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Home Energy Guide State of Possibilities


Contents Introduction. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 Meet Average Jane. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 Home Energy Matters. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Where to Start?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 The Little Things. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 Seal Leaks. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 Insulate Well. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 Work with Windows. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 Stay Toasty . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 Keep Cool. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 In Hot Water . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 Lessen the Lighting Load . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22 Manage Plug Loads. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24 Consider the Sun. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26 Drive Electric. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28 In Sum . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30 Resources. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32


Introduction

Introduction Your Energy Colorado is the name for Colorado State University Extension’s energy programs and resources. While historically known for providing Coloradans with research-based information and resources on agriculture, natural resources, horticulture, and other topics, CSU Extension now also engages communities on energy. The mission of Your Energy Colorado is to facilitate sustainable energy decisions. As the name infers, we put the power to determine Colorado’s energy future in your hands.

yourenergy.colostate.edu

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Meet Average Jane Average Jane represents the average Coloradan. AJ lives in an average home, uses an average amount of energy, and even thinks about energy as much as an average person. In this guide, we’re going to walk you through ideas to improve your home energy performance as if you were AJ herself. Kids: Can you find AJ’s dog Pepe on each page?

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Hi,Iʻm I’mAverage AverageJane, Jane,but but Hi, youcan cancall callme meAJ. AJ.Last Last you year,II spent spent $1,550 $1,550 on year, on energy expenses even energy expenses even thoughI Idonʻt don’tcompletely completely though understandeverything everything understand that’s in my energy thatʻs in my energy bills. bills. You cancan usually findfime outout on You usually nd me the trails with my dog, Pepe, on the trails with my dog, not inside usingusing energy. Pepe, not inside energy.


1% Cooling*

19% Water Heating

26% Appliances, electronics, and lighting

Meet Average Jane

Average Jane’s Annual Energy Use

54% Heating

* Cooling is a small percentage since not all Coloradans have active cooling systems. Households with air conditioning spend a greater percentage of energy on cooling.

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450* of these wouldn’t be needed . . .

Home Energy Matters Homes use 22% of all energy used in the United States. If every household reduced its energy use by 30%, we could save 22 quadrillion BTUs of energy. This equals the amount of electricity created by 450 power plants.

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Home Energy Matters

. . . if Americans used 30% less energy in these.

* Technically, 22 quadrillion BTUs is the same amount of energy generated by 444, 500-megawatt power plants running at full capacity year-round.

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Where to Start? Average Jane can go a couple of ways when it comes to making a dent in her energy use. She can take a methodical, whole-house approach to energy efficiency. In this approach, she would get an energy audit to identify energy hogs and make strategic energy investments. (Audits are often provided or subsidized by utilities.) Alternatively, AJ could take the opportunistic approach of replacing energy users at the ends of their lives with more efficient versions and picking o lowhanging fruit as resources allow.

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OPPORTUNISTIC APPROACH

House as-system

Replace energy equipment as it fails

Orderly/strategic

Opportunistic

Maximize long-term savings

Emphasize short-term savings

Energy audit important

Audit still beneficial

High investment, high reward

Moderate investment, moderate reward

Where to Start?

WHOLE HOUSE APPROACH

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Adjust or program your thermostat for energy savings while you are sleeping or when no one is home. 72˚F

The Little Things Without spending a dime, Average Jane could do some pretty simple things to conserve energy – it’s really a matter of changing one’s habits.

Wash clothes in cold water.

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Th Highly Effi


Turn power strips off or use “smart” strips that will stop phantom loads automatically.

Run your dishwasher only when full and air dry dishes.

Manage windows and window treatments for the season.

The Little Things

Use only what is needed.

Set your water heater to 120°F and test at the faucet closest to the heater.

he 7 Habits of fficient Households

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Seal Leaks OK – now we’re getting serious. Thoroughly sealing air leaks, especially in attics and crawlspaces, can be the start of significant energy savings. Average Jane could benefit from taking an incense stick around potentially leaky parts of her home on a windy day to find cracks and gaps. But she could also get a home energy audit with blower door and IR (infrared) camera assessments to spot leaks in places she might not have thought to even look. Caulk or spray foam can seal plumbing penetrations and gaps around doors and windows. Weatherstripping can be used around doors and windows. Air tight recessed can lights that are rated for insulation contact, duct mastic on ductwork joints, and chimney balloons in fireplaces can also be used to seal leaks.

