Ever wondered “just how much energy is my heat pump using a day?” Curious if you should replace that old dishwasher or clothes dryer first? Now you can get a general idea of all your large and small energy users with APS’s Appliance Energy Usage Chart. Whether you live in Phoenix or Prescott, this chart gives Arizona-climate specific energy usage breakdowns. Got creative ideas on how to use this chart? Leave a comment on how you use this information and help others save money at home.
Here is an older link I found from the Valley’s well-known Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon. In it, SRP shares energy savings tips at home. I encourage you to implement these ideas at your own home and start with a Green ID energy audit today to learn how to take advantage of APS or SRP backed rebates. We pride ourselves in educating homeowners exactly where they are wasting energy and how easy it is to reduce their utility bills.
Kitchen appliances can account for up to 15% of your home energy usage, and how you choose to cook will impact your energy bill. By following some energy savings tips, you can reduce your bills. Here's how:
If you took an inventory of all the appliances you use to cook with the list might look something like this: oven, stovetop, slow cooker or crockpot, microwave, and toaster oven.
As you can probably already guess, each of these appliances uses a different amount of energy, but what is not so obvious is how much energy each one uses. When you can choose between making a baked potato in the oven or in the microwave, which one will end up using less energy? How about cooking a soup or stew over the stovetop vs using the slowcooker? Meatloaf in the oven or toaster oven? Just like if you lived in a smaller house, it would take less time to cool the inside of the home with the same sized AC unit than if you lived in a larger house; it takes less energy to heat a smaller space than a larger one. So what would use less energy if you could put that meatloaf in a toaster oven compared to the conventional oven? And how much less? You would be cutting your energy use by more than half! (and reducing the temperature in the kitchen to boot).
Of course, each appliance is “specialized” to cook certain foods, but when you can choose, I encourage you to choose the more energy efficient option. Below is a table showing the energy costs of various cooking methods.
Other energy saving tips in the kitchen include:
- When using electric stovetops, it is important to match the pan size to the element size, otherwise you will be wasting almost half the heat produced from the element.
- The ideal pan also has a concave bottom to maximize conduction in the pan.
- A pressure cooker will also cook stovetop items faster and with less energy, because the built-up pressure drops the boiling point of water, thus cooking the food faster.
- Cleaning your appliances increases their efficiency.
- Avoid peeking into the oven while baking.
- Double portions when using the oven to save energy on cooking.
- Remove foil on the bottom of ovens to improve air circulation.
For more ideas on how to save energy and money while you cook, visit APS and SRP’s websites and videos.
We are almost winding down the dog-days of summer, which in Phoenix means families will be returning from vacations, no longer escaping the heat. This summer has actually been rather mild since we’re at only 108 degrees and there haven’t been heat advisories every day… but yes, it is still hot. Is it so hot though that your windows are actually sweating?
Can windows actually be sweating from the inside? That “sweat” running down your windows is condensation. Condensation is a natural occurrence and we see it every time a cloud forms. That’s because air is always holding invisible water droplets, and when the temperature of a surface drops below the dew point temperature, like when air in the atmosphere begins to cool at higher elevations, condensation will occur and the water droplets in the air will become visible, hence the cloud.
Condensation occurs on windows when moisture from inside our homes hits a cooler surface like a window and the vapor will turn into visible moisture. Unfortunately, condensation on the inside of windows is not a natural occurrence and can be an indication of mold. Yes, even in the desert mold can be a serious issue. That is because we tend to build our homes very tight to keep our conditioned air inside better. A tight home is good, but too tight a home can lead to air quality issues, mold being one of them. There are however ways to control “window sweat” by controlling the amount of moisture in our home and by “insulating” our windows.
Some of the moisture in homes is uncontrollable since we emit about ¼ of water per hour just by breathing. The rest though is controllable and here is what you can do:
1. Reduce the amount of moisture in the home by running bathroom, kitchen and laundry room exhaust fans when appropriate. These fans actually help circulate air in your home. Bathroom exhaust fans should be left on several minutes after showering. Dryer exhaust fans should also be used when running the dryer because all that water from wet clothes needs to go somewhere and it shouldn’t be in your home.
2. Another method is to add to the insulating properties of the glass with window film or storm windows.
3. Use a dehumidifier to remove excess moisture.
4. Replace the window with dual or triple pane windows.
5. Allow fresh air into your house each day by opening windows and doors.
The $99 in-home energy audit (Arizona Home Performance with Energy Star), funded by APS is well underway in the valley. This guide will shed some light on aspects of the program that homeowners should be aware of if they are even thinking about having an APS energy audit done on their.
