know that the typical U.S.family spends about $1,900 a yearon home utility bills? Unfortunately, alarge portion of that energy is wasted.And each year, electricity generatedby fossil fuels for a single home putsmore carbon dioxide into the air thantwo average cars. And as for the road,transportation accounts for 67% of allU.S. oil consumption. The good newsis that there is a lot you can do to saveenergy and money at home and in yourcar. Start making small changes today(see sidebar). To cut your energy use upto 25%, see the Long-Term Savings Tipsthroughout this booklet.The key to achieving these savings inyour home is a whole-house energyefficiency plan. To take a whole-houseapproach, view your home as an energysystem with interdependent parts. Forexample, your heating system is not justa furnace—it’s a heat-deliverysystemthat starts at the furnace and deliversheat throughout your home using anetwork of ducts. Even a top-of-theline,energy-efficient furnace will wastea lot of fuel if the ducts, walls, attic,windows, and doors are not properlysealed and insulated. Taking a wholehouseapproach to saving energy ensuresthat dollars you invest to save energy arespent wisely.Energy-efficient improvements not onlymake your home more comfortable, theycan yield long-term financial rewards.Reduced utility bills more than make upfor the higher price of energy-efficientappliances and improvements over theirlifetimes. In addition, your home couldbring in a higher price when you sell.Tips to Save Energy TodayEasy low-cost and no-costways to save energy.• Install a programmable thermostatto keep your house comfortablywarm in the winter and comfortablycool in the summer.• Use compact fluorescent light bulbswith the ENERGY STAR ® label.• Air dry dishes instead of using yourdishwasher’s drying cycle.• Turn off your computer and monitorwhen not in use.• Plug home electronics, such as TVsand DVD players, into power strips;turn the power strips off when theequipment is not in use (TVs andDVDs in standby mode still useseveral watts of power).• Lower the thermostat on yourhot water heater to 120°F.• Take short showers instead ofbaths.• Wash only full loads of dishes andclothes.• Drive sensibly. Aggressive driving(speeding, rapid acceleration andbraking) wastes gasoline.• Look for the ENERGY STAR labelon home appliances and products.ENERGY STAR products meet strictefficiency guidelines set by theU.S. Department of Energy and theEnvironmental Protection Agency.• Visit www.energysavers.gov formore energy-saving ideas.1Save Energy and Money Today17736_bklet 1 10/23/08 7:37:06 PM


Your Home’s Energy Use2Your Home’s Energy UseThe first step to taking a wholehouseenergy efficiencyapproach is to find out which partsof your house use the most energy.A home energy audit will pinpointthose areas and suggest the mosteffective measures for cutting yourenergy costs. You can conduct asimple home energy audit yourself,contact your local utility, or call anindependent energy auditor for amore comprehensive examination.For more information about homeenergy audits, including free tools andcalculators, visit www.energysavers.gov or www.natresnet.org.Refrigeration8%Appliances9%Computers &Electronics9%Lighting11%Other8%WaterHeating12%SpaceHeating31%SpaceCooling12%How We Use Energy in Our HomesHeating accounts for the biggest chunk ofa typical utility bill.Source: 2007 Buildings Energy Data Book, Table 4.2.1.,2005 energy cost data.Energy Auditing Tips• Check the insulation levels in yourattic, exterior and basement walls,ceilings, floors, and crawl spaces.Visit www.energysavers.gov forinstructions on checking yourinsulation levels.• Check for holes or cracks aroundyour walls, ceilings, windows,doors, light and plumbing fixtures,switches, and electrical outletsthat can leak air into or out of yourhome.• Check for open fireplace dampers.• Make sure your appliances and heatingand cooling systems are properlymaintained. Check your owner’smanuals for the recommendedmaintenance.• Study your family’s lighting needsand use patterns, paying specialattention to high-use areas such asthe living room, kitchen, and outsidelighting. Look for ways to use lightingcontrols—like occupancy sensors,dimmers, or timers—to reduce lightingenergy use, and replace standard(incandescent) light bulbs and fixtureswith compact or standard fluorescentlamps.Formulating Your PlanAfter you have identified where yourhome is losing energy, assign prioritiesby asking yourself a few importantquestions:• How much money do you spend onenergy?• Where are your greatest energy losses?• How long will it take for aninvestment in energy efficiency to payfor itself in energy cost savings?• Do the energy-saving measuresprovide additional benefits thatare important to you (for example,increased comfort from installingdouble-paned, efficient windows)?• How long do you plan to own yourcurrent home?• Can you do the job yourself orwill you need to hire a contractor?• What is your budget and howmuch time do you have to spend onmaintenance and repair?17736_bklet 2 10/23/08 7:37:06 PM


Once you assign priorities to your energyneeds, you can form a whole houseefficiency plan. Your plan will provideyou with a strategy for making smartpurchases and home improvements thatmaximize energy efficiency and save themost money.Tips for Finding a Contractor• Ask neighbors and friends forrecommendations• Look in the YellowPages• Focus on local companies• Look for licensed, insured contractors• Get three bids with details in writing• Ask about previous experience• Check references• Check with the Better Business BureauAnother option is to get the advice ofa professional. Many utilities conductenergy audits for free or for a smallcharge. For a fee, a professionalcontractor will analyze how wellyour home’s energy systems worktogether and compare the analysis toyour utility bills. He or she will use avariety of equipment such as blowerdoors, infrared cameras, and surfacethermometers to find leaks and drafts.After gathering information about yourhome, the contractor or auditor will giveyou a list of recommendations for costeffectiveenergy improvementsand enhanced comfort and safety.A reputable contractor can alsocalculate the return on your investmentin high-efficiency equipmentcompared with standard equipment.CoolHeat Loss from a HouseA picture is worth...in this case, lost heating dollars. This thermal photograph shows heat leaking froma house during those expensive winter heating months. The white, yellow, and red colors show heatescaping. The red represents the area of the greatest heat loss.HotThermogram/photograph copyright 1997, Infraspection Institute, Inc., Shelburne, VT3Your Home’s Energy Use17736_bklet 3 10/23/08 7:37:07 PM


Insulation and Sealing Air LeaksChecking your home’s insulation isone of the fastest and most costeffectiveways to use a whole-houseapproach to reduce energy waste andmake the most of your energy dollars.A good insulating system includesa combination of products andconstruction techniques that protecta home from outside hot or coldtemperatures, protect it against airleaks, and control moisture. You canincrease the comfort of your homewhile reducing your heating andcooling needs by investing in properinsulation and sealing air leaks.InsulationFirst, check the insulation in your attic,ceilings, exterior and basement walls,floors, and crawl spaces to see if it meetsthe levels recommended for your area.Insulation is measured in R-values—thehigher the R-value, the better yourwalls and roof will resist the transferof heat. DOE recommends ranges ofR-values based on local heating andcooling costs and climate conditions indifferent areas of the nation. The mapand chart on pages 6 and 7 show theDOE recommendations for your area.State and local code minimum insulationrequirements may be less than the DOErecommendations, which are based onAtticWallsInsulation and Sealing Air Leaks4Crawl spaceFloorsBasementWhere to InsulateAdding insulation in the areas shown above may be the best way to improve your home’s energy efficiency.Insulate either the attic floor or under the roof. Check with a contractor about crawl space or basementinsulation.17736_bklet 4 10/23/08 7:37:07 PM