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Air Leaks in AJ’s Home

10% windows

11% doors


Seal Leaks

31% ceilings, floors, attics

14% fireplaces

2% electrical outlets

17% plumbing, electrical, HVAC penetrations

15% ductwork

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Insulate Well Insulation used to seem so straightforward, but now choices abound and we’ve learned a lot about what works and what doesn’t. How does Average Jane know whether she needs more insulation? For attics and crawlspaces, where there’s usually a good bang-forthe-buck (especially in homes heated by electricity or propane), a quick peek and measurement will suffice. If AJ was prepared to invest in wall insulation it takes a little more digging or a good contractor to assess the situation.

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What You See

What It Probably Is

Loose pink, yellow, or white fibers

Loosefill fiberglass

Gray, newspaperlike fibers

Loosefill cellulose

Dense gray white, or speckled fibers

Mineral wool

Pink, yellow, or white blankets/rolls

Fiberglass batt

White rigid foam board

Expanded polystyrene board

Pink or blue rigid foam board/spray

Extruded polystyrene

Yellow or white rigid foam board/spray

Polyurethane board or spray


Insulate Well

R-Value per Inch

2.5 3.7

Space

Recommended Minimum

3.1

Attic

49

Wall

18

Floor

25

Crawlspace

19

Basement

11

3.2 4.0-4.5 5.0-5.5 6.0-7.5

R-Value

Note: R-value is resistance to heat ow . The higher the number, the greater the insulating power .

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Work with Windows There’s a lot Average Jane could do to make her windows more efficient other than replacing them. Replacing windows for energy savings alone is not usually cost-effective unless they’re single-paned (windows with a single piece of glass). Even then, storm windows can be a good option. AJ might try these simpler strategies to reduce heat lost or gained through her windows:

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• For windows getting direct sun, use window treatments to let sun in during the winter and keep it out during the summer. • Cellular shades (shown) can be especially effective at keeping heat in or out of a space. • Open windows on cool summer mornings and evenings, but shut them during hot days. • Inexpensive plastic film (and storm windows) can add insulation value to a window that’s closed for extended periods.


Work with Windows

Caulk around window frames as needed.

Weatherstrip around window edges and inside frames as needed.

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Stay Toasty Since Average Jane spends most of her energy on heating, she might think that replacing her heating system with a more efficient one would be the best thing she can do to cut her energy use. Actually, if AJ air sealed and insulated her home before replacing her space heater, she can have an even bigger impact on her energy consumption and can purchase a smaller, less expensive unit.

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Natural Gas or Propane Heating Systems . . . • Can vary widely in efficiency. Replacing an old, 70% efficient furnace or boiler with a new, 95% efficient unit would save AJ $130 each year. (Find your furnace'ss efficiency from the furnace yellow Energy Guide label or divide 'output' BTUs by 'input' BTUs as listed on the nameplate.) • Require maintenance to run well. Replace your furnace filter every 1-3 months during the heating season.


Stay Toasty

Elecctric Heat Heating Systems . . . • Avoid combustion gases in your home. • Can be extremely efficient if using ag ground- or air-source heat pump p p. • Electric heat pumps can also provide cooling. • Electric resistance heat can be expensive compared to natural gas or even propane. • Can be powered with clean energy. y

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Keep Cool Homes with air conditioners, swamp coolers, and heat pumps can spend major energy dollars on cooling. Air sealing, insulation, use of cellular shades, good window management, and deciduous trees on the south, east, and west of a home can prevent the need for an active cooling system altogether. And ceiling or portable room fans can make Average Jane feel up to 4 degrees cooler.

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Electric heat pumps can both cool and heat one or more rooms, and ductwork isn’t required.


Keep Cool

If you want to invest in an active cooling system:

Whole house fans are the most efficient option.

Evaporative (swamp) coolers are more efficient than air conditioners but use more water and require more maintenance.

Electric heat pumps can provide both cooling and heating for one or more rooms, and ductwork isn’t required.

High efficiency units can be especially valuable if your utility charges more for high summer electricity use.

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 Use low-flow showerheads (less than 2.5 gallons per minute).

In Hot Water There are so many ways Average Jane can conserve hot water. Low- and nocost options abound beyond simply replacing the water heater itself.

 Wash clothes in cold water.

 Reduce water heater temperature until hot water at the nearest faucet is 120° F. 20


In Hot Water

 Use 1 gallon per minute faucet aerators on sinks that aren’t usually filled.  Only run the dishwasher when full.

