Simple Steps to Improve Energy Efficiency

In a recent newsletter from the NCAR, they included these great tips for becoming more energy efficient.  We could all use help these days saving!

A new national survey, commissioned by Lowe’s, reveals that 90 percent of Americans would personally take action to prevent the over-consumption of energy, if they knew what they could do. Below you will find helpful advice on what homeowners can do to make their homes more energy efficient.
Light The Way –
o Turn off lights when they are not in use because lighting accounts for between five and 10 percent of the average homeowner’s electricity bill.
o Replace incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs), which are roughly three to four times their wattage, saving up to 75 percent of the initial lighting energy.
o CFLs last 10 to 15 times longer than traditional incandescent light bulbs.
The Appliance Drain –
o Dispose of outdated appliances. Although 39 percent of homeowners rank energy efficiency as the most important purchasing factor when it comes to appliances, many hold on to outdated appliances costing them and the environment.
o Appliances account for about 20 percent of household’s energy consumption, with the refrigerator and clothes washer being the biggest drain.
o Invest in an ENERGY STAR qualified washer because it uses 18-25 gallons per load, saving 7,000 gallons of water per household. Sort and dry clothes of a comparable thickness in the same load so the drying time will not have to be extended for just a few clothes. Use warm or cold water for washing clothes whenever possible.
o Purchase an ENERGY STAR qualified refrigerator that uses less energy than a 75-watt bulb, saving more than $35 a year compared to a 10-year-old model. Store the most perishable items in the coldest part of the refrigerator so the temperature can be set slightly higher.
Sealing The Home –
o Prevent air leaks in the home, which is a concern that stands high on the list of ways to lower home energy bills.
o Pay close attention to duct system leakage because it can account for up to 20 percent or more of wasted energy in heating and cooling a home.
o Apply more insulation and caulking to air leakage trouble spots to create a barrier between the home and outdoor elements. More leakage problems are found in drafty areas, such as chimneys/fireplaces, windows, attics, and gaps along the top of basement walls.
Minimize Water Usage-
o Keep faucets turned off tightly because a leak of one drop of water a second wastes more than 250 gallons of water a month and the energy used to heat it.
o Take shorter showers and install water-saving showerheads.
Penny-wise Windows –
o Install double and tripled-paned windows, which offer good insulation values known as U-factors. Some have an insulating gas between the panes, which insulates better than air.
o Put in low-e windows, windows with special clear coatings that reflect heat.
o Consider wood, vinyl and fiberglass frames since they insulate better than standard aluminum frames. In addition, new warm-edge spacers insulate better than normal wood, vinyl or fiberglass, which can conduct condensation around the edges of the windows.
Hug a Water Heater –
o Install heat traps in the water heater. If the heater is older or noticeable warm to touch, wrap it with special insulation blankets and pipes with pre-formed wraps.
o Adjust the temperature so that it does not exceed 120 degrees Fahrenheit and timer controls avoid waste during off peak usage hours.

Truly Green Landscaping –

oPlant deciduous trees, leafy in summer and bare in winter, to provide shade to cool the home during the summer and allow sunlight in to warm the home in the winter.

o Place trees in the areas that receive the most sun. Evergreens can also provide an effective break from chilling winds in winter.
Personalize your Temperature –
o Invest in an ENERGY STAR qualified programmable thermostat, which can save homeowners about $150 every year.
o Programmable thermostats prevent homeowners from paying to fully heat or air condition their home while they’re away and makes the temperature comfortable before they get home. This can help cut heating and cooling bills by 20-30 percent.
Energy Efficient Mortgages –
o Look into Energy Efficient Mortgages (EEMs), which often allow new homeowners to qualify for a larger mortgage with a lower annual income due to expected energy savings of homes built to high-energy efficiency standards.
o ENERGY STAR mortgages also are offered in some regions.
Home Energy Audit –
o Pay close attention to monthly utility bills because they add up quickly. Conduct an energy audit to determine money and energy expenditures.
Adding A Cool Breeze –
o Use fans instead of air conditioning for cooling whenever possible because fans use only about 10 percent of the energy that air conditioning does.
o In the winter, set the ceiling fan on reverse to recirculate heat that would otherwise build up near the ceiling.
Motivation and Awareness –
o 42 percent of Americans say they have never purchased an ENERGY STAR qualified product. Of that percentage, a majority (68 percent) acknowledges not knowing that the ENERGY STAR label exists.
o 61 percent of Americans are more concerned about energy consumption than other environmental issues, such as smog, water pollution and conversation.
Solar Power –

Invest in products that use clean, renewable sources such as solar power. For example, solar landscaping lights are both economical and environmentally responsible.
For more energy-saving ideas, visit Lowes.com/energy and select “ENERGY STAR @ Home” or the ENERGY STAR Web site at http://www.energystar.gov.

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About Michelle Nantz

There are many qualities and skills that go into being an excellent real estate professional: integrity, in-depth community and market knowledge, marketing savvy, effective negotiation skills, and a high-quality professional network ~ all of which are hallmarks of Michelle Nantz. In 2003, Michelle began her career in real estate, after a successful career in restaurant and hotel management with her last position as Regional Director of Operations running 56 hotels throughout two states. She owes her success in real estate and management to her expertise in people skills, managing, negotiating, and follow-up. However, it is Michelle’s dedication to quality service that she ultimately credits her success. Michelle shared, “In my experience as a Lake Norman real estate professional, I’ve found that providing the very best service is essentially about putting my clients first. This means keeping myself accessible, being a good listener as well as a good communicator, and responding quickly to their needs.” This “client first” philosophy combined with continual personal improvement and keeping up-to-date with the latest technologies is a cornerstone of both Michelle’s and Lake Norman Realty’s business philosophy. In addition to Michelle’s extensive real estate education and her experience in the local market, she is also an Accredited Staging Professional®, which brings additional value to marketing her clients’ homes. Michelle and her family have made the Lake Norman area their home for over 10 years. In her rare leisure moments, you’ll find Michelle with her three children and husband, or unwinding with gardening or reading. “I live and work in this community and only have the best interests of our community and its members in mind,” says Michelle. Her community activities include participation in Denver Days, Relay for Life and support for Christian Ministries and area schools.
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3 Responses to Simple Steps to Improve Energy Efficiency

  1. cna training says:

    Great site. A lot of useful information here. I’m sending it to some friends!

  2. Harry Duncan says:

    Another suggestion is to install window tint. We have western facing windows, so we suffer from glare and heat during the summer. We found that installing window tint on these windows helped with both problems. Plus, with congress looking at a 500 dollar tax credit for installing such energy saving measures, it would well be worth the while to make the investment.Take a look at SnapTint window tint kits, we found their pricing affordable and quick to install.

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