If you are a first-time homeowner, building a new home or just wanting to make changes to an older, existing home, Doug has written some energy-saving tips for you to consider. There is no better time to do this than at the beginning of a construction project.
- If you are clearing a lot for a new home or considering landscaping options, don't forget about the shade advantage trees add, as well as the evaporative cooling their lush canopies can offer.
- Window coatings are energy saving, especially for west-facing view windows. For most residential applications, low-emissivity (low-e) coatings are sufficient. They can cut heat gain by up to 25 percent without changing the window's appearance.
- When building a new home, try to keep glass area at 10 percent to 12 percent of the floor area of the house (example: 2,000 sq.ft. x 10% = 200 sq.ft. of glass).
- Did you know that the average water heater wears out approximately every 10 years? When installing a water heater, you should consider one that is guaranteed for life to never leak or rust, and can save you approximately $100 a year on your electric bill.
- In the summer your attic can reach 140 degrees, so get the ductwork out of there! This may not be practical in an older home, but if you're building a new home, insist that the ductwork is placed in conditioned space, a basement or in the crawl space.
- New or existing homes need insulation. Doug recommends cellulose. It forms an airtight barrier and is more soundproof, roach-proof and fire resistant than conventional insulation.
- Most people, even new homeowners, have the least efficient heating and air conditioning equipment allowed under federal law. At a minimum, buy heat pumps and air conditioners with a 13 SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) rating or above.
- If you are doing the job or if you've hired a contractor, Doug offers this advice. Educate yourself! Energy efficiency won't just benefit you and your family, but our precious environment as well.