10 Easy Ways to Save Energy in Your Home

There are so many ways to make your home energy efficient, nearly half or your entire monthly electricity bill can be shaved off if you make the following alterations to your home and lifestyle:

1) Purchase a Solar Energy Installation

Solar energy installation could generate 100% of your monthly electricity consumption, and solar panels last for upto 40 years, to homeowners that would imply a lifetime of zero electricity bills. Savings on a single time investment into a solar energy system renders boundless returns in addition to tax credits, rebates and incentives allocated by federal and state governments on renewable energy investments. To homeowners willing to invest, this would cut nearly 30% from the overall cost of the system, consequently banks also provide Solar Loans at reduced rates of interest. In most states, solar system installations are not counted towards the value of the house and thus will not impact rates of property taxes.

2) Make Water Heaters Solar Powered

Dishes and Laundry can be washed efficiently in cold water and the task does not require hot water. But if homeowners insist on utilizing hot water to accomplish these tasks, investing in solar powered water heaters will nullify monthly costs associated with this expenditure. A large portion of our electric bills go towards heating, and solar energy does not cost a dime to utilize (after initial installation costs), so why shouldn’t homeowners harness the power of the sun for their daily energy needs.

3) Replace old appliances for Energy Star appliances

If your appliance is old, bare in mind that they were not created with an agenda towards energy efficiency, it is up to you as a homeowner to replace these appliances. Companies that produce Energy Star appliances are often subsidized by the government in order to promote energy efficiency. The Star marking on the appliance will indicate how much energy the appliance can conserve in comparison to appliances that were not designed for energy efficiency. An air conditioner, fridge, washing machine, oven, microwave etc with energy star markings might be slightly expensive, but the overall savings as a result of these appliances is significant.

4) Power Air Conditioners and Room Heaters through Solar

Solar energy systems can cost a homeowner from $10,000 to $32,000 without the addition of tax credits, rebates and incentives from the government. When you purchase a solar energy system, ensure that it is efficient enough to generate your entire monthly power consumption. If homeowners settle for a cheap system, they would have to pay additional energy consumption for a month and repay solar loans on the system, which can add to expenses incurred in a month. Instead of buying heat, you can always wire room heaters to your solar installation, since one of the biggest expenses in a month comes from the erratic usage of heating and cooling systems. The efficiency of this system can be further improved with a programmable thermostat.

5) Insulate every Nook and Cranny

Most homes never retain temperature, even if enough heat and cold has been generate in a house to keep the temperature stable enough for human comfort. This indirectly means that heating and cooling appliances are run throughout the day to ensure stable temperatures, but this pattern is not synonymous to energy efficiency. To remedy this condition, homeowners can ensure that their homes are well insulated, this includes the attic, because often heat and cold escape through the attic. A well insulated house would retain temperature generated within it, thus leading to better energy efficacy. Energy experts have recommended that hot water pipes and heating systems be insulated well to retain the heat for longer periods of time. In addition, ensure that your electrical outlets are also well insulated, since this happens to be a key location for heat or cold to escape.

6) Install good Windows and Flooring

When it comes to energy efficacy, windows and flooring can make a huge difference in retaining temperature. Double paneled windows that are also glazed will help prevent excessive cold or heat from penetrating the interiors of your house, thereby preventing unwarranted use of appliances to retain temperature. Most homeowners change old flooring into fancy tiles without considering the functionality of the floor in retaining temperature. To replace windows and flooring with temperature stabilizing alternatives in the market would improve a home tenfold.

 7) Replace Old Lights for Energy Efficient Lights

The days of CLF lights are over, now LED lights have flooded the market, and these have become cost efficient and energy efficient in recent years. It is important to replace your old lights for LED lights because they do not have harmful chemicals such as mercury that are poisoning the earth when these lights are disposed in landfills. In addition, LED lights last a long time and often carry warranties on their lifespan.

8) Programmable Thermostat

We run air conditioners and heaters throughout the day, since changing the thermostat to reflect the temperature of the day is cumbersome for many. Investing in a programmable thermostat will make you use up energy more efficiently, in addition to automatically moderating the temperature of a room without much intrusion from the homeowner. There are also air conditioners and room heaters that change temperatures in a room by using sensors to estimate weather conditions and the number of people in a given room.

9) Change Energy Companies

A lot of homeowners have started doing chores during discounted energy hours in a day, most energy companies give reduced rates during hours when people use less electricity. When the washing machine, dishwasher or any other appliance are run without filling them up, it is always a lose in terms of electricity utilized for the process. Try running these appliances on full during the discounted hours for a month, and compare your electricity bill to the previous month to understand savings on this simple change. If your power company does not offer discounted hours, this could be time to change.

