5 Steps to Turn Your House into a Smart, Energy-Saving Home

| 1/27/2016 3:40:00 PM

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Want to get smart about protecting the planet? The first thing you need to do is stop wasting Mother Earth’s precious resources in your home. Two years ago, America won the dubious honor of being the worldwide leader in wasting energy. Considering U.S. households use 25 percent of the energy the world consumes, reducing energy waste in the home is an essential step everyone can take to limit this negative impact.

Of course, this is old news to most eco-warriors, and the majority of Americans have been fed a steady diet of information about how to save energy at home for the last decade or two (thanks to the EPA’s Energy Star program). What is new, however, is that now our homes can help save energy all by themselves if we just give them the “smarts” to do so.

Here are the top five ways you can use home automation to turn your house into a smart, energy-saving abode:

1. Install a Smart Thermostat

Programmable thermostats have been helping homeowners save money for decades, but the addition of “smarts” by using self-adjusting thermostats has saved an additional 8-15 percent on electrical bills, on average. In a study of various smart thermostats, the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy estimates that they “...provide electricity savings for 2-3 cents per kWh saved, and that overall they can reduce total US electricity use across all sectors by about [half a percent].”

Smart thermostats can cost between $250 and $300 and are manufactured by brands such as Honeywell, Nest and Ecobee.

4/20/2018 8:56:59 AM

The most useful tech gadget is a calculator. Figure out how much energy your different loads take and see how long an upgrade will take to pay back. Sometimes it makes no sense. My closet lights are still incandescent, but I have LED task lights instead of big whole-room lights. My main electric loads are now the refrigerator and dehumidifier, but more efficient ones will take too long to pay back the investment so why trash them? Put things in perspective. My energy bills (except for the cars) are down to $3 a day. I don't need a $200 thermostat when I can turn it down myself when I go out.

1/31/2016 6:07:26 PM

The largest heat loss/heat gain for a house is through air infiltration/exfiltration. Cut down on air movement by caulking, weather stripping, sealing around penetrations of an insulated ceiling, seal around electrical outlets/switches, etc. Reducing air movement is usually inexpensive and very effective.

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