Helping Home Owners Reduce Energy Consumption

Fixing up an existing home to be more energy efficient is an effective way to save energy and reduce the cost of homeownership. This includes a variety of projects from replacing old light bulbs to upgrading appliances and installing new insulation. Practical home improvement has become popular among savvy homeowners looking to save. Expenditures for energy efficient home improvements will grow to more than $50 billion by 2014, this is an area, as a contractor, on which you could capitalize.

“Retrofitting an existing home to make it more green and an energy efficient structure is easier than some homeowners might realize,” says Jeff Kaliner, founder and CEO of Power Home Remodeling Group, the nation’s fourth largest home remodeling company. Power’s tips for contractors looking to help make homes more energy efficient and environmentally friendly are:

•Windows — Energy efficient windows are better insulated, allowing a home to stay cooler in summer and warmer in winter. If homeowners are not able to replace their home’s windows, closing cracks and seals with caulk to reduce air leakage is a great alternative.

Insulation — According to the US Department of Energy, more than 50 percent of the energy used in a typical American home is for heating and cooling the air. Energy usage for heating and cooling is high because conditioned air often escapes through poorly insulated walls and attics creating a never-ending cycle of circulating air. Updating a home’s insulation may allow homeowners to retain conditioned air and spend less to keep the home comfortable. Homeowners can receive up to $500 in tax credit for updating insulation in 2011.

Doors — Old or improperly sealed doors can significantly affect a home’s energy efficiency by allowing conditioned air to easily escape. Installing a new door can provide more effective insulation than older ones. Weather-stripping is another cost effective way to seal air leaks around an existing door.

Light bulbs — According to ENERGY START, if every American home replaced just one light with an energy efficient CFL light bulb enough energy would be saved to light 3 million homes for a year. With a cost of just over $2 per bulb, switching to CFL light bulbs is a very cost-effective project.

Programmable thermostat — The US Department of Energy reports that homeowners can save roughly 10 percent on heating and cooling bills by turning their thermostat back 10 to 15 degrees for eight hours a day. A programmable thermostat will automatically adjust the temperature of a home while the homeowner is at work or asleep, making energy reduction easy.

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