Menlo Spark Green Renovations Guide

Menlo Spark Green Renovations Guide
There are three important aspects to know when one begins to save money on energy costs. First,
understanding your utility bill and where the most amount of money is being spent; second,
choosing the level of effort and savings you strive to achieve; and third, pick which options work
best for you. Our goal is to help you make an easy transition to a carbon-neutral lifestyle, and a
more energy efficient home. This document will help guide you towards making smart and
effective energy saving steps in your home.
There are many ways to save energy and money. One of the most helpful practices is to know
and understand your home’s energy usage patterns. PG&E collects electric and gas usage data by
the hour of your home, which you can access online.1
The money we spend on utility bills has been estimated to be about 10% of a middle class family
household budget, according to ClearPath xi. The chart below shows the average energy use of a
typical American household, but does not include heating and cooling. Considering that Menlo
Park has a very mild climate, very different from the majority of the US, it is good to understand
that most of your energy usage and money is spent on water heating.
There are so many ways to save money. First
and foremost, it is extremely important to
make sure that you are not wasting energy.
ClearPath estimates that every one in three
dollars is wasted on unused or misused
energy xi. The first thing you can do is to
understand your energy patterns. Online
energy calculators are helpful tools to get a
general understanding of where you spend
the most amounts of energy, and in turn
where you can save on energy.2
This guide is designed to help homeowners interested in reducing green house gas emissions. It
provides zero-cost solutions and low-cost opportunities to reach that goal.
If you are interested in saving energy and considering other environmental measures but need
some help getting started, you can turn to a company called Domino3, “a concierge service that’s
here to help millions of Americans switch to clean energy and save money at the same time.”
This service is free for homeowners.
WhatcanIdoat zero-cost toreducemypowerbill?
A few simple changes to typical household habits can eliminate a large portion off the utility bill.
For example, washing laundry with cold water can save around $100 annually, and lowering
your water heater temperature by 10 degrees (which will not change your showering experience)
saves an estimated $40 annually. Here is a list of ideas to keep in mind at home, and the
estimated savings per year.
Savings: $90 /year, average of 20%, 0.45 tons of CO2
8° F down in the winter and 4° F up in the summer
Close curtains/blinds in the summer and open them in the winter
Savings: $5 /year, 50 pounds of CO2
Dry your dishes without heat
Savings: $5* - $150 /year, 50 – 1,500 pounds of CO2
Set your refrigerator between 35° – 38° F
Don’t leave the door open for longer than 10 seconds
Keep your freezer full; it uses less energy that way
Reorganize and eliminate a refrigerator if you have two ($150 savings)
Savings: $180* /year, 0.9 tons of CO2
Switch to cold water when washing clothes
Set your water heater at 120° F & estimates average
Savings: $50 /year, 265 pounds of CO2
Turn off the lights.
Savings: $50 /year*, 265 pounds of CO2
Consider air-drying, which makes your cloths last longer.
Savings: $33 /year, 330 pounds of CO2
Unplug devices and switch off power strips
Dim the TV at night
(Source: and
These solutions require some investment upfront, but they each pay for themselves quickly and
cut overall energy spending. With just a small amount of effort you can make big changes.
Another smart idea is to have an energy audit done to your home to get an expert’s opinion on
where your home has room for efficiency improvements (more information about energy audits
below). For larger projects (like getting new energy efficient appliances) where you want to talk
to a professional, getting in touch with a consultation agency can be very helpful (more
information on where to find consultation in the area below).
Investment: $175
Savings: $180 /year, 0.9 tons of CO2
Install a smart thermostat (info below) and use only the energy needed to stay
Investment: $45
Savings: $160 /year, 0.8 tons of CO2
Changing air filters every three months to work at maximum efficiency
Investment: $100
Savings: $170 /year, 0.85 tons of CO2
Replace incandescent bulbs with LED
Investment: $50
Savings: $100 /year, 0.5 tons of CO2
Advanced power strips (info below) ensure no power is being drawn when
appliances are off
Investment: $120
Savings: $150 /year, 0.75 tons of CO2
Annual check-ups can help improve system’s efficiency
Prolongs the lifetime of the system
Investment: $700
Savings: $430, 2.2 tons of CO2
All air leaks added up in a typical home is like having a window open every day
Investment: $1000
Savings: depends on how old current appliances are
Upgrade to the most efficient appliances
Keep in mind money spent on the appliance and money spent to run it
Look under Cooling for more details
Summer: shades should be lowered where sunlight enters
Winter: shades on south-facing windows should be raised during the day
Dual Solar Shades: highly reflective on one side and heat absorbing on the other
These cost between $100-$250 and are sold at any local appliance store (like The Home Depot).
