Easy Tips on Winter Energy Efficiency
By Yanni Giannaros
We attempt to use eco-friendly and sustainable building materials when it comes to our construction and roofing projects.
Proper insulation, green roofing, and sustainable building materials are all helpful in fabricating structures that work with the environment, rather than against it.
However, every winter many of our customers find themselves spending-and let's face it, wasting-lots of extra money in heating and energy. Of course our first thought relates to efficient and well-insulated walls and roof. We do also go by a great, comprehensive, list of easy tips to keep our customers and friends warm and eco-friendly at the same time.
Sustainable Winterizing Tips
Program Your Thermostat: Having a programmable thermostat is essentially becoming standard fare in most newer homes and home heating systems. However, they mean very little unless you set them for the season. Remember, sunrise and sunset change, and so do your home's heating and AC needs. It is generally recommended that you have a daytime temperature of 68° and a night drop down of 65°.
Check For Drafts: The average American home wastes 5-30% of their energy through drafts. There is no need to heat the world; nature can take care of herself. Do a quick run through of your home checking windows and roofing elements with your hand for drafts and listening closely for telltale whooshing sounds. The other option is to hire a professional to do a quick estimate-many construction companies offer winterizing and efficiency services, often with a free estimate.
Change Your Bulbs: Make the move from incandescent light bulbs to compact florescent light bulbs. While this is not strictly a winter issue, you do use considerably more lighting in the winter, due to shorter days and colder weather. Investing in LED holiday lights is also a great winter lighting tip, because the last longer, are more durable, and use less energy.
Hire Heating Professionals: Many issues related both to the repair of your home heating system and your overall heating efficiency can be solved with simple, professional, maintenance. Once a year or so, have your heating company come out and do a comprehensive check on your system. Most HVAC companies do this service as part of their maintenance contract. Especially when you have an older system, have a professional take a look, because sometimes you will save money and energy installing a new heat pump.
Get An Energy Audit: In much of the country there are plenty of companies, energy companies, and construction companies that offer high quality energy audits for only a fraction of what you stand to lose on your energy bill. Go through, boost basic efficiency, and see what you can do within your budget to make your home greener.
Use Available Tax Credits: Along with an energy audit, utilize Federal, Provincial, and Local Tax Credits set aside for energy efficiency. You may be surprised just how many resources are still available for people who want to upgrade their windows, roofing, and insulation. In many cases you are talking about thousands of dollars. Any professional energy auditor can probably fill you in on popular tax credit programs; and if not, check out websites for all levels of government. A little research could lead to big savings.