Xcel Energy has once again teamed up with MN Green Path to present the Green Path Energy Tour. Over half of the homes on our spring tour are featured on the Energy Tour, and these homes have all been energy tested!
For more energy saving tips, Xcel Energy has provided the top ten energy efficiency features every homeowner should look into when building or buying new.
Know the home’s HERS index.
Get an independent third-party test to determine the Home Energy Rating System, or HERS index. Xcel Energy’s ENERGY STAR® New Homes program involves third party testing as part of the program to ensure the home is built as efficiently as possible.
Get the right heating and cooling system.
A high-efficiency system that includes a variable speed furnace will save you energy and money. Also, zoned HVAC systems will help keep every room the temperature you want.
Install a programmable thermostat.
This small but useful item is worth every penny. You can set the home temperature back 7-8 degrees when you’re sleeping or away to save energy. Many have several settings for different days of the week. Set it and forget it.
Choose tight construction.
Controlling air movement to unconditioned areas can save you up to 20 percent of your heating and cooling costs. Air sealing can do many things: improve the overall comfort of your home, help control humidity levels, and lower the chance of ice dams on the roof.
Seal and insulate duct work.
Tightly-sealed and well-insulated ducts keep you more comfortable and increase the energy efficiency of your home. Sealing also helps improve indoor air quality by reducing the risk of dust, moisture, pollen, pests and noise from entering the ducts and circulating throughout your home.
Choose efficient doors.
Consider fiberglass doors that have the beauty and look of wood but are well insulated and less drafty. Again, look for ENERGY STAR models and don’t forget to seal around them to prevent leaks.
Choose ENERGY STAR windows.
ENERGY STAR-certified windows, doors and skylights can reduce your energy bills up to 15 percent. Start with choosing a climate zone to make sure the window you purchase can handle Minnesota’s cold temperatures.
Choose ENERGY STAR appliances.
A new ENERGY STAR-qualified refrigerator uses less energy than a 60-watt light bulb. ENERGY STAR dishwashers and clothes washers use a third of the energy and water and require one third of the soap.
Opt for high-efficiency faucets and shower heads.
Faucets that use a maximum of 1.5 gallons per minute can reduce a sink’s water flow by 30 percent or more from the standard flow of 2.2 gallons per minute without sacrificing performance. Also, if you have a 2.5 gallon-per-minute (low flow) shower head, a 7-minute shower will use less water than a full bath.
Install LED lighting.
LED lighting provides bright, warm light while using 75 percent less energy, generating 70 percent less heat and lasting up to ten times longer than standard lighting.