cost effectiveness. For more customizedinsulation recommendations, visit oursite, www.energysavers.gov, look forInsulation and check out the Zip CodeInsulation Calculator. This tool providesinsulation levels for your new or existinghome based on your zip code and otherbasic information about your home.Although insulation can be made froma variety of materials, it usually comesin four types; each type has differentcharacteristics.Rolls and batts—or blankets—areflexible products made from mineralfibers, such as fiberglass and rock wool.They are available in widths suited tostandard spacings of wall studs and atticor floor joists: 2x4 walls can hold R-13or R-15 batts; 2x6 walls can have R-19or R-21 products.Loose-fill insulation—usually madeof fiberglass, rock wool, or cellulose inthe form of loose fibers or fiber pellets,it should be blown into spaces usingspecial pneumatic equipment. Theblown-in material conforms readily tobuilding cavities and attics. Therefore,loose-fill insulation is well suited forplaces where it is difficult to install othertypes of insulation.Rigid foam insulation—foam insulationtypically is more expensive than fiberinsulation. But it’s veryeffective inbuildings with space limitations andwhere higher R-values are needed. Foaminsulation R-values range from R-4 toR-6.5 per inch of thickness, which is up to2 times greater than most other insulatingmaterials of the same thickness.Foam-in-place insulation—this typecan be blown into walls and reduces airleakage, if blown into cracks, such asaround window and door frames.Should I Insulate My Home?Insulate your home when:• You have an older home andhaven’t added insulation. Only 20%of homes built before 1980 arewell insulated.• You are uncomfortably cold in thewinter or hot in the summer—adding insulation creates a moreuniform temperature and increasescomfort.• You build a new home, addition, orinstall new siding or roofing.• You pay high energy bills.• You are bothered by noise fromoutside—insulation muffles sound.Insulation Tips• Consider factors such as yourclimate, building design, and budgetwhen selecting insulation R-valuesfor your home.• Use higher density insulation onexterior walls, such as rigid foamboards, in cathedral ceilings and onexterior walls.• Ventilation helps with moisturecontrol and reducing summercooling bills. Attic vents can beinstalled along the entire ceilingcavity to help ensure proper airflowfrom the soffit to the attic to make ahome more comfortable and energyefficient. Do not ventilate yourattic if you have insulation on theunderside of the roof. Check with aqualified contractor.• Recessed light fixtures can be amajor source of heat loss, but youneed to be careful how close youplace insulation next to a fixtureunless it is marked IC—designedfor direct insulation contact. Checkyour local building codes forrecommendations. See Lightingfor more about recessed cans.5Insulation and Sealing Air Leaks17736_bklet 5 10/23/08 7:37:07 PM


• As specified on the productpackaging, follow the productinstructions on installation and wearthe proper protective gear wheninstalling insulation.$ Long-Term Savings Tip• One of the most cost-effectiveways to make your home morecomfortable year-round is to addinsulation to your attic.Adding insulation to the attic isrelatively easy and very cost effective.To find out if you have enough atticinsulation, measure the thickness ofthe insulation. If it is less than R-30(11 inches of fiber glass or rock woolor 8 inches of cellulose), you couldprobably benefit by adding more. MostU.S. homes should have between R-30and R-60 insulation in the attic. Don’tforget the attic trap or access door.If your attic has enough insulation andyour home still feels drafty and cold inthe winter or too warm in the summer,chances are you need to add insulation tothe exterior walls as well. This is a moreexpensive measure that usually requiresa contractor, but it may be worth the costif you live in a very hot or cold climate.If you replace the exterior siding onyour home, you should consider addinginsulation at the same time.You may also need to add insulationto your crawl space or basement. Checkwith a professional contractor.U.S. Department of Energy Recommended* Total R-Valuesfor New Wood-Framed Houses4676545Insulation and Sealing Air Leaks63All of Alaska in Zone 7 except for thefollowing boroughs in Zone 8:BethelNorthwest ArcticDellinghamSoutheast FairbanksFairbanks N. Star Wade HamptonNomeYukon-KoyukukNorth Slope2 3* These recommendations are cost-effective levels of insulation based on the best available informationon local fuel and materials costs and weather conditions. Consequently, the levels may differ fromcurrent local building codes.2Zone 1 includes Hawaii,Guam, Puerto Rico and theVirgin Islands2How Much InsulationDoes My Home Need?For insulation recommendationstailored to your home, visit the DOE ZipCode Insulation Calculator at www.ornl.gov/~roofs/zip/ziphome.html.117736_bklet 6 10/23/08 7:37:09 PM


New ConstructionFor new homes in most climates, youwill save money and energy if youinstall a combination of cavity insulationand insulative sheathing. Cavityinsulation can be installed at levelsup to R-15 in a 2 in. x 4 in. wall andup to R-21 in a 2 in. x 6 in. wall. Theinsulative sheathing, used in addition tothis cavity insulation, helps to reducethe energy that would otherwise belost through the wood frame. Thetable below shows the recommendedcombinations. For example, in Zone5, you could use either a 2x4 wall withR-13 or a 2x6 wall with R-21. For eitherof those two walls, you should also usean inch of insulative sheathing that hasan R-value of R-5 or R-6.Today, new products are on themarket that provide both insulationand structural support and should beconsidered for new home constructionor additions. Structural insulated panels,known as SIPs, and masonry productslike insulating concrete forms areamong these. Some homebuilders areeven using an old technique borrowedfrom the pioneers: building walls usingstraw bales. Check online at www.energysavers.gov for more informationon structural insulation.Radiant barriers (in hot climates),reflective insulation, and foundationinsulation should all be considered fornew home construction. Check withyour contractor for more informationabout these options.ZoneGasHeat PumpFuel OilElectric FurnaceAtticCathedral Ceiling_____Wall_____CavityInsulationSheathingFloor1 R30 to R49 R22 to R38 R13 to R15 None R132 R30 to R60 R22 to R38 R13 to R15 None R132 R30 to R60 R22 to R38 R13 to R15 None R19 - R253 R30 to R60 R22 to R38 R13 to R15 None R253 R30 to R60 R22 to R38 R13 to R15 R2.5 to R5 R254 R38 to R60 R30 to R38 R13 to R15 R2.5 to R6 R25 - R304 R38 to R60 R30 to R38 R13 to R15 R5 to R6 R25 - R305 R38 to R60 R30 to R38 R13 to R15 R2.5 to R6 R25 - R305 R38 to R60 R30 to R60 R13 to R21 R5 to R6 R25 - R306 R49 to R60 R30 to R60 R13 to R21 R5 to R6 R25 - R307 R49 to R60 R30 to R60 R13 to R21 R5 to R6 R25 - R308 R49 to R60 R30 to R60 R13 to R21 R5 to R6 R25 - R307Insulation and Sealing Air Leaks17736_bklet 7 10/23/08 7:37:09 PM


Insulation and Sealing Air Leaks8Sources of Air Leaks in Your HomeAreas that leak air into and out of your home cost you lots of money. Check the areas listed below.1 Dropped ceiling 5 Water and furnace flues 9 Window frames2 Recessed light 6 All ducts 10 Electrical outlets and switches3 Attic entrance 7 Door frames 11 Plumbing and utility access4 Sill plates 8 Chimney flashingSealing Air LeaksWarm air leaking into your homeduring the summer and out of yourhome during the winter can waste alot of your energy dollars. One of thequickest dollar-saving tasks you cando is caulk, seal, and weatherstrip allseams, cracks, and openings to theoutside. You can save on your heatingand cooling bill by reducing the airleaks in your home.Tips for Sealing Air Leaks• First, test your home for air tightness.On a windy day, carefully hold a litincense stick or a smoke pen nextto your windows, doors, electricalboxes, plumbing fixtures, electricaloutlets, ceiling fixtures, attic hatches,and other locations where there is apossible air path to the outside. If thesmoke stream travels horizontally,youhave located an air leak that may needcaulking, sealing, or weatherstripping.17736_bklet 8 10/23/08 7:37:10 PM


