Living green isn’t only the right thing to do…it’s also the smart thing to do.
In California heating and cooling is likely your largest energy expense so changes made here may have the biggest impact on your budget. Heating and cooling costs comprise 50% or more of the average American utility bill.
One of the best ways to curb heating and cooling bills is to use a programmable digital thermostat set to accommodate your family’s schedule. The thermostat will automatically raise and lower temperatures as needed, conserving energy and keeping your home at comfortable temperature levels.
In Sacramento the cooling systems is the major user of energy. Creating a green home starts with effectively using the energy dedicated to the cooling of the house. Following is a list of way to lower your cooling energy provided by Live Green Save Green and American home shield.
• In general, central air conditioners are more energy efficient than room air conditioners.
• To save on energy costs, turn your thermostat up two degrees in the summer. Your family will likely not notice such a small change but you’ll use less energy. Also, turn the air conditioner up when the house is empty.
• Switching to high efficiency air conditioning units can reduce energy use by 20–50%, so consider replacing the outdoor compressors of older units with newer systems. Even if your air conditioner is only ten years old, you could save significantly on energy costs.
• Look for a model with a high efficiency rating. Central air conditioners are rated according to Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating (SEER), which measures the amount of energy needed to provide a specific cooling output. Many older systems have SEER 6 or less. The minimum SEER allowed today is 13. The higher the SEER, the greater your energy savings are. (Look for ENERGY STAR labeled central air conditioning systems with SEER 13/14 or greater.)
• The efficiency of room air conditioners is lower than central air conditioning units, but the costs to operate room units may be less. Room air conditioning efficiency is measured by Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER). The higher the EER, the more efficient the unit is. Room air conditioners built after Jan. 1, 1990, must have EER of 8.0 or greater. Look for units with EER of 10 or more.
• Placing the condensing unit in a shady spot can reduce cooling costs by up to 2%. If moving the condensing unit isn’t feasible, consider adding some shade plantings around it, but take care to regularly remove leaves and other debris that may fall into or onto the unit.
• Installing a lighter color roof or reflective roofing can also lower cooling costs.
• Attic fans help cool attics and reduce cooling costs, too. Some newer attic fans are even solar powered.
Make sure the roof is properly vented for maximum benefits.
• White window treatments reflect heat away from the house, reducing air conditioning needs as well as letting in more light and reducing the need for artificial lighting.
• Close off all rooms that are not in use.
Green homes in California not only help with the energy usage but add to the resale value. Dan Parisi CEO of Coffee Real Estate says “Green homes are great for the environment and the owner’s assets. They will appreciate more than the energy saving.”