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How Green is Your House?

In the past few years, the push for clean energy in America has finally been making progress. Solar and wind energy agendas are finally making breakthroughs and seeing real advancement. With the current administration, the United States Department of Energy has increased the momentum of energy efficiency practices throughout the country.

Energy efficiency is being promoted in your homes as well. The Department of Energy has made a lot of progress in homes across the United States by giving tax incentives to those who make energy saving home improvements.

Aside from tax incentives, there are many advantages to having a “green” home. Of course, there is the obvious benefit of environmental conservation and cleaning up a planet that has been ravaged by pollution. Most home owners, however, respond more to the money saving aspects of energy efficiency. A “green” home pays out a fraction of energy costs when compared with the average energy costs of American homes.

Saving the planet, tax incentives, and lower bills, all sounds pretty good, right? So what can you do to increase energy efficiency in your home?

Easy Ways to Increase Your Home's Energy Efficiency

Heating and Air

One of the biggest drains on your home's energy efficiency is called energy loss. Energy loss is also sometimes called heat loss and refers to the loss of energy in your home via the windows, roof, pipes, and other weaknesses in the structure of your home.

Energy loss can be prevented with some fairly minor updates to your home. Checking, repairing, or replacing insulation as well as the caulking around window and door frames can make a really big difference. If your roof is over ten years old, consider having it replaced with newer and more energy efficient roofing options.

Installing a programmable thermostat can help save up to 20% on your heating and cooling costs. Updating your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system can also not only help to control the amount of energy you are using, but also will heat and cool your home more efficiently.

For homes with an attic, look into whole house attic fans to help disperse the air in your home. These fans also help to avoid energy loss through the roof, which is responsible for over half of the energy lost in your home.

Appliances

Recent advancements made in energy efficient appliances have been made, and are extremely effective when it comes to conserving energy and resources. The Department of Energy has put out their own rating system for the best energy efficient appliances, which they refer to as their Energy Star line.

Washers and Dryers

One of the most popular appliance lines in the Energy Star lineup are the super efficient washers and
dryers. These appliances use less than half of the water used in conventional washers, significantly less soap, and work much more quickly and efficiently as well.

Dishwashers

Energy Star dishwashers clean your dishes more effectively and use a fraction of the 10-15 gallons of water per load that conventional appliances use.

Refrigerators

Keeping your perishable food properly cooled takes a lot of energy. Your freezer and refrigerator use up around 14% of your home's energy usage. Newer Energy Star models use a lot less energy and have excellent features.

Tip: If you have a second refrigerator or freezer in your home, seriously consider getting rid of it. That second appliance can cost you hundreds of dollars a year in energy costs alone.

These are only some of the updates you can make to your home to make it more energy efficient. To make your home even greener, watch your consumption and turn off lights and water when they are not being used.

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