They help you save energy and money by scheduling times to turn on or off your heating/cooling
system in order to maintain the temperature you desire without running the system when it is not
needed. In this way, your heating/cooling system does not run as much when you are asleep or
away from home. It is a very effective way to save money and energy. In fact, you can save up to
10% a year on electricity by turning the thermostat down 7°-10°F for 8 hours a dayi.
Today most people have many electronics concentrated in one or two areas of their homes, like
home offices or entertainment centers. Advanced power strips are different from conventional
power strips because they have built-in features designed to prevent electronics from drawing
power when they are off or not in use. An advanced power strip is good to have in your home to
reduce wasted electricity. Advanced power strips are especially effective for people who might
leave electronics on; for example, someone who tends to leave the TV on all night should invest
in an activity monitor power strip that turns off when no activity is detected for a certain amount
of time. A timer power strip turns everything off with a timer, remote switch power strip can be
turned off remotelyxiii, and more are shown in the figure below. Depending on the size, they can
cost anywhere between $20-$60, and can be found at any electronics store.
Source: nrel.gov16
An Energy Audit is an assessment of a home/building’s energy use and efficiency. They are done
to help people save money by identifying areas where there is room to improve efficiency. For
example, most people do not know if there are air leaks in the corners of their homes. A home
energy assessment will detect where energy is being wasted.
In order to get an energy assessment done to your home, it is recommended you speak with a
consultant, since there are many different types of assessments available, a consultant will help
you figure out what is best for your home. A good place to start is would be to look online at
BayREN8, which is an organization based in the bay area that implements effective energy
saving programs on a regional levelxii. BayREN collaborates with another organization called
Energy Upgrade California to provide you with assistance finding a consultant/contractor for any
energy upgrades you are interested in15.
v The City of Menlo Park offers a $300 rebate for energy audits. You can find the
form6 on the City of Menlo Park website7 for energy upgrades.
BayREN8 is a Bay Area organization that implements effective energy saving programs,
including consultations.
RC Mechanical9 is an accredited company, based in Redwood City, which specializes in
whole house performance.
ecoProach5 in Sunnyvale does energy home remediation using a green approach.
The goal that has been set for the city of Menlo Park is to reach carbon neutrality by 2025, this
means all carbon emissions are counted and carefully monitored. To reach the goal, it is
important to reduce carbon emissions as much as possible, starting in areas where it is easiest to
reduce or even remove. If all household appliances were to be electric, eliminating the burning of
fossil fuels, it would greatly reduce carbon emissions into our air. It is very much advised to
remove gas appliances where they are not needed.
Heat pumps can dramatically reduce power use and work well in the mild climate of Menlo Park.
This technology2 works the same way as central AC: it pumps air throughout the home via
ductwork. One of the biggest advantages of heat pumps is that they can both heat and cool using
the same system, but reversed.
Air-source heat pumps move heat rather than converting it from a fuel. They consist of a
compressor and two coils made of copper tubing (one indoors and one outside), which allows for
efficient heat transfer. An air-source heat pump can deliver one-and-a-half to three times more
heat energy to a home than the electrical energy it consumes. They also have a long life
expectancy (25 years) with little maintenance. Consider using a heat pump savings calculator10
online if you have been looking at heat pumps on the market and want to get a better idea of
what the savings might look like.
By switching to an electric heat pump for cooling purposes, you
could prevent 2.5 tons of CO2 (on average) from entering the
atmosphere in a lifetime. Using a heat pump could save you around
$500 /year on energy costs, so payback time is usually between 2-10
(Source: /
Note that here we are referring to air-source heat pums, which are most common and recommended for this area.
