Making homes more efficient is the first, most important step toward creating a eco-friendly home—less wasted heat and air conditioning means less wasted electricity or gas; any alternative energy system can be made smaller and more affordable by first increasing the home’s efficiency; and more efficient homes cost less to live in.
So it’s great news that the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, recently passed into law by President Barack Obama, is sending $5 billion to the Department of Energy’s Weatherization Assistance Program. With the money, the Department of Energy estimates it will be able to weatherize 1.4 million American homes (many of them belonging to low-income residents) by the end of 2011 and create more than 35,000 jobs.
Weatherizing is easy. Just a few simple changes can greatly reduce the amount of energy your home requires to stay comfortable. First, get an energy audit or do your own home energy audit. These inexpensive tests help you find out how efficiently your home operates. Then, seal obvious gaps in your home’s exterior envelope. A programmable thermostat is a simple way to stop wasting energy when you’re away from home. Plant large trees or shrubs along your home’s south side to block summer sun. And make sure your furnace and air-conditioning are running efficiently.
We all want to do our part right now. Weatherizing your home is a great place to start.
A programmable thermostat can help you save money on heating and cooling bills. Photo courtesy Flickr/cthoyes