• Caulk and weatherstrip doors andwindows that leak air.• Caulk and seal air leaks whereplumbing, ducting, or electricalwiring penetrates through walls,floors, ceilings, and soffits overcabinets.• Install foam gaskets behind outletand switch plates on walls.• Look for dirty spots in yourinsulation, which often indicateholes where air leaks into and outof your house. You can seal the holeswith low-expansion spray foam madefor this purpose.• Look for dirty spots on your ceilingpaint and carpet, which may indicateair leaks at interior wall/ceiling jointsand wall/floor joists. These joints canbe caulked.• Install storm windows over single-panewindows or replace them with moreefficient windows, such as doublepane.See Windows on page 18 formore information.• When the fireplace is not in use, keepthe flue damper tightly closed. Achimney is designed specifically forsmoke to escape, so until you close it,warm air escapes—24 hours a day!• For new construction, reduce exteriorwall leaks by installing house wrap,taping the joints of exterior sheathing,and comprehensively caulking andsealing the exterior walls.• Use foam sealant around larger gapsaround windows, baseboards, andother places where warm air may beleaking out.• Kitchen exhaust fan covers cankeep air from leaking in when theexhaust fan is not in use. The coverstypically attach via magnets for ease ofreplacement.Fans and Vents4%Doors11%Windows10%PlumbingPenetrations13%Fireplace14%Electric Outlets2%Floors, Walls,and Ceiling31%Ducts15%How Does the Air Escape?Air infiltrates into and out of your home throughevery hole and crack. About one-third of thisair infiltrates through openings in your ceilings,walls, and floors.• Replacing existing door bottomsand thresholds with ones that havepliable sealing gaskets is a great wayto eliminate conditioned air leakingout from underneath the doors.• Fireplace flues are made from metal,and over time repeated heating andcooling can cause the metal to warpor break, creating a channel for hotor cold air loss. Inflatable chimneyballoons are designed to fit beneathyour fireplace flue during periodsof non-use. They are made fromseveral layers of durable plastic andcan be removed easily and reusedhundreds of times. Should youforget to remove the balloon beforemaking a fire, the balloon willautomatically deflate within secondsof coming into contact with heat.9Insulation and Sealing Air Leaks17736_bklet 9 10/23/08 7:37:11 PM


Heating and Cooling10Heating and CoolingHeating and cooling your homeuses more energy and drainsmore energy dollars than any othersystem in your home. Typically, 46%of your utility bill goes for heatingand cooling. What’s more, heatingand cooling systems in the UnitedStates together emit 150 million tonsof carbon dioxide into the atmosphereeach year, adding to global climatechange. They also generate about12% of the nation’s sulfur dioxide and4% of the nitrogen oxides, the chiefingredients in acid rain.No matter what kind of heating,ventilation, and air-conditioningsystem you have in your house, youcan save money and increase yourcomfort by properly maintainingand upgrading your equipment. Butremember, an energy-efficient furnacealone will not have as great an impacton your energy bills as using thewhole-house approach. By combiningproper equipment maintenance andupgrades with appropriate insulation,air sealing, and thermostat settings,you can cut your energy use forheating and cooling, and reduceenvironmental emissions, from 20%to 50%.Heating and Cooling Tips• Set your thermostat as low as iscomfortable in the winter andas high as is comfortable in thesummer.• Clean or replace filters on furnacesonce a month or as needed.• Clean warm-air registers, baseboardheaters, and radiators as needed;make sure they’re not blocked byfurniture, carpeting, or drapes.• Bleed trapped air from hot-waterradiators once or twice a season;if in doubt about how to performthis task, call a professional.• Place heat-resistant radiatorreflectors between exterior wallsand the radiators.• Turn off kitchen, bath, and otherexhaust fans within 20 minutes afteryou are done cooking or bathing;when replacing exhaust fans,consider installing high-efficiency,low-noise models.• During the heating season, keep thedraperies and shades on your southfacingwindows open during the dayto allow the sunlight to enter yourhome and closed at night to reducethe chill you may feel from coldwindows.• During the cooling season, keep thewindow coverings closed during theday to prevent solar gain.$ Long-Term Savings Tips• Select energy-efficient productswhen you buy new heating andcooling equipment. Your contractorshould be able to give you energyfact sheets for different types,models, and designs to help youOther9%Electricity30%FuelOil7%No Heating System1%Natural Gas53%Household Heating SystemsAlthough several different types of fuels areavailable to heat our homes, more than half of ususe natural gas.17736_bklet 10 10/23/08 7:37:11 PM


compare energy usage. For furnaces,look for high Annual Fuel UtilizationEfficiency (AFUE) ratings. Thenational minimum is 78% AFUE, butthere are ENERGY STAR models onthe market that exceed 90% AFUE.• For air conditioners, look for a highSeasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio(SEER). The current minimum is 13SEER for central air conditioners.ENERGY STAR models are 14SEER or more.Air DuctsOne of the most important systems inyour home, though it’s hidden beneathyour feet and over your head, may bewasting a lot of your energy dollars.Your home’s duct system, a branchingnetwork of tubes in the walls, floors, andceilings, carries the air from your home’sfurnace and central air conditioner toeach room. Ducts are made of sheetmetal, fiberglass, or other materials.Unfortunately, many duct systemsare poorly insulated or not insulatedproperly. Ducts that leak heated airinto unheated spaces can add hundredsof dollars a year to your heating andcooling bills. Insulating ducts that arein unconditioned spaces is usually verycost effective. If you are buying a newduct system, consider one that comeswith insulation already installed.Sealing your ducts to prevent leaks iseven more important if the ducts arelocated in an unconditioned area suchas an attic or vented crawl space. Ifthe supply ducts are leaking, heatedor cooled air can be forced out ofunsealed joints and lost. In addition,unconditioned air can be drawn intoreturn ducts through unsealed joints.In the summer, hot attic air can bedrawn in, increasing the load on the airconditioner. In the winter, your furnacewill have to work longer to keep yourhouse comfortable. Either way, yourenergy losses cost you money.Although minor duct repairs areeasy to make, ducts in unconditionedspaces should be sealed and insulatedby qualified professionals usingappropriate sealing materials. Hereare a few simple tips to help withminor duct repairs.Duct Tips• Check your ducts for air leaks.First, look for sections that shouldbe joined but have separated andthen look for obvious holes.• If you use tape to seal your ducts,avoid cloth-backed, rubber adhesiveduct tape, which tends to failquickly. Researchers recommendother products to seal ducts: mastic,butyl tape, foil tape, or other heatapprovedtapes. Look for tape withthe Underwriters Laboratories logo.• Remember that insulating ductsin the basement will make thebasement colder. If both theducts and the basement walls areuninsulated, consider insulatingboth. Water pipes and drains inunconditioned spaces could freezeand burst in the space if the heatducts are fully insulated, becausethere would be no heat source toprevent the space from freezing incold weather. However, using anelectric heating tape wrap on thepipes can prevent this. Check with aprofessional contractor.11Heating and Cooling17736_bklet 11 10/23/08 7:37:11 PM


Ducts—Out-of-Sight, Out-of-MindThe unsealed ducts in your attic and crawlspaces lose air, and uninsulated ducts lose heat, wastingenergy and money.Heating and Cooling12• If your basement has been convertedto a living area, hire a professionalto install both supply and returnregisters in the basement rooms.• Be sure a well-sealed vaporbarrier exists on the outside ofthe insulation on cooling ducts toprevent moisture buildup.• When doing ductwork, be sure toget professional help. ChangesInstall a Carbon Monoxide DetectorCarbon monoxide (CO) detectors arehighly recommended in homes withfuel-burning appliances, such as naturalgas furnaces, stoves, ovens, and waterheaters, and fuel-burning space heaters.An alarm signals homeowners if COreaches potentially dangerous levels.and repairs to a duct system shouldalways be performed by a qualifiedprofessional.• Ducts that don’t work properly cancreate serious, life-threatening carbonmonoxide (CO) problems in thehome. Install a CO monitor to alertyou to harmful CO levels if you havea fuel-burning furnace, stove or otherappliance, or an attached garage.$ Long-Term Savings Tip• You can lose up to 60% of your heatedair before it reaches the register ifyour ducts aren’t insulated and travelthrough unheated spaces such as theattic or crawlspace. Get a qualifiedprofessional to help you insulateand repair ducts.17736_bklet 12 10/23/08 7:37:12 PM


