There’s no need to uproot your life in order to make your home more green and energy-efficient. It can be easy. Experts at leading window fashions manufacturer Hunter Douglas, which pioneered energy efficiency at the window with the introduction of the world’s first honeycomb shade, offer the following tips:
Remember that up to 50 percent of a home’s heating and cooling energy is lost through them. Highly insulating Duette® Architella® honeycomb shades can more than double the energy efficiency of a window and reduce heating and cooling costs. Additionally, under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, federal tax credits for energy-efficient products are available for 30 percent of the cost of most Duette Architella® shades, up to a maximum of $1,500 in total, when purchased and installed through December 31, 2010, provided the expense meets the tax guidelines. These are the first and only window shades to qualify for the tax credit without add-on insulation systems. More information on the tax credit is available at hunterdouglas.com/taxcredit.
Do Go On a Power Strip
Power strips aren’t just for your computer gear. Use them for TV’s, VCR’s and appliances – electronic “vampires” that suck electricity to tune of $1 billion a year when not in use. Turn them off with one quick click.
Do Improve and Maintain Your Mechanical Systems
Service and clean your gas or oil furnace at least once a year. Keep your heating and air conditioner filters clean and replace your fiberglass filters with reusable, washable ones. Invest in a programmable thermostat that lets you set temperatures for different times of the day.
In summer, set your thermostat as high as possible without sacrificing comfort. The less difference between outdoor and indoor temperatures, the lower your overall cooling bill will be. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, in colder months turning the heat down from 72 to 65 degrees for at least eight hours a day can reduce heating bills by 10 percent.
Do Watch Your Air Conditioning Units
Remove air-conditioning units in the fall because they invite drafts. Or, use an insulated jacket on the exterior. Keep in mind that an air conditioning unit in the shade uses as much as 10 percent less electricity than the same one operating in the sun.
Also consider using an interior fan instead of an air conditioner or in conjunction with your window air conditioner to spread the cooled air more effectively throughout your home without greatly increasing your power use.
Do Replace Conventional Incandescent Light Bulbs with Compact Fluorescent Ones (CFL’s) and Make the Most of Natural Light
CFL’s cost a little more, but last up to 10 times longer, use two-thirds less energy and give off 70 percent less heat. Turn off lights and electronics when you leave the room.
And, utilize natural light and realize savings on electricity bills by means of “daylighting.” Hunter Douglas window fashions offer several ways to optimize natural light while diffusing it to reduce glare and UV rays that can harm furnishings. Products with sheer fabrics – such as Silhouette® window shadings, with the Signature S-Vane™, Pirouette® window shadings and Luminette® Privacy Sheers – allow homeowners to draw natural light deeper into the room, illuminating homes with the warmth and beauty of softly diffused light
And a Few Don’ts
Don’t Place Lamps or TV Sets Near Your Thermostat
The thermostat senses heat from these appliances, which can cause the air conditioner to run longer than necessary
Don’t Block Heat in Colder Months
Be sure floor registers, baseboards or radiators aren’t blocked by rugs, furniture or other items. If you have ceiling fans with a reverse setting, turn them on low and reverse when using a lot of heat. Warm air rises and often gets trapped near the ceiling; the reverse air flow from the fan will help circulate the warm air around the entire room.
Don’t Try to Speed Up Heating or Cooling By Raising the Thermostat Beyond the Desired Temperature
In winter, the popular notion that the higher you set your heater’s thermostat, the faster your home will warm up is not true. In reality, it takes the same amount of time for the temperature to reach 70 degrees F whether the thermostat is set at 70 or 90 degrees. Setting the thermostat all the way up only increases your heating costs.
The same is true for summer, setting your thermostat at a colder setting than normal when you turn on the air conditioner will not cool your home any faster. According to the Department of Energy, it could result in excessive cooling and, therefore, unnecessary expense.
Incorporate these simple do’s and don’ts and make a contribution into saving energy and the earth’s resources.
Hunter Douglas Inc. is a national sponsor of Habitat for Humanity, covering windows in every Habitat home built in the U.S. and Canada. Headquartered in Upper Saddle River N.J., the company is the leading manufacturer of custom window fashions in North America. For more information, visit www.hunterdouglas.com or call 1-800-274-2985