Geothermal ground-source heat pumps are not included here because they are more expensive and better suited to
very cold or very hot climates..
This is a type of heat pump. This system is good for homes that do not rely heavily on air
conditioners during the year, but perhaps a few weeks of the year. Ductless mini-split air
conditioners are single room cooling (and heating) systems that do not require ductwork.
Because of this, energy losses associated with ductwork are avoided, making these systems more
efficient compared to traditional cooling systems that required ductwork throughout the house.
However, initial costs are usually higher compared to other options.
Central air conditioners can work well in areas that experience high humidity. There are two
types, split systems or packaged units. In a split system an outdoor metal container contains the
condenser and compressor, and an indoor container holds the evaporator. A split-system is
recommended for homes that already have a furnace but no air conditioner (cheapest option). A
packaged system has the evaporator, condenser, and compressor all located in one container,
which is usually placed on a roof or on a concrete slab next to the home’s foundation. Packaged
systems also include electric heating coils or natural gas furnace, therefore eliminating the need
for a separate heating system.
They are rated according to season energy efficiency ratio (SEER) (cooling output divided by
power input). The higher the SEER rating, the more efficient the system (recommended number
is 14.5). Central AC requires ductwork throughout the home, which is also used for forced-air
heating. It is very popular because of the comfort level achieved.
Switching to an Energy Star certified AC system, you could save about $20 /year
to operate. Central air conditioning systems may cost $500 more initially, but
during its lifetime use will pay itself back (about 15 years). The switch would
prevent 3,302 pounds of CO2 from entering the atmosphere each year.
In Menlo Park’s mild climate, ceiling fans can make a huge difference. They use less electricity
than air conditioners, they provide ventilation, and create a low-level “wind-chill” effect without
actually creating colder air. The Energy Star website provides a helpful list of the “2015 Most
Efficient Ceiling Fans over 52 Inches” which includes sizing, energy use, operation cost,
efficiency, and more helpful information.11 Savings depend on how much the home relies on air
conditioning. Some homes, especially in more shaded areas, may be able to use ceiling fans
instead of air conditioning. A ceiling fan uses less energy to operate compared to an air
conditioning unit; therefore, less time with the air conditioning on and more time using a ceiling
fan will save money.
Shades are the simplest and least expensive way to save energy on heating and cooling. In the
summer, shades should be lowered where sunlight enters; in the winter, shades on south-facing
windows should be raised during the day to allow sunlight to enter, and then lowered at night to
keep heat inside. For even greater efficiency, use dual shades—highly reflective (white) on one
side and heat absorbing (dark) on the other side—that can be reversed with the seasons (the
reflective surface should always face the warmest side; outwards in the summer and inwards in
the winter). Dual solar shades can be found locally at a shade store called Stoneside17 in Palo
Alto. Other options for shading include exterior roller blinds and overhangs.
The addition of trees and vines into your home can have many benefits for both heating and
cooling. Trees and vines provide shade and create a microclimate. Leaves on trees provide shade
in the summer, cooling the space below it. In the winter instead, the leaves fall and sunlight is
able to provide warmth to the home. When done correctly, trees and vines are a quick, effective,
sustainable, and beautiful way to provide shading and cooling to your home. Not only is energy
saved but carbon is sequestered and restored into the earth; more trees is always a good idea.
Planting 1 tree is equivalent to saving $10 on your energy bill
(taken away from AC use) due to the shade it provides. 5 trees
would prevent .09 tons of CO2 from entering the atmosphere
each year.
This is an air-source heat pump; therefore it is electric and does not require fuel to operate. It is
highly recommended for the Menlo Park area with its mild climate. It works by a simple electric
heating element that warms the air, which is then pushed throughout the ductwork of the home
with a fan. If you already heat with electricity you will find that switching to a heat pump can
save you between 30-40% on your energy bill.i Heat pumps use a lot less electricity to operate.
However, if you use a gas furnace and switch to a heat pump, the cost on gas will be eliminated,
but the extra cost of electricity will be added. Initial cost may be high (around $3K), but there are
government incentives (listed at the end of this guide) to help with initial costs, and utility bill
savings will be greater than the initial investment over the life of the heat pump.
