Save Green by Being Green
|Last year, American consumers saved an overwhelming $12 billion on utility bills. The reason for their savings? Simply thinking "green".|
When the temperature cools, heating costs start rising. ENERGY STAR ® and other similar programs offer incentive rebates to consumers who use energy-efficient appliances in their homes. Rebates not only save homeowners "green" on their utility bills, but the use of energy-efficient appliances lead to a cleaner, greener environment. According to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), many utility companies offer incentives to their customers for buying ENERGY STAR®-qualified appliances such as washing machines, refrigerators, and dishwashers. These incentives often come in the form of a rebate on your utility bill after showing proof of purchase.
ENERGY STAR, the government backed symbol that identifies energy-efficient household appliances and materials, is making its way into the housing market at full speed. More than 2,500 of the nation's builders craft ENERGY STAR-qualified homes, and that number continues to grow. ENERGY STAR® homes are 30 percent more energy-efficient than a typical house, with qualifying home components including high-performance windows and energy-efficient heating and cooling systems.
High performance windows keep your home comfortable no matter what the outdoor climate is like. If it's time to replace your windows, look for the new Low-E, or low emittance, designs that reduce heat transfer. A sun-resistant coating, insulated layer filled with gas and improved climate-specific window frames allow high-performance windows to deliver more benefits than standard windows. Typically comprising 10 to 25 percent of the exterior wall area of new homes, research shows that heat gain and loss through windows accounts for up to 50 percent of a home's heating and cooling needs. High- performance windows reduce utility bills by keeping heat loss to a minimum, reduce fading of curtains, furniture, and flooring by blocking harmful UV rays, and can even make your house quieter by insulating your home from outside noise.
Improved heating and cooling systems are also essential to an ENERGY STAR® home. Programmable thermostats that can regulate the temperatures depending on the time of day and the occupancy status of the home are great for saving energy. The thermostat can be programmed to your schedule, so that you use less energy when you are sleeping or away from home.
Energy-efficient appliances such as clothes and dish washers use between 10 and 50 percent less energy than their standard counterparts, and can be a great investment that leads to lower electricity and water bills.
If your home is not currently certified, there are many options to make your home as energy-efficient as possible. One simple measure is replacing standard light bulbs with Compact Fluorescent Light bulbs (CFLs) that give off less heat, last longer and are more efficient.
For a more comprehensive approach, visit the ENERGY STAR® website, www.energystar.gov.