Did you know that the average household spends, on average, upwards of $2,200 just on their energy bills, and produces up to 13 tons of carbon dioxide, per year? There are now a wide array of Energy Star products that can help offset these costs and emissions. A popular example is the energy efficient CFL light bulb. A bulb with the Energy Star label is 75% more efficient than its incandescent counterpart and if just one room in every home were lit with these types of bulbs, over 1 trillion pounds of carbon dioxide would be kept out of the air. That’s just from converting to a more efficient light bulb! The savings, both to your wallet and the environment, from additions or replacements to your central air conditioning system, water heater, and windows is exponential.
Central Air Conditioning
Heating and cooling your home is the highest source of energy consumption in your home. What this also means though, is that there are a large amount of savings to be had by making the necessary repairs to the ducting or even by replacing the unit itself. Leaky ducts can decrease the efficiency of your central air conditioning by as much as 20%. Duct sealing lowers your utility bills by increasing efficiency. If your central air conditioning unit is more than 7 years old, you may want to consider replacing it with one that bears the Energy Star label. These models use 20% less energy than the standard model and if 1 in 10 homes made this conversion, the change would lower the amount of pollution in our air by over 17 billion pounds! It’s also important to note that there is a $300 tax credit available to homeowners who have an Energy Star labeled model installed.
The second highest source of energy consumption in your home is your water heater. You can improve the efficiency of your water heater by simply using less hot water, lowering the thermostat, or even installing an insulation kit. But when you consider that an Energy Star model uses 50% less energy than a conventional model, it’s easy to see the benefit in converting completely. There are several different types of water heaters available that come in various sizes and run on different fuel sources. By doing your research and speaking with a qualified professional, you can be well on your way to lowering your energy costs and earning yourself an additional $300 tax credit.
Having replacement windows installed is one of the best home improvements you can make. Set aside the fact that they increase your home’s value, improve its appearance, and even protect your furniture and carpets. It’s estimated that a quarter of a home’s heat is lost through windows during the winter and during the summer, a third of the heat that enters a home is from the sun shining through. You can help reduce heat loss and gain by caulking in cracks or by installing new weather stripping. But by installing a replacement window, that’s earned an Energy Star label, you can lower your utility costs by an average of 12% while also providing yourself a tax credit of up to $200. This will simultaneously reduce greenhouse emissions from power plants and shrink your home’s carbon footprint.