The average Bay Area (Santa Cruz to Marin) family spends $2,400 a year on energy bills, much of which goes to heating and cooling our homes. Consumers can save as much as 20 percent annually on total energy costs – and reduce their environmental impact – by following four simple recommendations from the government's Energy Star program.
These four steps will help you "H.E.A.T" smartly while reducing home energy consumption and environmental impact this winter:
- H Home Sealing. Seal air leaks and add insulation – paying special attention to your attic and basement, where the biggest gaps and cracks are often found. This will keep warm air inside where it belongs and help your equipment perform more efficiently.
- E Equipment Maintenance. Dirt and neglect are the number one causes of system failure. Get a check-up of your heating system to make sure it's performing efficiently and safely. Clean or replace your system's air filter to help lower energy bills and maintain better indoor air quality.
- A Ask for Energy Star. Look for the Energy Star label when purchasing products. Ask about Ultra LowNox Water Heaters, furnaces with high efficiency ECM motors, and air conditioners with variable compressors. If just one in 10 households bought Energy Star qualified heating and cooling products, the change would keep 18 billion pounds of greenhouse gas emissions out of our air.
- T Thermostat Use. Install a programmable thermostat to save energy during times when you're home or away. Go a step further and purchase a thermostat like the iComfort S30 from Lennox which uses geopositioning to know when you’re home or away. When properly used, a programmable thermostat can save as much as $150 a year in energy costs.
There is also an easy way for businesses and other organizations to save 10 percent or more on their energy bills this winter: turn down the heat. Many businesses operate their heating systems 24 hours a day, even when no one is using the facility. If businesses cut back just one hour of operation out of every 12, their energy savings could equal about eight percent. If every business in the United States saved 10 percent on their energy bills, Americans would save about $10 billion and reduce greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to those from 15 million vehicles.