Rebates include 75% off the cost of air sealing, duct sealing, insulation and shade screens up to $250. An important issue to be aware of is that the duct sealing rebate is per unit, so you can receive the sealing rebate multiple times if you have more than one furnace or AC unit. Air sealing on the other hand, is only a one-time rebate regardless of the size of the home. The rebates are submitted after the post test is complete and take about 6 weeks to come back to you in the mail.
The APS energy audit is a very well-put-together program. APS has built-in a quality assurance for all homeowners participating in the program. That quality assurance comes in several forms. To qualify for the rebates an APS Home Performance with Energy Star Certified Contractor must perform the work. This ensures that the contractor has been trained and certified in building performance and uses the house-as-a-system approach. Quality assurance also comes in the form of a free post-audit test after air sealing or duct sealing is performed. The APS post audit will verify that the work was performed to APS Home Performance with Energy Star standards and that real results were achieved i.e. post air leakage numbers are lower than initial results. There is also a post-post audit performed on a random selection of houses by the agency that oversees the APS Home Performance program itself, the Foundation for Senior Living. These energy efficiency experts will perform a modified APS energy audit on your home again to verify the contractors’ results. Whew! And then if you have a refrigerator in the garage there may be another post-post-post audit done on your home… just kidding on that one.
The Program Itself:
The Arizona Home Performance with Energy Star program has a prescribed set of test that the energy auditor will perform. A blower door will be set up to measure air leakage and duct leakage. An attic inspection is done to check your insulation levels and see how it was installed. Building measurements, HVAC information and water heater specifications are taken and entered into the building model done for each home. Your home is also tested for combustion safety and check for potential back-drafting of gas appliances. Those test listed above are required by the program. What is not required but may be performed depending on your reasons for the audit and on the energy auditor you use is a utility bills analysis, renewable energy consultation (from a third party), an in-home discussion, a customized report, or additional energy modeling. Some homeowners are looking for reasons why their utility bills have increased and a utility bill analysis is essential. Other clients find valuable a general discussion on how to reduce their bills immediately after the audit is complete. A customized report may also be created for the homeowner and can vary on levels of quality.
Duct sealing is always the first upgrade to perform because the driving force of heat gain through conduction is pressure differences. The greater the pressure differences, the greater the heat gain and vice-versa. Where are the greatest pressure differences in your home? That’s right, the air handler. In fact that fan that blows cool air through the ductwork operates a pressure of around 350 pascals, much greater than the pressure a blower door runs at. When contractors perform duct sealing their priority is to seal around the air handler first, then work their way out all the way to the supply registers.Air sealing is next on the list and is critical if additional insulation is also on your punch list. Once insulation is added it is very difficult to air seal simply because it is difficult to locate electrical penetrations and even recessed lights if they are buried under the insulation. Air sealing should occur around all plumbing penetrations in bathrooms and in the attic, electrical penetrations and open wall chases, around leaky windows and doors should be weatherstipped.Fixing insulation misalignments should be next. Just a 5% gap in insulation will cause the R-value (it’s effectiveness at blocking heat gain) to decrease by 50%. If your home is like mine and has fiberglass batts across the ceiling floor, chances are that it was installed incorrectly. There are two ways to correct that issue. The hard way and frankly very difficult way to try to realign the batts correctly to fit in-between the 2"x6" studs. The more effective method is to remove all batts, use blown-in cellulose insulation to reach crevices and under walking studs, and then place the batts on top of the newly installed insulation.Other Big Hitters
Replacing a single –speed pool pump with a variable speed motor is very highly recommended and has a payback of less than two years.
Energy efficiency standards have come a long way in the last 15 years and replacing that old model with a new unit will start saving you money immediately.
Upgrading your windows can also have a big impact on your comfort and utility bills. Whether to replace, add sunscreens, install storm windows or add window film should be discussed with your energy auditor.
Hybrid Water Heater:
Hot water usage is one of the top three energy users at home. Using a heat pump to heat the water is much more efficient than traditional heating elements, in-fact the estimated energy usage is around $200 per year compared to the $500 with a standard water heater. The cost of hybrid water heaters is also attractive when compared to solar hot water heaters and the pa
The hierarchy listed here is very general and is based on the $99 APS Home Performance with Energy Star, in-home energy audit. Each home is different so results may vary.
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