Saving money is a top priority for most commercial and residential facilities, but energy efficiency is often overlooked as a viable option to reducing costs. Along with the economic and environmental benefits, energy efficiency can make housing more affordable and reduce financial insecurity.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, residential energy consumption accounts for more than 20 percent of the nation’s total. Households across the nation spend more than $160 billion to heat, cool, light, and live in their homes each year. Prioritizing energy efficiency, especially in areas such as public housing, can make facilities more affordable and reduce the percentage of family income used towards energy.
Many local governments do not own the affordable housing units in their communities but can still play a huge role in pushing sustainable initiatives. By utilizing relationships with developers, homeowners, and various organizations; local governments can leverage energy efficiency in both new and existing facilities to reduce carbon emissions, lower energy costs for tenants, increase economic stimulation, improve indoor air quality and comfort, and increase home value. Using a whole-house approach to energy efficiency can also increase job generation and reduce the demand on federal assistance programs.
Benchmarking the facility’s energy consumption is a good place to start. Using the ENERGY STAR® Yardstick tool or the ENERGY STAR® Home Advisor tool, residents and building owners can track energy trends, compare to similar buildings nationwide, and receive personalized project recommendations. Looking for a more in-depth approach? Try a comprehensive energy audit.
With this energy data in mind, develop an energy efficiency plan to establish protocol moving forward. This could mean purchasing energy efficiency equipment and appliances as needed, benchmarking energy use annually, or tackling a new section of the building each year. See below for more project ideas.
Purchase energy efficient equipment
o Gradually upgrade lighting to LED
o Replace old equipment with ENERGY STAR® rated appliances
Seal and insulate efficiently
o Seal air leaks through the home to stop drafts
o Add insulation to block heat loss in winter and heat gain in summer
o Install ENERGY STAR® windows
Heat and cool efficiently
o Change air filters regularly
o Tune-up HVAC equipment yearly
o Install a programmable thermostat
o Seal heating and cooling ducts
For more information on any of the measures outlined above, contact our team at 360 Energy Group. We can connect you to utility incentives, perform comprehensive energy audits, or benchmark the energy consumption of your facilities. Give us a call at 312-265-3971 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.