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  • Writer's pictureAdam H. Cooke

What is Energy Efficiency? Understanding Solar 101 |

Updated: Dec 19, 2021

Energy efficiency is any method that uses less energy to produce the same amount of output. Energy efficiency measures can be implemented at all levels of energy consumption, including household appliances and large-scale industrial projects. A 12-watt energy-efficient LED bulb that produces the same amount of light as a traditional 60-watt bulb, but consumes 75-80% less energy, is an example. Energy efficient products can reduce energy costs and reduce dependence on imported energy. Energy efficient products and processes also reduce greenhouse gas emissions. However, due to the high cost of renewable energy, it is often cheaper to reduce greenhouse gas emissions with energy efficiency.

Due to rising energy costs and the environmental issues caused by global warming, efficient energy use is a growing trend in the United States. Many appliances and products that are sold to consumers have become more efficient over the years, demonstrating this clean energy trend. Community design is a great example of energy efficiency in the midst of a boom. As these methods spread, "Energy smart infrastructure" and land development strategies to improve public transportation accessibility will reduce both carbon emissions and costs. This trend extends to homes as well: Prospective homeowners are asking for energy ratings before purchasing property.

Energy smart land development is a method property developers use in order to make their infrastructure more energy-efficient. This concept can be in many forms. It may include compact land development to minimize natural disturbance and ample access to walking and biking trails.

National energy consumption was 21 percent in 2014. The same amount of national emissions came from residences. There are significant opportunities to reduce emissions in the residential sector. In fact, the U.S. Department of Energy estimates you could cut your energy consumption and, therefore, your utility bills by 25%-30% by installing energy-efficient appliances and projects at home. Reduced energy consumption can result in utility savings, as households are charged per kilowatt hour (kWh).

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Common Myths Energy Efficiency

Energy efficiency is often confused with energy conservation. This refers to reducing energy consumption by minimizing energy-consuming activities. The key difference between these concepts is how much behavior changes you need to make.

You don't have to change your Lifestyle in order to be more Energy Efficient

You may have to make sacrifices in order to conserve energy, like turning down the heat during winter and drying your clothes less often. Energy efficiency, however, allows for the same quality or output but uses less energy. You don't have to turn down the heat. An energy-efficient furnace can keep your home at a specific temperature and consume less energy than a traditional furnace. Energy efficiency doesn't come with any restrictions or inconveniences. It also requires little behavior change to help reduce utility bills.

It's worth it to Invest in Energy-Efficient Options

Another myth is that energy-efficient options aren't worth the cost of buying, as they are often more expensive than conventional options. High-quality options for appliances and home design often have a higher price tag. Energy efficiency should be considered an investment which accumulates savings over the long-term, and not a purchase that is based on upfront costs.

Energy efficient upgrades can reduce utility bills by up to 50% over their lifetime, which could offset the purchase price. They also have a positive return-on-investment (ROI) potential. A long-term, energy efficient installment can increase the value of your home when it is resold.

The 2018 Cost-vs.-Value Report shows that an average attic insulation renovation yields a 107.7% return when you sell your home. The same investment can earn a return of 122.8% upon resale in the Pacific region. Contrary to conventional options, which offer lower upfront prices, but require more frequent replacements, and result in higher utility costs, decreasing the savings on the sticker price.

A significant investment is required to save big on energy.

Common misconceptions about energy efficiency are that just replacing one appliance will lead to significant savings. You can save significant utility costs by taking a holistic approach to reducing energy waste in your home and business.

The "phantom load", which is the electricity used by appliances when they are not in use, can increase your annual utility bill by $100 to $200. Although you might think that replacing an appliance with something more efficient is the best option, a smart power strip can be a better choice. Smart power strips stop appliances drawing power and turn off appliances when they aren't in use. This effectively eliminates their phantom loads.

Another example is the installation of an efficient furnace or air conditioner. Although an efficient HVAC system will reduce your energy costs, it will not save you as much if your home does not have adequate insulation or air sealing. This is because it requires more energy to maintain interior temperatures at all levels.

Although the cost of an integrated approach to energy efficiency might seem high, consider the potential savings as well as the appreciation in home value from such improvements. Comprehensive home improvement can help you save around 30% on your annual utility bills, according to the Department of Energy.

Residential Energy Efficiency vs. Commercial: Different Standards, Different Prices

Energy is used in homes and businesses for water heating, space heating, air conditioning, lighting, appliances and electronics. Due to the different energy consumption, commercial and residential buildings are subject to separate standards and regulations.

An entire office building's HVAC system will use more energy than a home. The Department of Energy requires that residential buildings have no more than three stories above the ground. A commercial building is any building that isn't classified as a residential building. This includes office buildings and warehouses. Although the intended goals are identical, energy efficiency measures for commercial buildings will be different in terms of scale and cost.

At Premier Improvements, We can handle all of your needs from the Design, Permitting, Installation & Inspection of both Residential and Commercial properties. With Solar Tax Credits still available it's a perfect time to start moving forward to your financial freedom from the Utilities. Servicing All of the Connecticut and Massachusetts as well as Rhode Island we are always here to help you and answer any Questions you may have. Give us a Call @ (860)969-4006 or visit our website @ for additional info.

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