Teach Me

TEACH ME

How many reasons do you have for improving your home's energy efficiency? Turning an energy-wasting home into an energy miser will put money in your pocket (or in the bank) that would otherwise go to utility expenses. Improving energy efficiency will go a long way towards improving a home's "green" value by helping reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions. And let's not forget that saving energy reduces our dependence on fossil fuels and the foreign countries that currently supply about 60% of what we use every year.

Whatever your reasons are for saving energy, you'll appreciate the knowledge you can gain by reading up on how houses use, lose and waste energy, and how different improvements can cut energy consumption. The overarching message in learning about improving home energy efficiency is that a combination of improvements will always be more effective than a single improvement. Finding out what the most important improvements are in a given house is the major challenge (and adventure!) in any home energy improvement plan.

We've packed the Green Eco Solutions Learning Center with articles on all different aspects of home energy performance, from basement insulation to attic air leaks; from inexpensive upgrades like compact fluorescent light bulbs and low-flow showerheads to big-ticket items like high-efficient furnaces, boilers and heat pumps.

Some energy-saving improvements are obvious because you deal with them on a daily basis. For example, it's no shock to learn that a 10-year-old washing machine can use twice as much electricity and water as a new Energy Star model. Other aspects of home energy performance aren't as apparent. It's possible, for example, for a perfectly functioning water heater to be a real energy hog. And if you want to learn how hidden gaps and cracks in walls, ceilings and floors cause energy-wasting leaks, read up on the "stack effect."

Some energy-saving improvements provide other benefits that can make life easier and even healthier at home. Air-sealing an attic can help to prevent damaging ice dams from forming along the eaves of a house. Repairing leaky ducts can improve indoor air quality and help reduce allergy symptoms. If your house has a crawl space foundation, you'll want to read how crawl space encapsulation can eliminate certain moisture-related problems like mold, musty smells, and condensation forming on windows.

Evaluating solutions is just as important as understanding problems, so you'll find lots of information about the products and procedures that can be used to save energy. There's helpful information on different types of insulation (including spray foam insulation), super-efficient tankless water heaters, radiant barriers, programmable thermostats and many other products.

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