By switching to an electric heat pump for heating purposes, you
could prevent 4 tons of CO2 (on average) from entering the
atmosphere in a lifetime. However, if it costs about $1.10 per hour
to operate, and heating is on for about 1500 hours a year, you
would be spending $1,650 per year on electricity. Compare that to
the price of running your gas furnace (which is??).
If a furnace or boiler is not very efficient or nearing the end of its useful lifetime, consider
switching to an electric heat pump described able. If a heat pump is not an option, make sure to
select a furnace with the highest efficiency rating.
The efficiency of new furnaces
and boilers are rated using the
annual fuel utilization
efficiency (AFUE) rating to
measure overall performance.
Boilers manufactured since
1992 must have an AFUE of at
least 80%. The best furnaces
and boilers today reach 98%
efficiency. Whether talking
about oil or gas boilers, it is
important to keep in mind that
maximum efficiency can
significantly reduce carbon
emissions and save a lot of
energy and money. If the
boiler/furnace is brand new,
making sure that ductwork is
sealed and secure to avoid the
energy losses of leaks
commonly found in ductwork.
Heat loss is not only a waste of energy but also money. It is common for people to be unaware of
the heat loss in their homes. Insulation is very important for your home; this means windows,
doors, and building envelope. The quickest and cheapest thing to start off with is to seal all
window edges and cracks with rope caulk13. Since it is so difficult to understand how efficiently
insulated your home is, the best thing to do is to get an energy audit done on your home; A
specialist will evaluate the home and consult with the owners on what changes need to be made
in order to ensure maximum efficiency (look at Energy Audits section on the second page of this
guide). There are also ways of detecting air leaks on your own; many websites provide step-bystep instructions on how to do so14. The image below shows where the most common air leaks
are located in a home.
Applying weather-strip to windows and doors, which is a special lining inserted between window
frames around the parameter of doors, to ensure a tight seal. Installing door sweeps on the
bottom of doors is also highly suggested. Storm windows are also effective, cheap, and
comfortable because they can come in a removable form. The temporary, plastic kits are less
expensive than glass, costing around $5-$10vii.
To know whether or not you need weatherization services, ask the following questions, and if the
answer is yes, talk to a specialist:
§ Do you feel cold drafts in the winter coming from windows/doors when they are open or
§ Do you need to run the heater all day in the winter to stay at a comfortable temperature?
§ Do you need to run the air conditioner all day in the summer to stay at a comfortable
§ Is your heating and cooling bill very expensive?
Window treatments can make a huge difference to the heating/cooling and insulation capabilities
of your home. Changing older windows with more modern, efficient ones can reduce your
electrical consumption by an astonishing amount. If your home receives a substantial amount of
sunlight, there are a few options that can greatly reduce the use of heating/cooling systems.
Window frames are also important to keep in mind. Aluminum and other metals last long but do
not insulate well. Wood frames need regular maintenance since wood responds to weather
conditions, but it insulates relatively well. The overall best options are fiberglass frames and
vinyl frames; they are made of plastic, which makes them stable, and can be filled with
insulation for better thermal performancei.
This is an incredibly thin, practically invisible, metal or metallic oxide layer placed onto the
surface of the glass window. In other words, it is an insulated glazing material that helps control
heat transfer through the glass. Windows manufactured with low-e coatings typically cost about
10% to 15% more then regular windows, but can reduce energy loss by as much as 30% to 50%i.
By switching all of your windows to double-pane solar control
low-e you could prevent 2.2 tons of CO2 (average) from entering
the atmosphere in a lifetime.
Used to reflect heat from your home, they are plastic sheets treated with dyes or thin layers of
metal. Depending on the type of film used, they can also substantially cut glare and reduce the
amount of sunlight that enters the home. There are a range of intensities of films, the best ones
are able to reflect as much as 80% of the incoming sunlight; these are best for homes that
experience higher temperatures. (Example brands: Suncontrol, SolarGuard).
By switching all of your windows to single-pane tinted you
could prevent 2 tons of CO2 (average) from entering the
atmosphere in a lifetime, and double-pane tinted windows you
could save 2.3 tons of CO2.
