Tired of seeing a sharp increase in your energy bill? According to a study by The Demand Institute, American household spending on electricity has grown an average of 56% since 2000. According to the same report, 71% of American home owners say a home’s energy efficiency is important. 67% of the study has taken some measure to increase efficiency, but only 35% were satisfied with the results. It now seems that going green is no longer only about sustainable living, but also lowering energy cost as well.
So, suppose you’ve seen the light and have taken action to go as green as heating and cooling technology allows. You’ve insulated your home to the hilt, installed the highest efficiency HVAC equipment, and coupled it with a programmable thermostat. You’ve had your home zoned to suit characteristics of different rooms, sealed all the leaks in your duct-work, and made sure your refrigerant is fully charged. Your home is set for maximum energy efficiency, well, maybe.
A recent study by Michigan State University’s School of Planning, Design and Construction determined that energy-efficient technology is only as effective as the people using it. MSU researchers found that personal habits can waste even more energy than technology can save. The researchers collected data from 320 certified green residential units and calculated that around 43% of energy efficiency is determined by the equipment used. The rest owes to occupant behavior. Here are examples of the various ways you can become more energy efficient:
Most residents set their thermostat to 68 degrees during hot weather, or even lower depending on the humidity. Instead, set your air conditioners at 72 degrees to achieve its highest efficiency.
Open windows also diminish energy efficiency, whether done intentionally to “let in fresh air” or inadvertently because someone forgot to close them. There is no harm done if your HVAC equipment is turned off, but many have discovered their furnace or heat pump is running with the windows cracked open. The greenest HVAC technology known to man cannot hope to efficiently cool or heat the outdoors!
Use fans (in summertime) and space heaters (in cold weather) to reduce the burden on your furnace and compressor. This is especially useful if a system is imbalanced. Rather than cranking up the A/C to cool the hottest spot in your home, a ceiling fan can do the job; a space heater might be called for in that household nook far away from a furnace register.
Energy savings also can be achieved by running dishwashers, clothes washers, and dryers at off-peak hours. Many modern appliances are equipped with time-delay settings that make this easy to do. Western Heating & Air Conditioning can help you select, install, and maintain an HVAC system to provide maximum comfort and energy efficiency. However, your lifestyle and commitment to green living will ultimately help you reach the highest savings potential.