The average U.S. homeowner spends $2,270 per year in energy bills (electricity and gas), with half of that going toward heating and cooling. Smart homeowners make decisions to conserve energy and fight climate change. Houses consume nearly 21 percent of total U.S. energy production. Including green features in your home can put money in your pocket by reducing utility bills and taking advantage of energy-saver rebates.
1. Weatherize your home. Keep doors and windows airtight by weatherstripping, caulking, and painting them regularly.
2. Use light paint colors for your house's exterior. Lighter colors reflect heat better than darker ones.
3. Insulate the attic, basement, and crawl space. About 20 percent of energy costs come from heat loss in those areas.
4. Install fireplace draft stoppers, attic door covers, and dryer vent seals that open only when your dryer is in use.
5. Plant trees. Evergreen trees on the north and west sides of your house can help block winter winds, and leafy trees on the south and west provide shade from the summer sun.
6. Have an energy audit done by your local utility company. Edison offers a 15-minute online survey that will give you helpful energy-saving tips that will also help the environment. Click HERE for the online survey.
7. In summer, open the windows and use fans and dehumidifiers, which consume less energy than air-conditioning.
8. Replace older appliances with Energy Star rated appliances which offer rebates, including washers, dryers, dishwashers, refrigerators, and water heaters.
9. Replace incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent light bulbs. Turn off lights when not in use.
10. Shut off energy wasters, such as computers, printers, game consoles when not in use. Consumer electric products are responsible for approximately 15 percent of household electricity use. Devices still use energy when they're switched off to power features such as clock displays and remote controls - in fact, the average U.S. household spends $100 each year to power devices while they are in "standby" or "sleep" mode. A multi-outlet power strip makes shutting off the power as easy as pushing a button.
11. Change the filter in your forced air unit to maximize air flow in your heating and air conditioning, ease strain on the motor, and improve air quality in your home.
Our abundance sunshine makes San Dimas ideal for solar energy systems. You can change sunlight directly to electricity using solar cells. Solar cells are also called photovoltaic cells or "PV cells". PV systems today can be blended easily into both traditional and nontraditional homes, powering appliances and electric systems. Click HERE for more information.
State and federal tax credits are available as incentives for homeowners to make green choices for their home:
Under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, taxpayers are eligible for up to $1,500 in tax credits for a range of home energy efficiency improvements--such as adding insulation, installing energy efficient windows, or replacing water heaters. The Recovery Act expanded residential efficiency tax credits for some energy-efficiency improvements, including replacing doors and windows; upgrading heating, ventilation and air conditioning equipment; adding insulation; or replacing a water heater. Click HERE for more information about tax credits.
Through 2010, homeowners can receive a tax credit for 30% of the cost of the improvements, up to $1,500. Taxpayers can collect on those benefits this year as they file their 2009 tax returns, and can continue to receive tax credits through the end of 2010. To help make sure that taxpayers are aware of the Recovery Act benefits they are eligible for this year, the Obama Administration launched a new interactive Tax Savings Tool. Click HERE to access the White House Web site.
These tax credits are in addition to the energy and cost savings that come with energy efficiency. Investments in efficiency products can save homeowners up to 40% on energy costs over the long-term.
Consumers who installed renewable energy systems in their homes, including solar panels, geothermal heat pumps, or wind turbines, are also eligible for tax credits for 30% of the cost of the systems, which are available through 2016. Click HERE for additional details on the renewable energy tax credits available on the Energy Savers Web site.
For more easy money-saving tricks for your home, visit energystar.gov. Click HERE for Energy Star appliance rebates and federal tax credits.
State tax credits, rebates and other incentives can be searched for at the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency. Click HERE to search the database.
Edison offers customer rebates for many green home choices, such as buying Energy Star appliances. Click HERE for more information.
This 15-minute survey puts the power back in your hands by giving you helpful energy-saving tips that will also help the environment. Since the questions are about your household energy usage, the tips are tailored especially for you to maximize your savings. The less energy you use, the better it is for the environment! Click HERE to take survey.
Click HERE for residential energy solutions from Southern California Edison.