San Diego California, holds the title as “America’s Finest City” however, San Diego unfortunately also currently owns the title of having the “Highest Energy Rates in the Nation!” (News Article) “San Diego Highest Energy Rates in Nation“ Although our beautiful weather and mild climate helps to make up for some of the “high cost of living pain” It’s unfortunately still no doubt… that the local cost of water & energy continues to rise (with a 20-40% increase in recent rates) and the regional cost of living has become a real challenge many families are facing today.
New Standards in residential Energy Efficiency (i.e. Title 24) effective 2014, will help speed up the movement towards adopting efficiency measures into all new home construction and remodeling. Still many of our local residents find themselves living in apartments or homes that were built prior to the 1970’s and constructed horribly inefficient. We realize that many of the residents in our local community may be searching to find affordable practices and measures they can take, to cut back on utility waste, and help them save money at home.
Our goal in this section is to help simplify your search, reduce confusion, and filter out much of the unnecessary clutter of information that exists on the web and various other media outlets today. This section will enable you to save time researching, and help you focus on what we believe to be the critical items of importance, when it comes to achieving water and energy efficiency in your home!
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Did you know…
The average utility expense over 30 years in a San Diego home could add up to be in excess of $115K!! With the average San Diego home price $400K, you can see over 30 years, utility expenses can equate to over a quarter of the homes original purchase price! Why Not Find a Better Way to Save and Cut that Financial Expense in Half?
A good place to Start Efficiency at Home is by:
Uncovering some Common Energy Myths!
Actually, warm air rises. And houses tend to leak, especially at the attic—that’s why attics are warmer in winter than they should be. The only reason most people put more insulation in attics than they do in walls is that it is cheaper and easier to put more in the attic, and the myth of heat rising reinforces that thinking. In the summer, cool air sinks, and the upper floor gets hot because the air leaking in is coming from the roof/attic area, where it’s superheated. Sealing attic leaks before insulating prevents air exchange in both directions.
DUCT TAPE IS DESIGNED FOR SEALING DUCTS…
Despite duct tape’s name and its status as a superior do-everything product, there’s one place duct tape doesn’t work: ducts. It’s been proven unreliable, and according to building codes, it is actually not legal for sealing ducts. It may be good for 1,001 other things, but for ducts, use duct-sealing mastic.
MY WINDOWS AND DOORS CAUSE THE MOST DRAFTS…
The biggest air leaks in most homes are hidden in attics, basements, garages, and crawl spaces not around your windows. When you sit by a window you feel air moving, but that can be misleading. Often, it’s mostly the “cold” or “hot” surface you feel. Surface temperature affects your comfort dramatically through radiant heat, think about being in a car in the hot sun. Even with air-conditioning on, you can feel the heat from the windshield on your hands. You can also feel a “ghost draft” in cold weather. Even with a perfectly airtight window, cool indoor air bouncing off the windowsill can make you uncomfortable.
TURNING YOUR COMPUTER OFF WEARS IT OUT… SO IT’S BETTER TO LEAVE IT ON?
This is a holdover from 1980s technology, when hard drives were prone to failure. Modern computers don’t suffer from power cycling. In fact, turning them off or putting them in standby helps them to last longer by reducing heat and mechanical wear. With modern energy-saving technologies, and much more stable operating systems, using a standby, sleep, or hibernate mode will get you back up and running reliably, much faster than rebooting.
DUCTS MUST BE CLEANED REGULARLY…
Unless you’ve had a big water spill or leak that got into some of your ducts, and as a result there’s mold growing inside them, you don’t need your ducts cleaned. In fact, the main purpose of duct-cleaning services is to clean out your wallet. Furnaces don’t create dust, they just move it around—and any dust that’s in your ducts is unlikely to get kicked up if it hasn’t already.
ATTIC VENTS ARE FOR FRESH AIR…
The vents that are typically installed in attics are not intended to help air flow through your house, only through the attic. They are supposed to help keep the attic dry, and they do help. However, sealing leaks between the house and the attic is actually more important.
INSULATING 98 % OF A GIVEN AREA… PROVIDES 98% INSULATING PERFORMANCE?
If you had to wade across a river, would you care about the average depth? Just as the depth of the deepest area would define your success, in an insulated surface (like an attic) the performance of the worst area dominates the overall performance. A gap of 2 percent in an attic insulated with R-38, turns the overall performance into about R-22, a degradation of more than 40 percent.
INSULATION MAKES A HOUSE AIR TIGHT…
Conventional insulation is like a thick, knitted sweater. Without a wind breaker on top, the air moves right through the sweater— seriously compromising its performance (you get cold!). Sealing and insulation work the same way—you have to put them together to work effectively.
THE LARGER THE AIR CONDITIONER… THE BETTER IT WILL COOL MY HOUSE?
For an air conditioner especially, bigger is NOT better: Shorter run times mean less humidity control and more time spent in the inefficient startup mode. You will actually get more efficiency and better comfort if the system is slightly undersize.
IF THE OUTSIDE OF MY WATER HEATER DOESN’T FEEL WARM… IT MUST BE WELL INSULATED?
Even on a poorly insulated tank, the outside surface of the tank jacket will be pretty close to the room temperature—that doesn’t mean you aren’t losing a lot of heat. Unless the tank is already internally insulated with foam, it can still benefit from an extra blanket.
A TIMER ON AN ELECTRIC WATER HEATER WILL SAVE ENERGY…
A timer actually won’t save heat, unless you have a very badly insulated water heater, and it won’t save you money unless you have a time-of-use utility rate. What will save you energy is to turn the tank off at the circuit breaker any time you leave the house for more than a couple of days. (If you have a gas water heater, set it to “vacation” or “pilot.”) Just remember that it will take a little while to heat up when you get home.
REFERENCES (Water and Energy Efficiency)
Web Based Media
Alternative Fuels and Advanced Vehicles Data Center- afdc.energy.gov
U.S. Department of Energy- energy.gov
National Renewable Energy Laboratory- nrel.gov
Oak Ridge National Laboratory- ornl.gov
Rocky Mountain Institute Home Energy Briefs- rmi.org
Smart Grid- smartgrid.gov
Energy Savers- energysavers.gov
ENERGY STAR”- energystar.gov
American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy- aceee. org/consumer
DOE Building America- buildingAmerica.gov
DOE Building Technologies Program–buildings.energy.gov
Residential Energy Services Network– resnet.us
National Association of Home Builders- nahb.com
Building Performance Institute- bpi.org
San Diego Gas and Electric- sdge.com
SoCal Water Smart- socalwatersmart.com
CA. American Water Conservation- amwater.com
CA. Urban Water Conservation Council- cuwcc.org
CA. Public Utilities Commission- cpuc.ca.gov
Hard Copy Publications
Improving Energy Efficiency in Apartment Buildings; John DeCicco
Cut Your Energy Bills Now; Bruce Harley
Residential Energy Cost Savings and Comfort for Existing Buildings; John Krigger
Save Energy Save Money; Editors of The Family Handyman.
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