Are You Saving Energy?

An Olivieri Brothers White Paper, Winter 2016

 

By:  Kevin Walsh

 

Are You as Energy Efficient as You’d Like to be?

 

Your building consumes a great deal of energy every day to remain comfortable and functional. You are reminded of this when the energy bills come every month. But, are you paying too much? You can reduce your energy bills by implementing a few energy efficient initiatives throughout your home or office. As an added benefit, many efficiency measures have a positive impact on the quality of the indoor environment.

LED’s

 

There has been some hype over the use of energy efficient LED lights lately, and for good reason. The up-front cost is typically higher than traditional lighting, but the benefits are worth investigating. The benefits include low energy consumption, longer life spans, low heat output, as well as options for a more welcoming light temperature (color) depending on the use of the space. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, LED lights generally use 75% less energy and last 25 times longer than incandescent lighting.

 

Insulation & Windows

 

Come winter time, a major concern for many people is the ability to maintain a comfortable temperature in their home or office, preferably without breaking the bank. Poor insulation in older buildings can cause issues, but often times, correcting this would be an extensive undertaking. Since heat loss is typically most common at openings, sealing around doors and windows could reduce heat loss. If you are considering door or window replacement, consult with a professional on appropriate insulation values and solar heat gain ratings.

 

Landscaping

 

Believe it or not, landscaping can contribute to energy savings. In the Chicago-area climate, deciduous (oak, maples, etc.) trees on the south and west facing walls can reduce the direct sunlight on the building, and by doing so, reducing any solar heat gains experienced in the space. Come winter time, deciduous trees will allow direct sunlight, providing some solar heat. Coniferous trees and shrubs (pine, spruces, etc.) should be used to block the cold winter prevailing winds.

 

Furnaces

 

Over time, mechanical ducts can begin to leak at joints and connections. Leaky ducts can prevent the mechanical system from efficiently distributing conditioned air throughout a space, causing the system to run longer than necessary. Safely check the connection seams on your ducts for leaks, and tape/seal all leaks. Additionally, most ceiling fans have clockwise and counterclockwise settings for the appropriate season. In winter, set the ceiling fan on low in the correct direction to pull air up in order to re-circulate warm air throughout a room. During the warmer months, the air should be blown down to cool.

 

Appliances

 

When purchasing new appliances such as clothes dryers, hot water heaters, refrigerators, furnace/AC units, etc., consider the energy efficiency rating on each unit. More efficient units will likely have higher up-front costs, but consider the life span of the appliance and the overall energy savings throughout the life of appliance.

Often times, home and building owners want to become more energy efficient to either save money, be more environmentally friendly, or even to help improve the quality of interior space. No matter the reason, energy efficient upgrades are always worth considering. When doing so, carefully review your options, and seek professional consultation if you have questions or concerns.

 

For more energy saving tips and incentives, visit the U.S. Department of Energy’s website at http://energy.gov/energysaver/energy-saver-guide-tips-saving-money-and-energy-home

 

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Energy auditors can be valuable if there are significant concerns regarding energy consumption in your home or building. These certified professionals perform an analysis of the building, and often time, they recommend an appropriate solution to any issue affecting the energy consumption.

 

Check out http://energy.gov/energysaver/professional-home-energy-audits to find an energy auditor to perform an energy analysis.

 

 

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