The EnergyStar program also covers buildings. That means it’s possible to buy a new house that has EnergyStar certification or improve one’s current home to make it more efficient. Building products certified by EnergyStar include roofing, windows, doors, skylights, insulation, and sealants.
An obvious consideration is that a drafty home is an inefficient home. If cold air is leaking into a house during the winter, the heater has to work harder to compensate and warm the house back up — which wastes energy and increases fuel bills. The same is true in regards to hot air that gets into a house during the summer, in which case the air conditioner has to work harder to cool things back down.
Similarly, a poorly insulated home is an inefficient home. Properly sealing and insulating a house will not only make it more efficient, but will also reduce noise, keep out bugs, pollen, and dust, and improve humidity control. EnergyStar does include a list of certified insulation. Their website also includes descriptions of how expensive and/or difficult a given project be. While many people might be able to seal a door, most people should hire a professional to insulate their attic.
Another way to improve home energy efficiency is to maintain or replace the heater and air conditioner. Both of these, especially the latter, can use a lot of power, so keeping them in tip-top shape is important. One relatively cheap way to maintain the HVAC system is to change the air filter every 1 – 3 months. A dirty filter will slow down air flow and make the system work harder to keep the house warm or cool, and it will also be less likely to keep dirt or dust from building up in the system, which could lead to expensive repairs.
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