Top money-saving energy upgrades

April 10, 2015

We all know that small improvements to your home--such as switching your lightbulbs to high efficiency CFLs or LEDs and turning down the temperature of your hot water heater--can be help you save on energy bills. Small fixes do help, but the most effective way to create long-term savings is to upgrade your home's energy systems. You don't need to take on the costs of energy efficiency as a homeowner on your own. CaliforniaFIRST is here to provide you with the support and information you need to make upgrades to your home that have an upfront investment, but will save you money over time.

Air Sealing

Most homes leak air through cracks, small holes and openings for plumbing, wiring, lighting and ductwork. Plugging one leak may seem insignificant, but if you have a bunch of these small leaks, they can increase your utility bills and make your home less comfortable. Sealing your home's envelopeегits exterior walls, ceiling and floorsегis important to lowering energy bills. The goal is to reduce air leakage as much as possible, while still ventilating properly to allow fresh air into the home.

Ductless Mini-Split

There are many benefits to installing a ductless mini-split heat pump or air conditioner. They are small and perfect for heating and cooling individual rooms in older homes. Mini splits have no ducts, so they avoid the energy losses associated with the ductwork of central forced air systems. The installation process is simple, and there are many manufacturing options to create the best fit for your home.

Programmable Thermostat

Heating and cooling are the most expensive energy costs. Programmable thermostats let you schedule and closely regulate temperatures during the day, saving money and increasing comfort. Presetting the temperature during the day or night can significantly reduce the amount of energy wasted and make sure you are only heating and cooling your home when it's needed.

Ground Source Heat Pump

Among the most energy- and cost-efficient heating and cooling systems available today, ground source heat pumps use less energy and produce fewer emissions than conventional systems. They can help reduce air and water pollution and provide a comfortable indoor environment for building occupants. Ground source heat pumps use the stable temperature of the ground as a heat source to warm buildings in winter and as a heat-sink to cool them in summer.

Solar Panels

Solar energy is produced by conducting the sun's radiation without producing any smoke, gas or other chemical by-product. There are dozens of benefits beyond lower energy bills and less pollution. Depending on where you live, solar panels not only help you save on your electricity bill - they can also generate passive income by selling the energy you generate with your solar panels back to the energy companies in your community.

Whole House Fan

If your home is in a moderate climate, a whole-house fan can reduce your need for air conditioning. To keep your house cool, a whole-house fan powerfully draws air from all parts of your home, creating cooling circulation and replacing the hot and stale indoor air with cooler air from outside. As the weather warms up, stay cool without worrying about sky-high utility bills. The beauty of all these energy upgrades is that they make your house more comfortable and lower your utility bills. Want to upgrade but don't have the cash on hand for one of these energy-saving solutions? CaliforniaFIRST government-supported financing will help you pay for an energy upgrade that you repay on your property taxes.