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How Green is Your Home?

how green is your home

How energy efficient is your home? Many homeowners are not sure how to answer this question. In this guide, we will explore the different ways you can measure your home’s energy efficiency.

In the first part of this series, we discussed average energy bills and home energy scores in Portland. In this blog, we’ll help you understand how green your home is and the steps you can take steps to make it even more energy efficient.

How Energy-Efficient is YOUR Home?

There are many factors that influence your home’s green efficiency beyond just how you use energy. Find out how well your house stacks up and what you can do to improve your home’s green score and energy efficiency.

Is your house south or north-facing?

The orientation of your home is determined by where the front door is. Direction affects how much light and sun energy it receives. South-facing homes retain radiant heat in winter but are harder to cool in summer.

Do you have modern, updated windows?

Older, single-pane windows do a poor job of keeping out heat and cold while upgrading to energy-efficient windows can save 7 to 15 percent on annual household energy bills.

What type of lighting is used in your home?

Lighting can be up to 15 percent of a home’s energy use. LED and compact fluorescent lighting uses up to 90 percent less energy than incandescent and lasts longer.

Have you had your ducts inspected for leaks?

Leaky ductwork may be costing you money and wasting energy. Having your ducts inspected periodically can ensure your system is working optimally.

Do you seal up drafty doors?

Applying weather strips to your doors will not only make your home more comfortable but also save energy and stress on your HVAC system constantly trying to keep up.

Do you use your window treatments optimally?

Window shades, blinds, and drapes can help keep out heat in the summer and cold in the winter by closing them at peak cold or hot times of the day. If you have a home that is in the direct sun, window treatments can be opened during the winter to allow the sun to provide warmth while being used in the summer to deflect the sun’s hot rays.

Do you recycle?

Recycling paper, glass, and plastic reduces landfill waste while composting kitchen scraps can save money by strengthening your yard and garden soil at no cost.

Do you adjust the thermostat and use ceiling fans?

Ceiling fans can help you feel as much as 4 to 5 degrees cooler, allowing you to raise your air conditioner’s thermostat temperature by the same amount while maintaining comfort.

Do you turn off power strips when not in use?

Vampire loads such as laptops, TVs, and cable boxes continue to use energy even when not in use if they are plugged into an outlet or traditional power strip. Smart power strips that detect when a device is in standby mode actually cuts off power and save energy.

At what temperature do you wash your clothes?

Washing a full load of laundry with cold water and cold water detergents saves electricity on heating water.

How many energy-efficient appliances do you have?

Energy-efficient appliances are one of the easiest ways to lower your energy bill. Look for Energy Star rated:

Do you use eco-friendly products?

Eco-friendly products are made with sustainable materials that are often recycled, using less energy and reducing harmful toxins and chemicals.

Do you have solar power?

Solar power takes advantage of the sun and provides clean alternative energy for your home, saving both money and the environment.

Do you reduce water usage?

Droughts mean that many in the world do not have access to clean, safe water. Two of the best ways to save water are water-saving appliances and fixtures and reducing your water use habits, like taking a shorter shower.

Do you use reusable containers?

An easy and sustainable way to keep plastic out of our landfills is to use a reusable container that can be easily taken with you wherever you go.

Do you buy local?

Buying locally not only helps the local economy but also reduces transportation costs. Buying local produce and goods means that you are getting the freshest available in your area.

Tips for Improving the Energy Efficiency of Your Home

It is easy to get stuck in what to do to make your home more energy-efficient. There are small and big steps each homeowner can take to improve the energy efficiency of their home. Including:  

  • Replacing older windows with energy-efficient windows
  • Changing out older devices with energy-efficient appliances
  • Slowly moving towards energy-efficient lighting
  • Consider solar power
  • Installing low flow showerheads for water conservation
  • Improving home insulation
  • Weatherproofing your home
  • Draft proofing your home
  • Upgrading your thermostat to a smart thermostat
  • Upgrading your HVAC system to an Energy Star rated system

By following the tips above, you can make your home even more energy-efficient and sustainable. Not only will you be doing your part to help the environment but also saving money on energy bills.

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How Jacobs Can Help

Since heating and cooling systems are a significant part of your home’s energy use, upgrading your HVAC system will improve the energy efficiency of your home and save you money.  Our Jacobs Heating & Air Conditioning consultants will evaluate your home to ensure you have the best AC, furnace, or heat pump system for your home and comfort while lowering your carbon footprint, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and providing long-term savings.

Need to get your HVAC system running in tip-top condition? You can schedule a tune-up for your existing system, get on a maintenance plan or we can guide you through the decision-making process as you find the HVAC system that works best for you. No matter what you need we’re always just a phone call away. You are welcome to review our statement on COVID-19 and how we’re taking precautions to protect you, our team, and our communities.

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About the Author

Amanda Jacobs portrait

Amanda Jacobs, Internal Project Manager

Amanda Jacobs is an Internal Projects Manager and 3rd generation member of Jacobs Heating & Air Conditioning. She received her MBA from Seattle University and has worked for a leading HVAC training and consulting firm. When not talking HVAC on the Jacobs Blog, you can find her on the golf course or whipping up her famous vegan chili.