Windows with tinted glazing do not usually have thermal insulation, so some manufacturers fill
the space between two glass sheets with inert gas (typically argon and krypton), which has higher
resistance to heat flowi.
Water Heating
The best-suited options for Menlo Park climate include the passive system known as “batch”
system, and the open-loop active system known as “flat plate.”
By switching to an electric water heater you could
prevent 2 tons of CO2 from entering the atmosphere
in a lifetime.
• Household water is stored in a
series of metal tubes enclosed in
glass tubes. The sun shines on
the tubes and warms the water
inside. The system connects to
already existing water heaters so
that the solar heated water can be
drawn into the electric water
heater when it is being used. The
passive system is the most cost efficient
water heater. It does not need electricity to operate, so it’s easy to install, operate and
maintain. There is a very short return on investment, and since it doesn’t use any
electricity there are zero operational costs.
• This is an insulated,
weatherproofed box that contains a
dark absorber plate under one or
more glass/plastic covers. It is
simple to add capacity to the
system if demand changes. The
system integrates easily with
existing systems. Flat plate
collectors employ the green house
effect; the glass permits sunlight to
enter and heats up the water, since
the wavelength of the light changes
the heat stays trapped under the
Substituting 25% of your hot water needs using a solar water heater
could save you around $35 /year and 0.27 tons of CO2 /year (average)
from entering the atmosphere.
50% saves $69 /year & 0.58 tons of CO2 /year
75% saves $104 /year & 0.9 tons CO2 /year
100% saves $140 /year & 1.2 tons CO2 /year
These are electric storage heaters combined with a heat pump (see above for description of a heat
pump). It is recommended for those who want to eliminate gas water heaters.
They use about 60% less energy than standard electric heatersvii. They cost between $1K-$2K,
but since the savings are so large the payback period is relatively short (typically less than a
With a standard electric water heater, you might be spending
around $50 per month, or 450 kWhviii. If you switched to a hybrid
electric heater that cut the use of electricity by 55%, it save you
$360 /year, and prevent 1.8 tons of CO2 from entering the
Negative aspects about these systems are:
1) They need as much as 7 feet clearance from floor to ceiling.
2) Up to 1000 cubic feet of uncooled space is needed for the heat pump to capture heat
from the air.
3) These systems are usually noisier than conventional storage-tank heaters.
Kitchen Appliances
Refrigerators can be real energy hogs. Efficiency can be much greater in new models (standards
were updated in 2014) and especially for Energy Star certified refrigerators, which are roughly10
times more efficient than other models meeting new federal requirements. Depending on how old
the current refrigerator in your home is determines the amount of potential savings. Switching to
a more efficient refrigerator can save anywhere between $35-$300 from your utility The
most efficient refrigerator listed on the Energy Star website is a Fisher & Paykel (RB36S) which
uses only 150 kWh/year, and costs $1,700. When buying a new refrigerator is it especially
important to know how much energy it uses, since refrigerators are one of the top energy
consumers out of all household appliances. Also keep in mind that an older refrigerator can
generate a lot of access heat, which could lead to more air-conditioning.
Helpful Tips and Reminders:
o Refrigerator/freezers that are placed side by side are typically
the least efficient set-up. Top door freezers usually have the
best in efficiency ratingsvii.
o Larger refrigerator means greater energy consumption. The
most energy efficient models are typically 16-20 cubic feet.
o If there are two refrigerators/freezers in one household, energy
costs can be cut by a lot if one of the two appliances is
removed. Think about how to rearrange stored food and what
foods are better stored in pantries to save space.
Eliminating 1 refrigerator from your home would save you at least $150 /year on
your energy bill, preventing 0.75 tons of CO2 from entering the atmosphere.
If your current refrigerator uses 250 Kwh/year to operate and you switched to one that
only uses 170 kWh/year, that would save you $12 /year and prevent 120 pounds of
CO2 from entering the atmosphere each year.
