Energy efficiency and conservation are popular topics that are reflected in the design of tighter new homes and the efficiency upgrades made in existing homes. To maximize energy-saving efforts, it's important to employ a strategy that includes both energy efficiency and energy conservation methods and practices. The results can be comforting when you see lower energy bills.
Efficiency and Conservation
Energy efficiency and energy conservation both save energy, but the terms aren't interchangeable. Energy efficiency refers to the practice of employing systems or devices that use less energy without a loss in service or comfort. A good example of upgrading a device or system is upgrading conventional incandescent lighting to light-emitting diode (LED) lighting. LEDs use up to 75 percent less energy with no loss of service.
Energy conservation practices save energy, but a loss of service or comfort is experienced. An example of practicing energy conservation is limiting bathing time to use less hot water when you would rather take longer showers or baths. For the most effective energy-saving program, energy conservation is best used in conjunction with home efficiency upgrades. In this way, you're able to maximize the benefit of employing high-efficiency devices and systems.
Heating and Cooling Tips
Heating and cooling the average home accounts for about half of the energy budget. New higher-efficiency HVAC systems, such as an Energy Star certified ductless system or furnace, can help reduce the heating and cooling budget by operating more efficiently.
Two of the most important tasks that can reduce heating and cooling costs are replacing the air filter regularly and scheduling preventive maintenance with an HVAC professional. HVAC systems will not only perform better for less energy, but they will also last longer with fewer malfunctions.
If you're using a disposable fiberglass filter, consider replacing it for a higher-efficiency type. Your home's HVAC system will be better protected and you’ll enjoy better indoor air quality.
Lighting expenses may reach 12 percent in the average home. Considering that light emitting diodes (LEDs) and compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) can reduce the light bill by up to 75 percent, you can easily shave a few percentage points by making the switch. LEDs and CFLs are more expensive than traditional incandescent lighting, but they last 10 to 25 times longer than incandescent.
You may add conservation efforts by installing simple lighting devices, such as dimming switches, timers and motion detectors. In this way, you can reduce lighting for maximum savings and enjoy the convenience of motion-detection lighting and timers.
Water Heating Tips
The water heating system offers many places to conserve energy and employ efficiency upgrades. You may already practice energy conservation by limiting hot water use. You can take full advantage of conserving hot water by using low-flow shower heads and aerators. Try using the energy-saving setting on the dishwasher and clothes washer.
Using a thermometer, check the temperature of hot water at a faucet. If it's higher than 120 degrees, lower the thermostat on the water heater accordingly. In conjunction, make sure all hot water pipes, including the inlet/outlet storage tank pipes, are wrapped with insulation. This increases temperature and reduces the wait time at the faucet and shower for hot water.
Home Envelope Tips
An energy audit performed by your HVAC professional is an effective way to determine where your home is losing energy dollars. You may also perform a basic assessment of attic insulation and air leaks. Using an incense stick or smoke pencil, look for air leaks at the usual places, such as around windows and doors, as well as electrical wall plates, piping and cables. If the smoke wavers, you've found a leak.
Air leaks may be sealed with caulk, expanding spray-in foam and weatherstripping. There are many different materials, colors and types available. Check the packaging for proper usage.
Check the insulation in the attic. Damp or moldy insulation should be discarded. Depending on the region of the U.S. you reside, attic insulation is recommended to be R38-R60. If your attic needs more insulation, you may wish to consult with an HVAC professional for best results. After all, air sealing and insulation efficiency upgrades are good for many years if performed correctly.
For many more tips on energy efficiency and energy conservation practices, please contact us to speak with a certified Mitsubishi Electric Contractor near your home.