Cost Effective Energy Improvements

Insulating existing homes to maximize comfort and energy efficiency.

Cost Effective Energy Improvements

Postby amor » Sat Jan 29, 2011 12:53 pm

What are the most cost-effective improvements that I can make to my home to save energy?
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Re: Cost Effective Energy Improvements

Postby boblee » Mon Feb 07, 2011 9:24 am

In order of ease of implementation and cost-effectiveness, here is my list

Conservation:
1) Change light bulbs to efficient ones, such as CFL or LED
2) Disconnect (not just turn off) electrics equipment not in use. Connecting the electronics to a power strip which can be switched off and on is easiest
3) Change household appliances and electronics to energy efficient ones. Follow the EnergyStar as guide.

Insulation
4) Air seal all leakages in a house
5) Add attic insulation
6) Add exterior wall insulation (this is probably easiest done at the same time as a remodel when walls are taken down)
7) Add underfloor insulation
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Re: Cost Effective Energy Improvements

Postby jkee » Sat Mar 05, 2011 4:30 pm

If you are not ready to do all the work mentioned by boblee, you will feel the difference by just sealing all the holes, cracks, around the windows and doors. I should know because I did that. I can’t feel the draft any more. I can feel the difference. My next project is to add some more insulation in my attic to make it at least R-38. My house should be a lot more comfortable and more energy efficient after I get my insulation done.
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Re: Cost Effective Energy Improvements

Postby Tosca » Fri Mar 11, 2011 1:07 pm

There are rebates offered by PG&E and other Utility Companies (check with your local utility company) to help homeowners to reduce usage of energy and save money in the long run.

There is a $1000 rebate offered by PG&E for a package of measures that includes air sealing, attic insulation, duct sealing, insulation of hot water pipes, low-flow shower heads, combustion safety testing, carbon monoxide detector. Another rebate of up to $4000 also offered by PG&E is for the basic package measures as well as additional energy saving measures for each home. The rebate depends on predicted energy savings, starting at 15%.

The funding is from ARRA (American Recovery & Reinvestment Act, the federal stimulus funds) and various sources. For more information https://energyupgradeca.org/overview
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Re: Cost Effective Energy Improvements

Postby tothe » Wed Mar 30, 2011 12:54 pm

And don't forget the $500 federal tax credit!
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Re: Cost Effective Energy Improvements

Postby tothe » Mon Apr 11, 2011 10:31 am

Here are the products eligible for tax credits through 2011 for primary existing home. $500 federal tax credit including the following: Heating and Cooling system; insulation 10% of the cost, up to $500; roofing 10% of cost, up to $500; water heater $300; windows, doors, skylights (you cannot find skylights to qualify) 10% of the cost, up to $500, but windows are capped at $200.
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Re: Cost Effective Energy Improvements

Postby Tosca » Sat Apr 23, 2011 9:10 pm

Call or check out the website of your utility company for rebates. You may get additional rebates through your city or county. Also check out a website with a comprehensive source of information on state, local, utility and federal incentives that promote renewable energy and energy efficiency. DSIRE http://www.dsireusa.org/ Good luck!
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Re: Cost Effective Energy Improvements

Postby Brian » Sat Jun 04, 2011 2:54 pm

I always recommend the following and have found them to offer the most immediate impact with the lowest entry cost.

1. Adding insulation in the attic and walls. For eco friendly versions there is EcoBatt - free of formaldehyde, phenol, and acrylics or Ultra Touch Denim Insulation - a cotton fiber insulation made of post production scraps from the denim industry.

2. Installing a radiant foil barrier in the attic to reflect the radiant energy of the sun. I like Aluma-Foil.

3. Installing a solar attic fan on the roof to actively pull heat out of the attic.

I didn't touch on fluorescent bulbs as I think everyone is pretty aware of these by now, but the ones above can make a dramatic difference in the heating and cooling of a home and all can be done by the average homeowner or local handyman.

These are also one time only installations. Once they've been incorporated into the home, that are there for the live of the home and working every day.
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Location: Los Angeles

Re: Cost Effective Energy Improvements

Postby Maheshkumar » Sun Jun 19, 2011 10:36 am

You can do many things, like get solar panels, grow trees in certain window areas (the trees that grow only during the summer and not the winter, so sun goes in in the winter, and not the summer). Ceiling fans that blow hot air back down, etc.. etc.. Metal Extrusion
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Re: Cost Effective Energy Improvements

Postby Loppstop » Tue Aug 23, 2011 9:13 pm

One of the most simple things you can do to save on energy is turning your air conditioner up two degrees in the summer, and keeping it down two degrees in the winter. This will lower your energy costs by a considerable amount. Also learning to take colder showers will help lower your energy costs as well. I even started hand washing items in our sink so the washing machines don't need to run as often.
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