You don't have to be a home improvement expert to make some weatherization improvements at your home or business. There are some fairly easy steps all energy consumers can take to help reduce energy use, helping cut costs on their utility bills. Some improvements may also qualify you for cash-back rewards or grants through Focus on Energy or tax credits through the federal energy tax credits program.
There are several ways to reduce energy consumption by simply changing how you light your home or business.
- Turn off lights in rooms not being used.
- Use task lighting instead of lighting an entire room.
- Use solar outdoor lights or use a timer so they will turn off during the day.
- Use ENERGY STAR® lamps and energy efficient light bulbs.
Information on ENERGY STAR® lighting and incentives in Wisconsin can be found on Focus on Energy's website.
Appliances and Electronics
Appliances account for a lot of your household's energy consumption. When shopping for appliances, make sure they are ENERGY STAR® certified. Reduce energy consumption in your home by running dishwashers and washing machines only when the load is full. This practice also helps to conserve water.
To help conserve even more energy, turn off electronics, such as computers, radios and televisions when you are not using them.
You can learn more about ENERGY STAR® qualified appliances or electronics by visiting the ENERGY STAR® website. Wisconsin residents can verify whether their purchase is eligible for a Focus on Energy cash-back reward by visiting the Focus on Energy Residential Rewards Program page.
Because heating and cooling costs make up a large part of your energy bill, insulating is one of the most practical things you can do to maximize your home's efficiency. Insulation reduces drafts and keeps temperatures more constant. The most important areas to insulate are the attic, floors and walls.
Caulking and weather-stripping
In addition to inadequate insulation, air leaks are among the largest sources of energy loss. It pays to seal leaks with caulking and weather-stripping materials. Air leaks are most often found around windows, doors, outlets, plumbing or through the floors and exterior walls. Most home-improvement stores offer assistance in determining the best way to caulk and weather strip.
You can also lose a lot of heat through your home or business' windows. You can reduce energy loss and improve comfort by replacing your windows if they have cracks in the panes, if the frames are damaged, if the wood is rotten or if there's missing caulking. Replacing windows may be a costly investment upfront, but the energy you save over the several years to follow will be measurable. You can also install storm windows. A lower cost alternative is to tape clear plastic film to the inside of your window frames.