First question to ask is: was your dishwasher built before 1994? If so, it probably wastes more
than 10 gallons of water per cycle compared to a newer dishwasher. As we all know, saving
water also saves money. Things to keep in mind when buying a dishwasher are:
- Sizing
- Electrical consumption
- Wash cycle options
- Water consumption
Standard-capacity (bigger size) models hold more than eight place settings, while compactcapacity models hold up to that amount. However, running a compact-model more frequently
may cost more energy over time. Having a dishwasher with several wash cycle options can use
light or energy-saving cycles, which use less water and energy by running a shorter wash cycle.
It is important to compare the electrical consumption and gallons of water used per cycle when
buying a new dishwasher.
Energy Saving Tips and Reminders:
o Scrap don’t rinse
o Load up the dishwasher before running it (dishes will not be
cleaner if there are less dishes)
o Select the no heat drying option. Dishes may not be as dry but
a whole lot of energy is saved.
o The most amount of energy is used to heat the water. Less
water per cycle means less electricity. The average dishwasher
uses about 206 kWh/year.
Conventional dishwasher:
343 kWh/year
Energy Star dishwasher:
283 kWh/year
59 kWh/year
Equivalent to saving 89 pounds of CO2 /year
1,352 gallons of water/year
884 gallons of water/year
468 gallons of water/year
$13 /year
Selecting the right kind of oven really depends on the cooking practices. People who use ovens
frequently should be interested in high efficient models, but should also know what the best
practices are in order to stay efficient. For example, people who peak in the oven while it’s on
should get an oven with a door window and a light in order to limit the amount of times one
opens the oven door. With either gas or electric ovens, self-cleaning models are usually more
efficient because they have more insulation. However, if the self-cleaning feature is used more
than once a month than more energy will be used than saved.
All types of ovens that are recognized and certified by Energy Star
are on average 20% more efficient than standard oven models.
Convection ovens use roughly 20% less energy than conventional ovensiii. Convention ovens
continuously circulate heated air around the food being cooked; therefore, the oven can be set at
lower temperatures but still cook in the same amount of time or less. This can account for large
energy savings in the kitchen.
The average energy use of an efficient, half-size, Energy Star certified
convection oven uses around 3,140 kWh of electricity per year, compared to
a less efficient model that uses around 3,638 kWh per year. That 500 kWh
difference is equivalent to preventing 760 pounds of CO2 from entering the
atmosphere, and saves $76 per year from your utility bill.
Microwave ovens work by creating very high-frequency radio waves, heating the water inside
the food, which will dramatically reducing cooking time along with energy consumption. It is
much more efficient to use a microwave oven for cooking instead of a large convection oven
because microwave ovens are much smaller. The most energy efficient microwave ovens have
automatic temperature control, variable power settings, and sensory cooking that will turn off the
microwave when the cook is cooked. Some affordable energy efficient microwave ovens on the
market include: Bosch HMB 8050 ($700), Sharp R-930CS ($500), Dacor DCM24 ($730), Wolf
MWC24 ($730)ix, etc. There are many, many more available, so it would be best to talk to a sales
person for other brands and price ranges.
A standard microwave oven uses 0.36 kWh/15 minutes to operatex. A slightly more
efficient model would use around 0.225 kWh/15 minutes. Let’s estimate that a
microwave is used for about 15 minutes each week. A standard model would be using
307.8 kWh /year and the other 182.25 kWh /year. That saves you $19 per year on
electricity, and prevents 191 pounds of CO2 from entering the atmosphere each year.
Radiant elements and halogen elements are very efficient compared to standard resistance coils
(the most common type of electric stovetop). Solid disk elements are the least efficient because
they heat up more slowly and use a higher wattageiii.
Induction elements are the newest and most efficient type of electric stovetop on the market. It
works by transferring electromagnetic energy directly to the pan/pot. This method uses less than
half the energy used by a standard electric coil, which as a result introduces less heat into the
kitchen. The downside is that this technology is very new, so it is fairly expensive.
The two most important things to know about stovetops:
1) The money spent on operating them is only about 5% (if not less) of a home’s totally
utility bill, which is very small.
2) Newer style induction cooktops are highly efficient and are able to transfer close to
100% of the energy created onto the pan/pot for cooking, while gas cooktops are only
about 55% efficientiv.
Helpful Tips and Reminders:
o Match the pan size to the element size. For example, a 6" pan
on an 8" burner will waste over 40% of the heat produced by
the burner.