Heat PumpsHeat pumps are the most efficient formof electric heating in moderate climates,providing three times more heating thanthe equivalent amount of energy theyconsume in electricity. There are threetypes of heat pumps: air-to-air, watersource, and ground source. They collectheat from the air, water, or groundoutside your home and concentrate it foruse inside. Heat pumps do double dutyas a central air conditioner. They canalso cool your home by collecting theheat inside your house and effectivelypumping it outside. A heat pump cantrim the amount of electricity you use forheating by as much as 30% to 40%.Heat Pump Tips• Do not set back the heat pump’sthermostat manually if it causes theelectric resistance heating to come on.This type of heating, which is oftenused as a backup to the heat pump,is more expensive.• Clean or change filters once a monthor as needed, and maintain thesystem according to manufacturer’sinstructions.$ Long-Term Savings Tip• If you use electricity to heat yourhome and live in a moderate climate,consider installing an energy- efficientheat pump system.Solar Heating and CoolingUsing passive solar design techniques toheat and cool your home can beboth environmentally friendly andcost effective. Passive solar heatingtechniques include placing larger,insulated windows on south-facing wallsand locating thermal mass, such as aconcrete slab floor or a heat-absorbingwall, close to the windows. In manycases, your heating costs could be morethan 50% lower than the cost of heatingthe same house that does not includepassive solar design.Passive solar design can also help reduceyour cooling costs. Passive solar coolingtechniques include carefully designedoverhangs, windows with reflectivecoatings, and reflective coatings onexterior walls and the roof.A passive solar house requires carefuldesign and site orientation, whichdepend on the local climate. So, if youare considering passive solar design fornew construction or a major remodeling,you should consult an architect familiarwith passive solar techniques.Solar Tips• Keep all south-facing glass clean.• Make sure that objects do not blockthe sunlight shining on concrete slabfloors or heat-absorbing walls.Natural Gas and Oil HeatingIf you plan to buy a new heating system,ask your local utility or state energyoffice for information about the latesttechnologies available to consumers.They can advise you about moreefficient systems on the market today.For example, many newer modelsincorporate designs for burners andheat exchangers that result in higherefficiencies during operation and reduceheat loss when the equipment is off.Consider a sealed combustion furnace;they are both safer and more efficient.Check the shopping guide in the backof this booklet for additional informationon how to understand heating systemratings.$ Long-Term Savings Tip• Install a new energy-efficient furnaceto save money over the long term.Look for the ENERGY STAR andEnergyGuide labels.13Heating and Cooling17736_bklet 13 10/23/08 7:37:12 PM


Hot Winter TipUsing a programmablethermostat, you can automaticallyturn down your heat at night orwhen you are not at home.Cool Summer TipIn the summer, you can savemoney by automatically turningyour air-conditioning up at night orwhen you are at work.Heating and Cooling14Programmable ThermostatsYou can save as much as 10% a yearon your heating and cooling bills bysimply turning your thermostat back10% to 15% for 8 hours. You can dothis automatically by installing anautomatic setback or programmablethermostat.Using a programmable thermostat, youcan adjust the times you turn on theheating or air-conditioning accordingto a preset schedule. As a result, theequipment doesn’t operate as muchwhen you are asleep or when thehouse, or a part of it, is not occupied.Programmable thermostats can storeand repeat multiple daily settings(six or more temperature settings aday) that you can manually overridewithout affecting the rest of the dailyor weekly program. When shopping fora programmable thermostat, be sure tolook for the ENERGY STAR label.Air ConditionersBuying a bigger room air-conditioningunit won’t necessarily make you feelmore comfortable during the hotsummer months. In fact, a room airconditioner that’s too big for the areait is supposed to cool will perform lessefficiently and less effectively than asmaller, properly sized unit.Sizing is equally important for centralair-conditioning systems, which need tobe sized by professionals. If you havea central air system in your home, setthe fan to shut off at the same time asthe cooling unit (compressor). In otherwords, don’t use the system’s central fanto provide circulation, but instead usecirculating fans in individual rooms.Cooling Tips• Whole-house fans help cool your homeby pulling cool air through the houseand exhausting warm air through theattic.• Set your thermostat as high ascomfortably possible in the summer.The smaller the difference between theindoor and outdoor temperatures, thelower your overall cooling bill will be.• Avoid setting your thermostat at acolder setting than normal when youturn on your air conditioner. It willnot cool your home any faster andcould result in excessive cooling and,therefore, unnecessaryexpense.17736_bklet 14 10/23/08 7:37:13 PM


Buildings and Trees—Natural PartnersDeciduous trees planted on the south and west sides will help keep your house cool in the summer andallow sun to shine in the windows in the winter.• Consider using an interior fan inconjunction with your window airconditioner to spread the cooled airmore effectively through your homewithout greatly increasing your poweruse.• Avoid placing lamps or TV sets nearyour air-conditioning thermostat.The thermostat senses heat fromthese appliances, which can causethe air conditioner to run longer thannecessary.• Plant trees or shrubs to shade airconditioning units but not to block theairflow. Place your room air conditioneron the north side of the house. A unitoperating in the shade uses as much as10% less electricitythan the same oneoperating in the sun.$ Long-Term Savings Tips• If your air conditioner is old, considerpurchasing a new, energy-efficientmodel. You could save up to 50% onyour utility bill for cooling. Look forthe ENERGY STAR and EnergyGuidelabels. The shopping guide in the backof this booklet will help you find theright size unit for your needs.• Consider installing a wholehousefan or evaporative cooler ifappropriate for your climate. Checkout www.energysavers.gov for moreinformation on efficient cooling.LandscapingLandscaping is a natural and beautifulway to keep your home cool insummer and reduce your energy bills.A well-placed tree, shrub, or vinecan deliver effective shade, act as awindbreak, and reduce your energybills. Carefully positioned trees cansave up to 25% of the energy a typicalhousehold uses for energy. Researchshows that summer daytime airtemperatures can be 3° to 6° coolerin tree-shaded neighborhoods than intreeless areas.A lattice or trellis with climbingvines, or a planter box with trailingvines, shades the home’s perimeterwhile admitting cooling breezes to theshaded area.15Heating and Cooling17736_bklet 15 10/23/08 7:37:14 PM


Water HeatingWater heating is the third largestenergy expense in your home.It typically accounts for about13%–17% of your utility bill.There are four ways to cut your waterheating bills: use less hot water, turndown the thermostat on your waterheater, insulate your water heater, orbuy a new, more efficient model.Water Heating16Water Heating Tips• Install aerating, low-flowfaucets and showerheads.• Repair leakyfaucets promptly;a leakyfaucet wastes gallons ofwater in a short period of time.• Lower the thermostat on your waterheater; water heaters sometimescome from the factorywith hightemperature settings, but a settingof 120°F provides comfortable hotwater for most uses.• Insulate your electric hot-waterstorage tank, but be careful not tocover the thermostat. Follow themanufacturer’s recommendations.• Insulate your natural gas or oilhot-water storage tank, but becareful not to cover the waterheater’s top, bottom, thermostat,or burner compartment. Follow themanufacturer’s recommendations;when in doubt, get professional help.• Insulate the first 6 feet of the hot andcold water pipes connected to thewater heater.• If you are in the market for a newdishwasher or clothes washer,consider buying an efficient,water-saving ENERGY STARmodel to reduce hot water use. SeeAppliances on page 22 for moreinformation.Keep Your Energy Bills Out of Hot WaterInsulate your water heater to save energy and money.• Install heat traps on the hot and coldpipes at the water heater to preventheat loss. Some new water heatershave built-in heat traps.• Drain a quart of water from yourwater tank every3 months to removesediment that impedes heat transferand lowers the efficiency of yourheater. The type of water tank youhave determines the steps to take, sofollow the manufacturer’s advice.17736_bklet 16 10/23/08 7:37:15 PM


• Although most water heaters last10–15 years, it’s best to start shoppingnow for a new one if yours is morethan 7 years old. Doing some researchbefore your heater fails will enableyou to select one that mostappropriately meets your needs.$ Long-Term Savings Tips• Buy a new energy-efficient waterheater. While it may cost more initiallythan a standard water heater, theenergy savings will continue duringthe lifetime of the appliance. Look forthe ENERGY STAR and EnergyGuidelabels.• Look for the ENERGY STAR label onefficient water heaters in the followingcategories: high efficiency gas noncondensing,gas condensing, electricheat pump, gas tankless, and solar.• Consider installing a drain water wasteheat recovery system. A recent DOEstudy showed energy savings of 25%to about 30% for water heating usingsuch a system.• Consider natural gas on-demand ortankless water heaters. Researchershave found savings can be up to 30%compared with a standard natural gasstorage tank water heater.• Heat pump water heaters can be verycost-effective in some areas.Solar Water HeatersIf you heat water with electricity,have high electric rates, and have anunshaded, south-facing location (suchas a roof) on your property, considerinstalling an ENERGY STAR qualifiedsolar water heater. The solar units areenvironmentally friendly and can now beinstalled on your roof to blend with thearchitecture of your house.Source: ACEEEAverage Hot Water UseActivityGallons per UseClothes washing 32Showering 20Bathing 20Automatic12dishwashingPreparing food 5Hand dishwashing 4More than 1.5 million homes andbusinesses in the United Stateshave invested in solar water heatingsystems, and surveys indicate thatmore than 94% of these customersconsider the systems a goodinvestment. Solar water heatingsystems are also good for theenvironment. Solar water heatersavoid the greenhouse gas emissionsassociated with electricity production.During a 20-year period, one solarwater heater can avoid more than 50tons of carbon dioxide emissions.When shopping for a solar waterheater, look for the ENERGY STARlabel and for systems certified bythe Solar Rating and CertificationCorporation or the Florida SolarEnergy Center.$ Long-Term Savings Tip• Visit the Database of State Incentivesfor Renewables & Efficiency Website (www.dsireusa.org) to see ifyou might qualify for tax creditsor rebates for buying a solar waterheater.17Water Heating17736_bklet 17 10/23/08 7:37:15 PM


