The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is launching its Energy Star Home Advisor, an online tool designed to help Americans save money and energy by improving the energy efficiency of their homes through recommended, customized and prioritized home-improvement projects.
“As we enter the winter months, homeowners can use our new Energy Star Home Advisor to increase energy efficiency and save money while reducing greenhouse gas emissions that fuel climate change,” said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. “When homeowners take advantage of this important tool and increase the energy efficiency of their homes, many families will notice savings on energy bills and improvements in the comfort of their homes.”
The updated Energy Star Home Advisor guides the homeowner through a “do-it-yourself” energy assessment to create an Energy Star home profile. Based on the newly created profile, the Home Advisor provides customized, prioritized recommendations for improvements. From these recommendations, users can create their own to-do lists of projects such as adding insulation to the attic or replacing an HVAC air filter.
Over time, users can update their home profiles as they make improvements, see the positive environmental impacts of the changes they’ve made, get additional recommendations, and update their “to-do” lists for future projects. The home profiles can also be printed and used at the time of sale.
The announcement is part of EPA’s Energy Efficiency Action Week, during which EPA regional offices across the country will hold events to increase awareness about the energy and cost savings associated with energy efficiency upgrades, especially in the winter months.
More on EPA’s Energy Star Home Advisor: www.energystar.gov/homeadvisor
Homeowners can also use the following Energy Star tips to save energy and money at home this winter:
Get a Home Energy Audit – Home energy auditors are trained and certified in how to find energy problems using specialized equipment to pinpoint key areas for improvement and provide customized recommended solutions. In select states, Home Performance with Energy Star offers an energy assessment that focuses on a systematic approach to improving energy efficiency and comfort.
Seal and Insulate – The average home spends $2,000 on utility bills each year. Heating and cooling costs account for nearly half of that amount. Energy Star estimates that homeowners can save up to 10 percent on heating and cooling costs by sealing air leaks and adding insulation.
Learn more through Energy Star’s “Rule Your Attic!” campaign, which encourages homeowners to measure their attic insulation levels as a first step toward making their homes more energy efficient and comfortable. More: www.energystar.gov/ruleyourattic.
Heat Efficiently – Energy Star recommends that homeowners check their HVAC system air filters every month. A dirty filter will slow air flow and make the system work harder — wasting energy and possibly shortening the life of the system. A good rule to follow is change the filter every three months.
Energy Star also recommends that homeowners have HVAC systems serviced annually by a licensed contractor to ensure they’re running at optimum efficiency. If the heating system is over 15 years old, consider planning for its replacement with a high efficiency unit. Today’s Energy Star certified condensing furnaces operate at over 90 percent efficiency. Depending on where one lives, replacing old heating and cooling equipment with newly certified Energy Star equipment can cut annual energy bills by more than $115. More: www.energystar.gov/heating
Use a Programmable Thermostat. Avoid heating the house when not necessary, and save almost $200 a year. Programming the thermostat to turn the temperature down 8 degrees for 7 hours each night and an additional 7 hours each weekday could result in a seasonal heating savings of approximately 12 percent. More: www.energystar.gov/pts
Make “Bright” Choices For Lighting. To get the energy efficiency and performance expected, look for the Energy Star label. LED bulbs that earn the label are independently certified to ensure they deliver on brightness and color and shine light where it’s needed. More: www.energystar.gov/led
Decorate for the Holidays with Energy Star Light Strings. Energy Star certified light strings use 50 percent less electricity than incandescent light strings and are available in a variety of colors, shapes and lengths. They are more durable, shock-resistant and cooler to the touch. Some models deliver features such as dimming or color shifting. More: www.energystar.gov/dls
Choose Energy Star Certified Electronics. A home equipped with TVs, set-top boxes, a Blu-Ray player, and a home theatre in a box that have all earned the Energy Star can save more than $280 over the life of the products. If streaming movies or videos over the Internet, remember that laptops and tablets use less energy compared to streaming over desktop computers or game consoles. More: www.energystar.gov/holiday
Tips from EPA’s WaterSense Program include:
Many Americans know about the importance of saving energy and water. But few know about the drops-to-watts connection – that it takes energy to pump, treat, heat, and deliver the water we use every day for showering, bathing, cooking and cleaning. In fact, homes with electric water heaters spend one-fourth of their total electric bills just to heat water.
Save 2,900 Gallons of Water at Home. One of the easiest ways to save energy and water is to install water-efficient, high-performing WaterSense labeled products such as showerheads. By replacing just one showerhead with a WaterSense labeled model, EPA estimates the average family can save 2,900 gallons of water, or the amount of electricity needed to power an entire home for 13 days.
Install WaterSense Fixtures and Energy Star Appliances. If every home in the United States were equipped with WaterSense labeled fixtures and Energy Star certified appliances, water and wastewater utilities could save 12 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity per year and save $775 million in electricity costs per year.
Shower Better and Save $5 Billion in Water and Energy. Simple changes made at home add up across the country. If every home in the United States replaced existing showerheads with WaterSense labeled models, the nation could save more than 260 billion gallons of water and more than $5 billion in water and energy costs annually.
More on EPA’s WaterSense Tips: http://epa.gov/watersense/our_water/start_saving.html
Learn more about how saving water saves energy: epa.gov/watersense/pubs/waterenergy.html