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What Energy Changes to Make?

For many of us, saving money is a priority in all aspects of life.  I have quite a few grocery store chain cards hanging from my keychain so that I am ready for when those grapes are 10 cents off.  In some instances, saving can be a little daunting, especially if the potential savings are not crystal clear.  When it comes to energy efficiency and money saving in the home, one of the things that we hear the most about it are efficient lights (CFLs) and a furnace or air conditioner with a higher efficiency rating.  Have you ever heard, “you have to spend money to make money?” well, in another strange paradox, sometimes you have to spend money to save money too.

Both a new heating and cooling system and new lights would cost money.  They would both also offer you savings.  The question is, what would give you the most bang for your buck?  Replacing a few simple lights bulbs is cheaper for sure and they would render some savings.  A new heating and cooling system is a higher initial investment, but the savings are greater.

I recently read an article about CFLS and regular lighting.  One of the ideas was that the heat waste from regular lights can be used to help heat the home and so therefore, you would actually lose money buy installing new CFL lights.  However, according to this article (“Which Comes First, Lighting or Heating?:  How much energy and money do homeowners save – or- lose by replacing incandescent lights with CFLS” by Robert Clear and Francis Rubenstein, Home Energy Magazine) that only happens on a few occasions and should not stop you from installing those lights.  What really works the best is combining the lights with a high efficiency heating and cooling system.  This increases the savings from CFLS by a lot.  

“The fact that some of the savings from CFLs is offset during the heating season is not an excuse to avoid using CFLs. It does, however, indicate that the first order of business in heating climates is to upgrade the heating system and insulate the structure as much as possible.” (Clear and Francis)

Therefore, the best way to save money and get the most bang is to combine multiple ways.  It is completely understandable if it is not financially feasible to make all of these large changes at once.  However, that is not a reason to not start little by little, every small change counts.  If you are interested in learning more about energy efficiency contact FLAME or check out Home Energy Magazine.

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