Windows18WindowsWindows can be oneof your home’s mostattractive features.Windows provide views,daylighting, ventilation, andsolar heating in the winter.Unfortunately, they can alsoaccount for 10% to 25% ofyour heating bill. During thesummer, your air conditionermust work harder to coolhot air from sunny windows.Install ENERGY STARwindows and use curtainsand shade to give your airconditioner and energy billa break. If you live in theSun Belt, look into low-ewindows, which can cut thecooling load by 10% to 15%.If your home has singlepanewindows, as many U.S. homesdo, consider replacing them withnew double-pane windows withhigh-performance glass (e.g., low-eor spectrally selective). In colderclimates, select windows that are gasfilled with low emissivity(low-e) coatings on the glass to reduceheat loss. In warmer climates, selectwindows with spectrally selectivecoatings to reduce heat gain. If you arebuilding a new home, you can offsetsome of the cost of installing moreefficient windows because theyallow you to buy smaller, lessexpensive heating and coolingequipment.If you decide not to replace yourwindows, the simpler, less costlymeasures listed here can improve theirperformance.02477413mCold-Climate Windows Keep Heat InDouble-pane windows with low-e coating on the glass reflectheat back into the room during the winter months.Cold-Climate Window Tips• You can use a heavy-duty, clear plasticsheet on a frame or tape clear plasticfilm to the inside of your windowframes during the cold winter months.Remember, the plastic must be sealedtightly to the frame to help reduceinfiltration.• Install tight-fitting, insulating windowshades on windows that feel draftyafter weatherizing.• Close your curtains and shades atnight; open them during the day.• Keep windows on the south side of yourhouse clean to let in the winter sun.• Install exterior or interior stormwindows; storm windows can reduceheat loss through the windows by 25%to 50%. Storm windows should haveweatherstripping at all movable joints;be made of strong, durable materials;and have interlocking or overlappingjoints. Low-e storm windows saveeven more energy.17736_bklet 18 10/23/08 7:37:16 PM


Efficient windows may have twoor more panes of glass, warmedgespacers between the windowpanes, improved framing materials,and low-e coating(s), which aremicroscopically thin coatingsthat help keep heat inside duringthe winter and outside during thesummer.Warm-Climate Windows Keep Heat OutIn the summertime, the sun shining through yourwindows heats up the room. Windows with low-ecoatings on the glass reflect some of the sunlight,keeping your rooms cooler.• Repair and weatherize your currentstorm windows, if necessary.Warm-Climate Window Tips• Install white window shades, drapes,or blinds to reflect heat away fromthe house.• Close curtains on south- and westfacingwindows during the day.• Install awnings on south- and westfacingwindows.• Apply sun-control or other reflectivefilms on south-facing windows toreduce solar gain.$ Long-Term Savings Tip• Installing, high-performance windowswill improve your home’s energyperformance. While it may take manyyears for new windows to pay off inenergy savings, the benefits of addedcomfort and improved aesthetics andfunctionality may make the investmentworth it to you. Many windowtechnologies are available that areworth considering.Shopping Tips for Windows• Look for the ENERGY STARlabel.• Check with local utilities to seewhat rebates or other financialincentives are available for windowreplacement.• High-performance windows haveat least two panes of glass and alow-e (low emissivity) coating.• Remember, the lower the U-factor,the better the insulation. In colderclimates, focus on finding a lowU-factor.• Low solar heat gain coefficients(SHGCs) reduce heat gain. Inwarm climates, look for a lowSHGC.• In temperate climates with bothheating and cooling seasons, selectwindows with both low U-factorsand low SHGCs to maximizeenergy savings.• Look for whole-unit U-factorsand SHGCs, rather than centerof-glass,or COG, U-factors andSHGCs. Whole-unit numbersmore accurately reflect the energyperformance of the entire product.• Have your windows installedby trained professionals. Besure they’re installed accordingto manufacturer’s instructions;otherwise, your warranty may bevoid.19Windows17736_bklet 19 10/23/08 7:37:16 PM


LightingMaking improvements to yourlighting is one of the fastestways to cut your energy bills. Anaverage household dedicates 10% ofits energy budget to lighting. Usingnew lighting technologies can reducelighting energy use in your home by50% to 75%. Advances in lightingcontrols offer further energy savingsby reducing the amount of time lightsare on but not being used.Compact Fluorescent Bulbs—A Bright Idea!ENERGY STAR qualified lighting provides bright,warm light and uses about 75% less energythan standard lighting, produces 75% less heat,and lasts up to 10 times longer.than incandescent bulbs initially, overtheir lifetime they are cheaper becauseof how little electricity they use. CFLlighting fixtures are now availablethat are compatible with dimmers andoperate like incandescent fixtures.Indoor Lighting Tips• Be sure to buyENERGY STARqualified CFLs.- They will save you about $30 or morein electricitycosts over each bulb’slifetime.- Producing about 75% less heat, theyare safer to operate and can cut homecooling costs.- Visit www.energystar.gov to find theright light bulbs for your fixtures. Theyare available in sizes and shapes to fitin almost any fixture.- They provide the greatest savings infixtures that are on for a long timeeach day. The best fixtures to usequalified CFLs in are usually found inyour family and living rooms, kitchen,dining room, bedrooms, and outdoors.• Consider purchasing ENERGY STARqualified fixtures. They are available inmany styles including table, desk andfloor lamps — and hard-wired optionsfor front porches, dining rooms,bathroom vanityfixtures, and more.Lighting20Indoor LightingUse linear fluorescent tubes and energyefficient compact fluorescent lightbulbs (CFLs) in fixtures throughoutyour home to provide high-quality andhigh-efficiency lighting. Fluorescentlamps are much more efficient thanincandescent (standard) bulbs and lastabout 6 to 12 times longer.Today’s CFLs offer brightness andcolor rendition that is comparable toincandescent bulbs. Although linearfluorescent and CFLs cost a bit moreCFLs contain a very small amount of mercury sealedwithin the glass tubing. Many retailers are offeringfree recycling services for consumers at their stores.17736_bklet 20 10/23/08 7:37:18 PM


Outdoor LightingMany homeowners use outdoorlighting for decoration and security.When shopping for outdoor lights,you will find a variety of products,from low-voltage pathway lightingto motion-detector floodlights. Lightemitting diodes, or LEDs, thrive inoutdoor environments because oftheir durability and performance incold weather. Look for ENERGYSTAR LED products such as pathwaylights, step lights, and porch lights foroutdoor use.ENERGY STAR qualified CFLs are available insizes and shapes to fit in almost any fixture.• ENERGY STAR qualified fixturesdistribute light more efficiently andevenly than standard fixtures and theydeliver convenient features such asdimming on some indoor models.• Controls such as timers and photocells save electricityby turning lightsoff when not in use. Dimmers saveelectricitywhen used to lower lightlevels. Be sure to select products thatare compatible with CFL bulbs; not allproducts work with CFLs.• When remodeling, look for recesseddownlights, or “cans”, that are rated forcontact with insulation (IC rated).• Take advantage of daylight by usinglight-colored, loose-weave curtainson your windows to allow daylight topenetrate the room while preservingprivacy. Also, decorate with lightercolors that reflect daylight.• If you have torchiere fixtures withhalogen lamps, consider replacing themwith compact fluorescent torchieres.Compact fluorescent torchieres use60% to 80% less energy and do not getas hot as halogen torchieres.Outdoor Lighting Tips• Because outdoor lights are usuallyleft on a long time, using CFLsin these fixtures will save a lot ofenergy. Most bare spiral CFLs can beused in enclosed fixtures that protectthem from the weather.• CFLs are also available as floodlights. These models have been testedto withstand the rain and snow sothey can be used in exposed fixtures.Most though, cannot be used withmotion detectors.• Look for ENERGY STAR qualifiedfixtures that are designed for outdooruse and come with features likeautomatic daylight shut-off andmotion sensors.LED—A New Kind of LightLight emitting diodes, or LEDs, offerbetter light quality than incandescentbulbs, last 25 times as long, and useeven less energy than CFLs. Look forENERGY STAR qualified LED products athome improvement centers and lightingshowrooms.21Lighting17736_bklet 21 10/23/08 7:37:18 PM


