Energy Efficiency FAQs

Detecting Heat Loss at the House With Infrared Thermal Camera

What is energy efficiency?

Energy efficiency is a good way to reduce the demand for heating, cooling, and electricity. You can save a lot of energy (and money on utility bills) by changing your behavior, using more energy-efficient light bulbs, upgrading your appliances and HVAC equipment, and adding more insulation. When you build a new facility, home, or renovate an existing one, you have a chance to make it more energy-efficient through both the design and the technology you use.

What is the difference between energy efficiency and energy conservation?

Energy efficiency makes it so you use less energy to do the same job; energy conservation prevents the waste of that energy. Both are recommended.

What is Whole-House Weatherization and Energy Efficiency? What are the benefits of upgrading for my home?

There are countless ways to save on energy at home and up to 50% of your household's energy usage goes toward heating and cooling. That's why it's a good idea to check for leaky windows and doors, and seal up your home to keep the warm or cool air inside where it belongs. And without the right sealing and insulation — on your windows, doors, electrical components, and even attics — the warm or cool air inside your home can escape—wasting money and energy.

Going beyond just air sealing, insulation, and weatherization involves a complete HVAC system upgrade for your home.

Continue reading:

Does air sealing and insulation involve window replacement?

Air sealing and insulation are much more effective (and affordable!) solutions than installing windows, according to industry-leading residential energy efficiency company Sealed. While most residential energy efficiency companies don't install windows, they are happy to coordinate window installation.

What tax credits and financial incentives are there for energy-efficiency home upgrades?

Federal incentives

  • The federal government's Energy Star Program rates the efficiency of many appliances and is a good guide when purchasing new equipment.
  • The IRS has also published energy incentives for individuals making homes more energy efficiency by installing alternative energy equipment, like solar energy systems. The federal incentives are currently a 26% rebate for solar energy systems for your home.

Local and electric utilities: many utilities offer rebates for energy-efficient purchases. It is always a good idea to check with your electric utility if they have any specific local rebate programs and recommendations. Not just that, but your state may also have event more incentives.

For more, read the the Energy Tax Credits article (TurboTax).

I am interested in residential energy efficiency opportunities. What are the first steps?

Conducting a home or energy audit is one of the first steps to saving energy and money. An audit will provide a clear picture of where energy is being used and how much it costs. Watch a short 3.5min video that details the home energy assessment process:

You can also learn how to conduct a home energy assessment yourself.

Before the audit, calculate your potential savings using this energy savings calculator. After getting your savings, get in touch with a local company or your electric utility company to get a residential energy audit. After the audit, make a plan specifying energy targets. Some energy targets may include simple energy efficient measures, such as:

What types of projects are considered Home Energy Improvements?

After you take a home performance assessment, you are then best equipped to begin home upgrades to get the biggest comfort and savings. Projects entail:

  • Sealing Air Leaks and Adding Insulation are important for improving your home's energy efficiency.
  • Sealing Ductwork: Properly connecting, sealing, and insulating ducts will improve your home’s comfort and energy efficiency.
  • Improving Heating, Cooling, and Ventilation Systems: If your furnace or air conditioner is old or damaged, your contractor may recommend that you replace it with a unit that has earned the ENERGY STAR label.
  • Upgrading Lighting, Appliances, and Water Heating Equipment: You can save a lot of money on your utility bill by upgrading to energy efficient lighting, appliances, and water heating equipment. ENERGY STAR qualified products are a great option.
  • Replacing Windows: Your contractor may recommend ENERGY STAR qualified models to replace your home's windows depending on the climate.
  • Installing renewable energy systems, like solar panels or a solar hot water system, can help save even more energy.

For even more tips for your home, see 7 energy-efficient heating and cooling tips, along with

Make energy-saving upgrades to your household today through the energy savings calculator. You'll get energy savings estimates in just 60 seconds.

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