Energy Star has become a recognized household name second only to the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval. It is a leader in new home performance and is setting standards for green building to meet its guidelines. Energy Star isn’t just for the Home Builders or Green Building Pro’s anymore. With the great tools available on the Energy Start web site you can save energy in your home too!
At Picacho Mountain we encourage all of our residents and builders to explore the benefits of Energy Star and other green building certifications.
Since not everyone is in the process of building or planning to build a new home, I thought it would be great to look at some of the Energy Star upgrades you can use in your existing home The Energy Star website has a variety of tools available to help homeowners in assessing the energy efficiency of their homes and find solutions for areas that need improvement.
Improving the efficiency of your home means savings on utility bills and greater comfort for everyone in your home. Both are great reasons to look into Energy Star.
Energy Star focuses on many areas to improve energy efficiency, including tight construction and ducts, effective insulation systems, efficient heating and cooling equipment, high performance windows and efficient products such as appliances, light fixtures and more. Each of these areas can be addressed in existing homes.
All you need is a record of your last 12 months of energy bills. Submit the information along with your zip code to get an evaluation of how your home performs compared to similar homes around the country.
It’s called the Home Energy Yardstick and it’s a great place to begin evaluating your home’s energy performance.
Then, use the Home Energy Adviser available at energystar.gov to get recommendations for energy saving home improvements for typical homes in your area.
It’s estimated that a homeowner can save up to 20 percent on heating and cooling costs by sealing and insulating. Sealing and insulating the “envelope” or “shell” of your home – its out er walls, ceiling, windows, doors and floors – is often the most cost effective way to improve energy efficiency and comfort.
You may already be aware of air leaks because you feel drafts around windows and doors. Other areas in the home, such as attics and crawlspaces, may be less easy to find, but definitely need to be addressed in order to seal and insulate your home. Many of these fixes can be done by you as the homeowner, or you may hire a contractor who has special diagnostic tools to assess and fix any problems. You can check with a Home Energy Rater in our area to help you find an Energy Star contractor.
The Energy Star website has a great tool to begin the sealing and insulating process. It is the do-it-yourself guide to sealing and insulating with Energy Star. Fortunately there are a lot of good products on the market for the “do it yourselfer.”
After your sealing project, Energy Star recommends having a heating and cooling technician check that your combustion appliances (gas furnace, water heater and dryer) are venting properly.
Another area that impacts energy efficiency in your home and directly affects your pocketbook is your home heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) system. It represents approximately half of your home’s energy use. Properly installed heating and cooling systems use less energy to operate.
If your home is more than 10 years old or you notice your heating and cooling are not working well, you might consider installing a new Energy Star HVAC system. Ask your contractor to make sure your new unit is Energy Star, so you know your are getting the highest energy efficiency from your new system.
There are some practical ways you can keep your current HVAC system running properly. Check your air filter monthly and change it if it looks dirty. A good rule of thumb is to change it every three months. Proper air flow keeps your system working and reduces the buildup of dust and dirt.
Have your HVAC equipment checked yearly to make sure it is performing efficiently and consider installing a programmable thermostat. Use of pre-programmed settings can save on your annual energy costs.
These are just a few of the ways that Energy Star can save you money and energy in your home.
For more information and tips on how to seal and insulate and heating and cooling of your home, visit energystar.gov.
Contact us today at 575-523-2500 to find out how to build your next Energy Star or Build Green New Mexico certified home at Picacho Mountain. Featuring luxury homes from the $430’s.