AppliancesAppliances account for about17% of your household’s energyconsumption, with refrigerators,clothes washers, and clothes dryers atthe top of the consumption list.When you’re shopping for appliances,think of two price tags. The first onecovers the purchase price—think ofit as a down payment. The secondprice tag is the cost of operating theappliance during its lifetime. You’ll bepaying on that second price tag everymonth with your utility bill for thenext 10 to 20 years, depending on theappliance. Refrigerators last an averageof 14 years; clothes washers about 11years; dishwashers about 10 years; androom air conditioners last 9 years.When you do shop for a newappliance, look for the ENERGYSTAR label. ENERGY STAR productsusually exceed minimum federalstandards by a substantial amount. Theappliance shopping guide on pages 27and 28 lists some of the major appliancesthat carry the ENERGY STAR label andprovides helpful information on what tolook for when shopping for an appliance.To help you figure out whether anappliance is energy efficient, the federalgovernment requires most appliancesto display the bright yellow and blackEnergyGuide label. Although theselabels will not tell you which applianceis the most efficient, they will tell youthe annual energy consumption andoperating cost for each appliance soyou can compare them yourself. TheAmerican Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy lists the energyperformance of top-rated energysavingappliances on its web site:www.aceee.org.DishwashersMost of the energy used by a dishwasheris for water heating. The EnergyGuidelabel estimates how much power isneeded per year to run the appliance andto heat the water based on the yearly costof natural gas and electric water heating.Appliances22What’s the Real Cost?Every appliance has two price tags—the purchase price and the operating cost. Consider both whenbuying a new appliance.17736_bklet 22 10/23/08 7:37:19 PM


What’s a kilowatt?When you use electricity to cook a pot ofrice for 1 hour, you use 1000 watt-hours ofelectricity! One thousand watt-hours equals1 kilowatt-hour, or 1 kWh. Yourutility billusually shows what you are charged for thekilowatt-hours you use. The average residentialrate is 9.4 cents per kWh. A typical U.S.household consumes about 11,000 kWh peryear, costing an average of $1,034 annually.Dishwasher Tips• Check the manual that came with yourdishwasher for the manufacturer’srecommendations on watertemperature; many have internalheating elements that allow you toset the water heater in your hometo a lower temperature (120°F).• Scrape, don’t rinse, off largefood pieces and bones. Soakingor prewashing is generally onlyrecommended in cases of burned-onor dried-on food.• Be sure your dishwasher is full, butnot overloaded, when you run it.• Avoid using the “rinse hold” on yourmachine for just a few soiled dishes.It uses 3 to 7 gallons of hot water eachtime you use it.• Let your dishes air dry; if you don’thave an automatic air-dryswitch,turn off the control knob after thefinal rinse and prop the door openslightly so the dishes will dryfaster.$ Long-Term Savings Tip• When shopping for a newdishwasher, look for the ENERGYSTAR label to find a dishwasher thatuses less water and 41% less energythan required by federal standards.RefrigeratorsThe EnergyGuide label on newrefrigerators tells you how muchelectricity in kilowatt-hours (kWh) aparticular model uses in one year. Thesmaller the number, the less energythe refrigerator uses and the less itwill cost you to operate. In additionto the EnergyGuide label, don’t forgetto look for the ENERGY STAR label.A new refrigerator with an ENERGYSTAR label uses at least 20% lessenergy than required by currentfederal standards and 40% less energythan the conventional models sold in2001.How to Read theEnergyGuide LabelThe EnergyGuide label gives you twoimportant pieces of information you canuse to compare different brands andmodels when shopping for a new refrigerator:• Estimated yearly operating cost based onthe national average cost of electricity.• Estimated energy consumption on a scaleshowing a range for similar models23Appliances17736_bklet 23 10/23/08 7:37:19 PM


Appliances24Refrigerator/Freezer Energy Tips• Look for a refrigerator withautomatic moisture control.Models with this feature have beenengineered to prevent moistureaccumulation on the cabinet exteriorwithout the addition of a heater.This is not the same thing as an“anti-sweat” heater. Models with ananti-sweat heater will consume 5%to 10% more energy than modelswithout this feature.• Don’t keep your refrigerator orfreezer too cold. Recommendedtemperatures are 37° to 40°F forthe fresh food compartment of therefrigerator and 5°F for the freezersection. If you have a separatefreezer for long-term storage, itshould be kept at 0°F.• To check refrigerator temperature,place an appliance thermometer ina glass of water in the center of therefrigerator. Read it after 24 hours.To check the freezer temperature,place a thermometer between frozenpackages. Read it after 24 hours.• Regularly defrost manual-defrostrefrigerators and freezers; frostbuildup decreases the energyefficiency of the unit. Don’t allowfrost to build up more than onequarterof an inch.• Make sure your refrigerator doorseals are airtight. Test them byclosing the door over a piece ofpaper or a dollar bill so it is halfin and half out of the refrigerator.If you can pull the paper or billout easily, the latch may needadjustment, the seal may needreplacing, or you might considerbuying a new unit.• Cover liquids and wrap foods storedin the refrigerator. Uncovered foodsrelease moisture and make thecompressor work harder.$ Long-Term Savings Tip• Look for the ENERGY STAR labelwhen buying a new refrigerator. Selecta new refrigerator that is the rightsize for your household. Top freezermodels are more energy efficient thanside-by-side models. Features likeicemakers and water dispensers, whileconvenient, will increase energy use.ENERGY STAR Refrigerators Are Cool!Refrigerators with the freezer on the top are moreefficient than those with freezers on the side.17736_bklet 24 10/23/08 7:37:20 PM


Other Energy-Saving Kitchen Tips• Be sure to place the faucet lever on thekitchen sink in the cold position whenusing small amounts of water; placingthe lever in the hot position usesenergy to heat the water even though itmay never reach the faucet.• If you need to purchase a natural gasoven or range, look for one with anautomatic, electric ignition system.An electric ignition saves natural gasbecause a pilot light is not burningcontinuously.• In natural gas appliances, look forblue flames; yellow flames indicatethe gas is burning inefficiently and anadjustment may be needed. Consult themanufacturer or your local utility.• Keep range-top burners and reflectorsclean; they will reflect the heat better,and you will save energy.• Use a covered kettle or pan to boilwater; it’s faster and it uses less energy.• Match the size of the pan to the heatingelement.• Use small electric pans or toaster ovensfor small meals rather than your largestove or oven. A toaster oven uses athird to half as much energy as a fullsizedoven.• Use pressure cookers and microwaveovens whenever it is convenientto do so. They will save energy bysignificantly reducing cooking time.LaundryAbout 90% of the energy used forwashing clothes in a conventionaltop-load washer is for heating the water.There are two ways to reduce the amountof energy used for washing clothes—useless water and use cooler water. Unlessyou’re dealing with oily stains, the warmor cold water setting on your machinewill generally do a good job ofcleaning your clothes. Switching yourtemperature setting from hot to warmcan cut a load’s energy use in half.Laundry Tips• Wash your clothes in cold waterusing cold-water detergentswhenever possible.• Wash and dry full loads. If youare washing a small load, use theappropriate water-level setting.• Dry towels and heavier cottons ina separate load from lighter-weightclothes.• Don’t over-dry your clothes. If yourmachine has a moisture sensor, use it.• Clean the lint filter in the dryerafter every load to improve aircirculation.• Use the cool-down cycle to allowthe clothes to finish drying with theresidual heat in the dryer.• Periodically inspect your dryer ventto ensure it is not blocked. This willsave energy and may prevent a fire.Manufacturers recommend usingrigid venting material, not plasticvents that may collapse and causeblockages.• Consider air-drying clothes onclothes lines or drying racks. Airdryingis recommended by clothingmanufacturers for some fabrics.$ Long-Term Savings Tips• Look for the ENERGY STAR andEnergyGuide labels. ENERGYSTAR clothes washers clean clothesusing 50% less energy than standardwashers. Most full-sized ENERGY25Appliances17736_bklet 25 10/23/08 7:37:20 PM