 Insulate hot water pipes.

 Wrap water heaters that are hot to the touch with an insulating jacket. 21


LEDs (light emitting diodes)

Lessen the Lighting Load Average Jane has some incandescent light bulbs in her house. These old beauties put out nice light and are non-toxic, but they sure do use a lot of energy. Halogen incandescents are still available, as are compact fluorescents, but without a doubt the quickest way toward energy savings is spelled L-E-D.

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Lessen the Lighting Load

· Are available in a wide variety of colors, styles, and brightness levels · Use less than one-quarter of the energy used by equivalent halogens · Come in dimmable varieties · Do NOT contain mercury · Can last 25x as long as halogens and over 2x as long as compact fluorescents (CFLs) 23


Manage Plug Loads Appliances and electronics make up a rapidly growing share of Average Jane’s electricity bill. While purchasing products with the Energy Star and Most Efficient labels when shopping for new products will certainly save energy, there are also lots of things AJ can do in the meantime.

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72˚F Set fridge to 36-40°F.

Set freezer Wash clothes to 0°F. in cold water.


Avoid void keeping cell phone chargers plugged in when not in use.

Run your dishwasher only when full and air dry dishes.

Manage Plug Loads

Air dry clothes on a clothesline, and optionally “finish” them in the clothes dryer.

Turn power strips off or use “smart” strips that will stop phantom loads automatically.

Set computer monitors to an energy-saving mode that will put them to sleep after no more than 15 minutes of inactivity.

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Consider the Sun Average Jane loves soaking in the sun on long walks with her dog Pepe. She can also let direct sunlight in during winter and keep it out during summer to regulate her home’s temperature. Solar hot air collectors (black boxes with glass on one side and ducts that connect to the house) can heat a room effectively during the day when properly installed. Solar hot water systems can offset much of a conventional hot water heater’s energy use (although they’re not always cost-effective). And of course, there are options galore when it comes to solar photovoltaics (PV).

AT HOME:  Unshaded, south-facing roofs or flat land are the best sites for hosting solar.  Solar can often be purchased or leased with little upfront cost.

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 Leases typically include maintenance and insurance provided by the solar leasing company.


Consider the Sun

Your Garden Share

COMMUNITY SOLAR GARDEN:  A solar garden is a central location that hosts panels owned by different people.  Purchasing or subscribing to a garden share lets you offset electricity used at your home.  Solar gardens may be suitable for households without good roof space or available land.  Not all electric utilities have shares of solar gardens available.

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• Electric vehicles come in all-electric and plug-in gasoline hybrid models.

Drive Electric Average Jane has never been one for trends (see her penchant for sweat pants), but she is intrigued by electric vehicles. She’s even heard visionaries talk of coupling solar PV, batteries, and electric vehicles to power a lean, clean, new electric grid.

• Many electric vehicles qualify for a $7,500 federal tax credit. • The state of Colorado offers an instant rebate of $5,000 on electric vehicle purchases. • Some EVs are able to go hundreds of miles on a single charge. • The network of formal EV charging stations is rapidly spreading across the state and country.

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Drive Electric 29


In Sum Whew! Average Jane has a lot to think about, and not a lot of free time on her hands. So what is she to do? If she can aord it, a home energy audit is a valuable first step that will spell out all of her energy inefficiencies and what to do about them. Then she can pick o projects as her time and resources allow. Or, AJ can get started on any of the simple ideas listed in this guide.

Home Energy Audit Report

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In Sum

When you think about home energy: • What are your interests and concerns? • Can you pick one or two things to act on now? • Do you need more information? (Hint: see next page!)

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Resources As the umbrella for all of CSU Extension’s energy programs and resources, Your Energy Colorado has a lot to offer households, businesses, agriculture, local governments, and schools.

• • • • • • • •

Energy assessments Consultations Presentations Fact sheets Online energy calculators K-12 curricula Newsletter And more

On the web: yourenergy.colostate.edu On Facebook: facebook.com/YourEnergyColorado Contact us: yourenergy@colostate.edu

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Resources


yourenergy.colostate.edu The information contained herein is provided as a public service with the understanding that Colorado State University makes no warranties, either expressed or implied, concerning the accuracy, completeness, reliability, or suitability of the information. Nor does Colorado State University warrant that the use of this information is free of any claims of copyright infringement. Extension programs are available to all without discrimination. May 2017

CSU home energy guide