Let’s say your gas burner is on for an average of 1 hour a day. The amount of natural gas burned in
1 year (using a 25,000 BTU max capacity burner) would be like using 2728 kWh of electricity,
which is equivalent to 2.1 tons of CO2. An electric stove of the same capacity would only use 2674
kWh of electricity to run the same amount, which saves 82.1 pounds of CO2 from entering the
atmosphere per year, and $8.20 from your wallet per year. However, you would not see those $8
taken off of your electrical bill, but expenses on natural gas would be eliminated completely.
Cloths dryers consume a lot of energy, on average about 769 kWh/year. Most homes have a
cloths dryer, so there is a lot of opportunity to save energy if everyone made some changes to
household habits. Buying a new dryer has its energy saving benefits: sensory drying uses senor
drying and not timed drying cycles. Another good practice is to use longer drying cycles on a
low heat setting because it uses less energy than a high heat cycle.
Cloths dryers are rated by the Combined Energy Factor (CEF) which is calculated as the clothes
dryer test load weight in pounds divided by the sum of "active mode" per-cycle energy use and
"inactive mode" per-cycle energy use in kWhv.
Helpful Tips and Reminders:
o Clothing damage can be seen in the amount of lint in your dryer.
o Consider air-drying! Cloths last longer when they are air-dried.
Cloths dryers that are recognized and certified by Energy Star are on average 20%
more efficient than standard models. The average cloths dryer uses about 547.6 kWh
/year (3-4 loads a week). The most efficient Energy Star certified cloths dryer only uses
around 311 kWh /year. The 236 kWh difference prevents 359 pounds of CO2 from
entering the atmosphere, and saves $36 /year.
Washers built before 2003 are significantly less efficient than newer models. Just like with
dishwashers, thinking about the size of the appliance is important because a large washer uses
more electricity but a smaller washer might be used more often, depending on the demand.
Energy Star provides a rating system for cloths washers and dryers: Integrated Modified Energy
Factor (IMEF) and Integrated Water Factor (IWF). IMEF measures the energy consumed by the
washer during the cycle and while on standby, the energy used to heat the water, and the energy
used to run the dryer. A high IMEF means the washer is energy efficient. IWF measures water
efficiency in gallons of water consumed per cubic foot of capacity. A low IWF means it’s more
efficient. Energy Star certified washers use 280 kWh of electricity, and 13 gallons of water per
load instead of 23 gallons used by a standard machinevi.
Helpful Tips and Reminders:
o Washers without a central agitator are more efficient.
o Efficient motors spin cloths fast enough during the cycle to
extract more water, which means less energy used by the dryer.
The standard cloths washer uses about 590 kWh /year. Energy Star certified
washing machines use around 300 kWh less which is equivalent to
preventing 456 pounds of CO2 from entering the atmosphere, and saves
$45 /year.
(Source: /
The very first measure to take when making energy saving renovations, whether the goal is to
save money or not, LEDs shouldn’t be a question. They use less electricity, saving at least 75%
of electricity compared to incandescent bulbs. They also last 3-25 times longer, are very durable,
mercury-free, and release 70-90% less heat waste than incandescent bulbs, which makes them
much safer ( There are many different types of LED bulb depending on what
kind of light is needed12 (dimmable, certain type of color, etc).
In comparison to incandescent bulbs and CFLs, LEDs are more efficient because they release
very little energy as heat. Incandescent bulbs release 90% of their energy as heat and CFLs
release about 80% of their energy as heati. Switching from inefficient bulbs to LED lighting has
the greatest potential impact on energy savings due to how accessible they are. LED technology
is advancing and prices are dropping; now there are available bulbs to replace 40, 60, and 75watt incandescent bulbs.
Best practices for lighting would be to install sensor or timed lighting. This feature will put a
timer or sensor on the lights so that if they are left on for too long they turn off automatically if
no movement is detected. Despite the initial investment, it can save people a large chunk of
money especially for those who have a habit of leaving the lights on.
Payback period is typically less than a year. LEDs use up to 90% less
electricity and have a much longer life span. For a typical household,
switching to LED bulbs could around $170 /year. (Source:
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