How Much Electricity Do Appliances Use?This chart shows how much energy a typical appliance uses per year and its corresponding costbased on national averages. For example, a refrigerator uses almost five times the electricity theaverage television uses. Visit www.energysavers.gov for instructions on calculating the electricaluse of your appliances.Appliances26STAR washers use 15 gallons ofwater per load, compared to the32.5 gallons used by a new standardmachine. ENERGY STAR modelsalso spin the clothes better, resultingin less drying time.• When shopping for a new clothesdryer, look for one with a moisturesensor that automatically shuts offthe machine when your clothes aredry. Not only will this save energy,it will save the wear and tear onyour clothes caused by over-drying.• ENERGYSTAR does not labelclothes dryers because most ofthem use similar amounts of energy,which means there is little differencein energy use between models.Save Energy and More with ENERGY STARENERGY STAR clothes washers use 50% lessenergy to wash clothes than standard washingmachines.17736_bklet 26 10/23/08 7:37:22 PM


Major ApplianceShopping GuideThis easy-to-read guide may help youunderstand how appliances are rated forefficiency, what the ratings mean, and what tolook for while shopping for new appliances.Appliances Rating Special ConsiderationsNaturalGas and OilSystemsLook for the FTC (Federal TradeCommission) EnergyGuide label withan AFUE (Annual Fuel UtilizationEfficiency) rating for natural gas- andoil-fired furnaces and boilers. TheAFUE measures the seasonal or annualefficiency. ENERGY STAR furnaceshave a 90 AFUE or higher.Bigger is not always better! Too large asystem costs more and operates inefficiently.Have a professional assess your needs andrecommend the type and size of system youshould purchase.Air-SourceHeat PumpsCentral AirConditionersLook for the EnergyGuide label thatlists the SEER (Seasonal EnergyEfficiency Ratio) and HSPF (HeatingSeasonal Performance Factor) for heatpumps. The SEER measures the energyefficiency during the cooling seasonand HSPF measures the efficiencyduring the heating season. The ENERGYSTAR minimum efficiency level is13 SEER or higher.Look for the EnergyGuide label witha SEER for central air conditioners.The ENERGY STAR minimum efficiencylevel is 13 SEER.If you live in a cool climate, look for a heatpump with a high HSPF. ENERGY STAR heatpumps are about 20% more efficient thanstandard models. Contact a professional foradvice on purchasing a heat pump.Air conditioners that bear the ENERGYSTAR label may be 25% more efficient thanstandard models. Contact a professional foradvice on sizing a central air system.Room AirConditionersLook for the EnergyGuide label with anEER (Energy Efficiency Ratio) for roomair conditioners. The higher the EER,the more efficient the unit is. ENERGYSTAR units are among the most energyefficientproducts.What size to buy?Area insquare feet100 to 150150 to 250250 to 350350 to 450400 to 450450 to 550550 to 700700 to 1,000Btu/hour5,0006,0007,0009,00010,00012,00014,00018,000Two major factorsshould guide yourpurchase: correctsize and energyefficiency. If theroom is very sunny,increase capacityby 10%. If the unitis for a kitchen,increase thecapacity by 4,000Btu per hour.27Appliances17736_bklet 27 10/23/08 7:37:25 PM


Appliances Rating Special ConsiderationsProgrammableThermostatsFor minimum ENERGY STAR efficiency,thermostats should have at least twoprograms, four temperature settingseach, a hold feature that allows usersto temporarily override settings, and theability to maintain room temperaturewithin 2ºF of desired temperature.Look for a the ENERGY STAR label anda thermostat that allows you to easilyuse two separate programs, one thatcan be programmed to reach the desiredtemperature at a specific time, and ahold feature that temporarily overridesthe setting without deleting the presetprograms.Water HeatersLook for the EnergyGuide label thattells how much energy the waterheater uses in one year. Also, look forthe FHR (first hour rating) of the waterheater, which measures the maximumhot water the heater will deliver in thefirst hour of use. ENERGY STAR labeledwater heaters available January 2009.If you typically need a lot of hot water atonce, the FHR will be important to you.Sizing is important—call your local utilityfor advice.WindowsLook for the NFRC (NationalFenestration Rating Council) label thatprovides U-values and SHGC (solar heatgain coefficient) values. The lower theU-value, the better the insulation.Look at the Climate Region Map on theENERGY STAR label to be sure that thewindow, door, or skylight you have selectedis appropriate for where you live.Refrigeratorsand FreezersLook for the EnergyGuide label thattells how much electricity, in kWh, therefrigerator will use in one year. Thesmaller the number, the less energy ituses. ENERGY STAR refrigerators use atleast 20% less energy than required byfederal standards.Look for energy-efficient refrigerators andfreezers. Refrigerators with freezers on topare more efficient than those with freezerson the side. Also look for heavy door hingesthat create a good door seal.Major Appliances Shopping Guide28DishwashersClothesWashersLook for the EnergyGuide label thattells how much electricity, in kWh, thedishwasher will use in one year. Thesmaller the number, the less energy ituses. ENERGY STAR dishwashers use atleast 41% less energy than required byfederal standards.Look for the EnergyGuide label thattells how much electricity, in kWh, theclothes washer will use in one year. Thesmaller the number, the less energy isuses. ENERGY STAR clothes washersuse less than 50% of the energy usedby standard washers.Look for features that will reduce wateruse, such as booster heaters and smartcontrols. Ask how many gallons of waterthe dishwasher uses during differentcycles. Dishwashers that use the leastamount of water will cost the least tooperate.Look for the following design features thathelp clothes washers cut water usage:water level controls, “suds-saver” features,spin cycle adjustments, and large capacity.For double the efficiency, buy an ENERGYSTAR unit.Major Appliances Shopping Guide17736_bklet 28 10/23/08 7:37:27 PM


Home Office and Home ElectronicsIn the U.S., nearly 4.2 millionpeople worked from home in 2000,up from 3.4 million in 1990. Workingfrom home saves energy and time bycutting out the commute, but it mayincrease your home energy bills a lotunless you use energy-saving officeequipment.ENERGY STAR labeled officeequipment is widely available: itprovides users with dramatic savings,as much as 90% savings for someproducts. Overall, ENERGY STARlabeled office products use about halfthe electricity of standard equipment.Along with saving energy directly,this equipment can reduce airconditioningloads, noise from fansand transformers, and electromagneticfield emissions from monitors.Home Office Tips• Selecting energy-efficient officeequipment—personal computers(PCs), monitors, copiers, printers,and fax machines—and turning offShop for ENERGY STARProducts for Offices• Computers• Copiers• Fax Machines• Monitors• Multifunction Devices(fax, scanner, copier)• Printers• Scannersmachines when they are not inuse can result in enormous energysavings.• An ENERGYSTAR labeledcomputer uses 70% less electricitythan computers without thisdesignation. If left inactive,ENERGY STAR labeled desktopcomputers enter a sleep mode anduse 4 watts or less.Major Appliances Shopping GuideKeep Your Home Office Efficient with ENERGY STARHome offices are increasingly popular. Be sure to use ENERGY STARoffice equipment to save electricity.29Home Office and Home Electronics17736_bklet 29 10/23/08 7:37:28 PM