10) Unplug by Installing a Standby Power Controller

Every device and appliance that is plugged in and ready to use is utilizing energy, since it is tedious to unplug and switch off every device you can invest in a standby power controller. The standby power controller can switch off every device or appliance from the source, and save a certain amount on electricity bills.

 

10 Advantages of Going Solar (for Homeowners)

1) Be part of the Revolution towards Renewable Energy

Most fossil fuels pollute the earth through the stages of processing to residues left behind as a result of eventual consumption, in addition such sources of fuels are depleting and cannot be renewed. Consequently, energy derived from the sun, water or wind is in a way infinite, as these resources can never be depleted. To adopt renewable forms of energy is to remove core sources of pollution and it also saves a lot of money on the long run.

2) Avail Large Tax Breaks from the Federal Government

The federal government gives solar tax credits to homeowners by cutting off nearly 30 % on the cost of a solar installation. These investment tax credits will be accessible until 2021 and can be claimed by homeowners and business properties. Solar tax credits can be claimed only when a homeowner owns the solar installation, such exemptions are not applicable for homeowners under power purchase agreements or solar leases. If you own a solar installation, remember to claim tax credits of upto 30% (on the overall cost of the installation), when you file taxes at the end of the year.

3) Rebates and Incentives from State Governments

Investment tax credits are offered by the federal government, but there are also state tax credits that are offered by individual states, these can be bundled with the investment tax credits to give substantial savings on a solar energy installation. The amount of the state tax credits differs from state to state but it should help bring down the overall amount on a solar energy installation. To find out tax credit plans and other governmental plans that support energy efficiency through renewable energy sources, to promote energy conservation through solar energy, visit  https://energy.gov/savings to find out rebates and savings available to homeowners.

4) No Electricity Bills for 40 Years

Since solar energy is a form of renewable energy, it is essentially free if it can be harnessed. This would mean that a homeowner would only have to put down a base amount to purchase the solar energy installation which should last for a minimum of 40 years. During this period, homeowners will not incur electricity bills since the solar energy installation is producing enough electricity to sustain the entire consumption capacity of the household.

5) Minimal Costs on Maintenance

Most solar energy installers will offer free maintenance or maintenance at reduced costs. Solar panels do not require much maintenance to keep them functional, you can wash the panels with warm water a few times a year and check for debris and dirt periodically.

6) Maintaining home temperature does not cost a penny

Solar energy systems can cost a homeowner from $10,000 to $32,000 without the addition of tax credits, rebates and incentives from the government. A solar energy system should be efficient enough to generate an entire months quota of power. When homeowners buy inefficient solar systems, they are burdened towards paying additional energy consumption rates for a month and also pay off solar loans on the system, which triples expenses incurred in a month. Instead of buying heat, you can always wire room heaters to your solar installation, since one of the biggest expenses in a month comes from the erratic usage of heating and cooling systems. The efficiency of the solar energy system can be further improved with a programmable thermostat.

 7) Optimum use of Energy

 When an adequate number of solar panels are installed to manage the entire output of a household’s consumption, the energy that is used is essentially clean. When the use of solar energy is compounded with investment into energy star appliances, this ensures energy efficiency and contributes towards zero waste living.

8) Reduced Rates of Interest on Solar Loans

 

To finance your solar energy installation, homeowners can avail subsidized loans from your bank, solar company and other organizations for low rates of interest. Banks offer solar loans for the sole purpose of helping homeowners purchase solar energy installations, such loans allow for monthly repayment plans, these rates differ from state to state.

9) An End to Environmental Pollution

Solar energy does not leave behind green house gases like fossil fuels does, thus if large sections of the population opt for renewable sources of energy, it would cut down emissions and increase air quality. The decision to opt for solar energy, can offset the creation of a significant amount of CO2. Since solar installations last for a lifetime, a single decision to invest in solar for electricity could cover almost 100 percent of a homes energy requirements. Emissions are a leading contributor to climate change and is one of the highest pollutants, that has accelerated global warming. Homeowners can take steps towards opting for solar energy and other renewable forms of energy, thus leaving a better planet for future generations.

10) Home taxes do not Increase

 

There are many states that have tax exemption policies towards homes with solar installations, where the value of the installation is not calculated with the overall valuation of the house. This thwarts property tax from raising in a homes with solar installations. The Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency (DSIRE) at http://www.dsireusa.org tabulates comprehensive information on rebates, incentives and tax credits recommended by the federal government and different states.