Home Office and Home Electronics30Spending a large portion of timein low-power mode not only savesenergy, but helps equipment runcooler and last longer.• To maximize savings with a laptop,put the AC adapter on a power stripthat can be turned off (or will turnoff automatically); the transformerin the AC adapter draws powercontinuously, even when the laptopis not plugged into the adapter.• Common misconceptions sometimesaccount for the failure to turn offequipment. Many people believethat equipment lasts longer if it isnever turned off. This incorrectperception carries over from thedays of older mainframe computers.• ENERGYSTAR labeled computersand monitors save energy only whenthe power management featuresare activated, so make sure powermanagement is activated on yourcomputer.• There is a common misconceptionthat screen savers reduce energy useby monitors; they do not. Automaticswitching to sleep mode or manuallyturning monitors off is always thebetter energy-saving strategy.$ Long-Term Savings Tip• Consider buying a laptop for yournext computer upgrade; they usemuch less energy than desktopcomputers.Home Electronics Tips• Look for energy-saving ENERGYSTAR labeled home electronics.• Many appliances continue to drawa small amount of power when theyare switched off. These “phantom”loads occur in most appliancesthat use electricity, such as VCRs,televisions, stereos, computers, andShop for ENERGY STARHome Electronics• Cordless Phones• Televisions• VCRs and DVD Players• Combination Units (TV/VCR;TV/DVD)• Home Audio• Set-Top Boxeskitchen appliances. These phantomloads can be avoided by unpluggingthe appliance or using a power stripand using the switch on the power stripto cut all power to the appliance.• Unplug batterychargers when thebatteries are fully charged or thechargers are not in use.• Studies have shown that usingrechargeable batteries for productslike cordless phones and PDAs ismore cost effective than throwawaybatteries. If you must use throaways,check with your trash removalcompany about safe disposal options.Smart power strips help save wasted energy.17736_bklet 30 10/23/08 7:37:29 PM


Driving and Car MaintenanceTransportation accounts for 67% ofU.S. oil use—mainly in the form ofgasoline. Luckily, there are plenty ofways to improve gas mileage.Driving Tips• Idling gets you 0 miles per gallon.The best way to warm up a vehicle isto drive it. No more than 30 secondsof idling on winter days is needed.Anything more simply wastes fueland increases emissions.• Aggressive driving (speeding, rapidacceleration, and hard braking)wastes gas. It can lower yourhighway gas mileage 33% andcity mileage 5%.• Avoid high speeds. Above 60 mph,gas mileage drops rapidly.• Clear out your car; extra weightdecreases gas mileage by 1% to 2% forevery 100 pounds.• Reduce drag by placing items insidethe car or trunk rather than on roofracks. A roof rack or carrierprovides additionalcargo spaceand mayallow you tobuy a smallercar. However,a loadedroof rack candecrease yourfuel economyby 5% or more.• Check intotelecommuting,carpooling andpublic transit tocut mileage and carmaintenance costs.Car Maintenance Tips• Use the grade of motor oilrecommended by your car’smanufacturer. Using a differentmotor oil can lower your gasolinemileage by 1% to 2%.• Keep tires properly inflated andaligned to improve your gasolinemileage by around 3.3%.• Get regular engine tune-ups and carmaintenance checks to avoid fueleconomy problems due to wornspark plugs, dragging brakes, lowtransmission fluid, or transmissionproblems.• Replace clogged air filters toimprove gas mileage by as muchas 10% and protect your engine.• Combine errands into one trip.Several short trips, each one takenfrom a cold start, can use twice asmuch fuel as one trip covering thesame distance when the engine iswarm.$ Long-Term Savings Tip• Consider buying a highlyfuel-efficient vehicle. A fuelefficientvehicle, a hybridvehicle, or an alternativefuel vehicle could save youa lot at the gas pump andhelp the environment. Seethe Fuel Economy Guide(www.fueleconomy.gov)for more on buying anew fuel-efficient car ortruck.31Driving and Car Maintenance17736_bklet 31 10/23/08 7:37:29 PM


Renewable EnergyYou have many options for usingrenewable energy at home—fromsolar-powered outdoor lights to buyingrenewable energy from your utilityto even producing solar electricity athome with photovoltaic (PV) cells.and a good solar resource, you mightwant to consider generating yourown electricity using PV cells. Newproducts are available that integratePV cells with the roof, making themmuch less visible than older systems.Renewable Energy32Renewable Energy Tips• A new home provides the bestopportunity for designing andorienting the home to take advantageof the sun’s rays. A well-orientedhome admits low-angle winter sunto reduce heating bills and rejectsoverhead summer sun to reducecooling bills. See the Heating andCooling section for more about usingpassive solar energy in your home.• Many U.S. consumers buy electricitymade from renewable energy sourceslike the sun, wind, water, plants, andEarth’s internal heat. This power issometimes called “green power.”Buying green power from the utilityis one of the easiest ways to userenewable energy without having toinvest in equipment or take on extramaintenance.• Another use of solar power is forheating water. Solar water heating iscovered in the Water Heating sectionon page 16. If you have a swimmingpool or hot tub, you can use solarpower to cut pool heating costs.Most solar pool heating systems arecost competitive with conventionalsystems. And solar pool systemshave very low operating costs. It’sactually the most cost-effective useof solar energy.$ Long-Term Savings Tip• If you’ve made your home asenergy efficient as possible, andyou have very high electricity billsIf the following conditions apply, youmight want to do more research to seeif investing in PV is right for you:• Your site has adequate solar resources.• A grid connection is not available inyour area or can be made only throughan expensive power line extension.Solar-Powered Outdoor LightingInstalling solar lighting around your home and gardenis quick and easy with an added bonus—no wires orelectricity costs!• You are willing to pay more up frontto reduce the environmental impact ofyour electricity use.• Your power provider will connect yoursystem to the electricity grid and buyany excess power you produce.• Your state, city, or utility offersrebates, tax credits, or other incentives.Visit www.dsireusa.org to find outabout financial incentives in your area.17736_bklet 32 10/23/08 7:37:30 PM


ReferencesAmerican Council for anEnergy-Efficient Economywww.aceee.org/consumer/Census Bureau Press Release,Information on Home WorkersOctober 20, 2004. CB04-183.DOE Building Americawww.BuildingAmerica.govDOE Building Technologies Programwww.buildings.energy.govDOE Building Technologies Program,2007 Buildings Energy Databookbuildingsdatabook.eere.energy.govENERGY SAVERSwww.energysavers.govENERGY STAR ®www.energystar.govHome Energy Magazinewww.homeenergy.orgRocky Mountain InstituteHome Energy Briefswww.rmi.orgWilson, Alex; Thorne, Jennifer; Morrill, John.Consumer Guide to Home Energy Savings,8th Edition. 2003. Washington, D.C.: ACEEEDOE Consumer Guide to Energy Efficiency andRenewable Energywww.eere.energy.gov/consumerDOE/EPA Fuel Economy Guidewww.fueleconomy.govDOE Energy Information AdministrationResidential Energy Consumption Survey 2005www.eia.doe.gov/emeu/recs/contents.htmlNOTICE: This booklet was prepared by an agencyof the United States government. Neither theUnited States government nor any agency thereof,nor any of their employees, makes any warranty,express or implied, or assumes any legal liabilityor responsibility for the accuracy, completeness,or usefulness of any information, apparatus,product, or process disclosed, or represents thatits use would not infringe privately owned rights.Reference herein to any specific commercialproduct, process, or service by trade name,trademark, manufacturer, or otherwise does notnecessarily constitute or imply its endorsement,recommendation, or favoring by the United Statesgovernment or any agency thereof. The viewsand opinions of authors expressed herein do notnecessarily state or reflect those of the UnitedStates government or any agency thereof.33References17736_bklet 33 10/23/08 7:37:30 PM


A Strong Energy Portfolio for a Strong AmericaEnergy efficiency and clean, renewable energy will mean astronger economy, a cleaner environment, and greater energyindependence for America. Working with a wide array of state,community, industry, and university partners, the U.S. Departmentof Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energyinvests in a diverse portfolio of energy technologies.For more information contact:EERE Information Center1-877-EERE-INF (1-877-337-3463)www.eere.energy.govProduced in partnership with theU.S. Department of Energy,Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy1000 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20585by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, a DOE National LaboratoryItem # 135-60(10/08 MC)17736_bklet 34 10/23/08 7:37:32 PM

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