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admin 23.04.2014

Just for fun, I recently Googled the phrase “energy-saving tips.” I dove deep — all the way to page 7 of the Google results.
Evidently, there is a secret stupid tips network (or stupid tips underground) that shares bad advice. A tip fails the cost-effectiveness test if implementing the tip costs more than will ever be saved by lower energy bills.
Install a ground-source heat pumpHome heating and cooling system that relies on the mass of the earth as the heat source and heat sink. If you read enough lists of energy-saving tips, pretty soon you will realize that some tips directly contradict other tips. How good are utility executives at quantifying the energy savings that homeowners can expect by implementing their recommendations?
Sometimes, a list of energy-saving tips includes a few oddball items that were thrown onto the list by a desperate writer battling a press deadline. The next tip reminds me of the advice given in the 1950s by parish priests about marital relations: Marital relations happen sometimes, but the act probably shouldn’t involve any pleasure. If you read enough of these energy-saving tips lists, you end up with a few that can only be called bizarre. So, after spending half a day wiping down my washer and dryer, how much energy will I save? One useful website has advice for homeowners who want to do a thermal survey of their home, but who can’t afford an infrared thermometerA digital thermometer capable of measuring the temperature of a surface from a distance ranging from a few inches to a few feet.
Here’s the advice from Avista Utilities: “Children and animals love comfort, and they can help us find possible heat loss in and around our homes.
Finally, here is a tip from an article called “Easy Ways to Save Energy This Winter,” published by The Telegraph.
And the second tip belongs on a list of things you can do to minimize the chance of carbon-monoxide poisoning. It should go without saying, but it seems that every time I write an article debunking energy-saving myths, I have to repeat the following statement: it's perfectly OK to engage in many of the activities listed on this page. The difference of the pressure curves of clean versus dirty filters is pretty shocking as well. Changing filters once a month won't save you any energy, and tips like this are a distraction from the important measures that can really reduce your annual energy bill.
Once the outside fan comes on, a tremendous volume of outdoor air flows across the outdoor heat exchange coils. While it's true that a thin film of air near siding that has been warmed by the sun, or a thin film of air near a metal box that has been warmed by the sun, is at a somewhat higher temperature than the outdoor air, the volume of air in that film is insignificant compared to the large volumes of air pulled through the condenser. Yes if a house has a dirty filter it will increase the speed of the fan and also could reduce the efficiency of the cooling system due to lower airflows (if not variable fan speed) - however in both cases it would have to be a freakishly dirty filter!
Caulking around windows "The big leaks are in your attic and basement" - OK, but that doesn't address how useful it is to do the windows if the big leaks are taken care of. AC Condenser in the shade: "debunked many years ago by researches at the FSEC" - where is the report? Close off heating registers: So the advice is contradictory - how about an explanation from an HVAC expert about what is the right advice? The reason that you feel warmer on the south side of your house is because of radiation from the sun striking your skin and clothing -- not because the air temperature is different. By now, weatherization contractors who are trying to reduce the air infiltration number shown on a blower door have learned where to look for leaks, and which leaks to address first.
GBA has many articles that are written for homeowners who are just beginning to examine energy-related issues; you might be interested in browsing through our encyclopedia (available by clicking on the "Green Basics" tab at the top of every page). Finally, if you use the "search" box on the GBA website, you can find thousands of articles on many topics.
I think your views on curtains, also noted in previous articles, need a little more evidentual backing.
Like many of the tips discussed on this page, there is nothing wrong with pulling your curtains shut on a cold winter night. Regarding the studies (in Cal) were these results scewed by the HVAC being located in the attic and or primarily cooling data?
Curious because duct losses (leak or temp) inside a conditioned space (floor, wall, basement) aren't completely lost or wasted. I think it's safe to assume that (a) most of the homes in the California study had ductwork that was partially outside of the thermal envelope of the house, and (b) most of the homes in the California study had leaky ductwork. I recently heard a presentation (at the December 2013 Buildings 12 conference in Florida) by Iain Walker of LBNL on “Building Envelope and Duct Airtightness of New U.S. In regions of the country with basements, ducts are more likely to be indoors than in regions of the country with slab-on-grade homes. Homes with forced-air distribution systems are much harder to zone than systems with hydronic distribution systems.
That reminds of Scott Adams' - Dilbert creator - acronym: (BOCTAOE) But of Course There Are Obvious Exceptions when presenting an argument or issue. Reading FSEC one report, it doesn't look like any striking conclusion can be made that it doesn't work, it just doesn't provide miracles, and may not be worth the cost. If you can take advantage of free site planning and placement, it might be worth the time for the few % point gains.
Would be nice to see them or someone do a more controlled study; identical units located in the same environment at the same time with controlled output, one shaded, one not. You would never see mechanics write an article telling you that changing your oil won't save you significantly at the pump without telling you that you still need to change your oil to prevent costly damage to you car.
The focus of my article was to warn readers about energy-saving tips that are unsupported by data, so that readers who are interested in saving energy aren't waylaid by bad advice. You suggest that I should have included a section in my article explaining some of the useful characteristics and benefits of the measures that don't save energy.
I will once again repeat what I wrote before: It's perfectly OK to engage in many of the activities listed on this page.
Missing from the list is the advice I see alot from utilities: save fuel by lowering setting of the hot water heater.
I can hardly believe I am defending Reliant Energy, but their advice to cook with a lid might be relevant to humidity in the house. I have something to say about HVAC filters too, the advice to change every 30 days reminds me of oil-change businesses' advice to change your car's motor oil every 3000 miles. On the subject of furnace filters though, I have a modest money-saving (though not necessarily energy-saving) tip.
I agree some of these practices are stupid by any means of measurement, but others save energy in the aggregate even if they may not save significant money; simple little tasks or habits can have a significant impact on the overall energy usage when done by millions. Shading a heat pump with deciduous trees cools the summer heat by a minimum of 10F and lets the sun shine into the area in winter. I replaced my light bulbs with CFL bulbs and got complaints from my wife on the quality of the light. I know that if I had access to seal the attic the ROI would be great, but access would involve major holes in gables.
I have decided to impart every worthwhile tip that we have learned in the last 4 months of research.
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A number of the big energy firms have increased prices in recent weeks and fuel poverty campaigners have called for cross-party action on the "national crisis" of cold homes.What can we do at home to help reduce our bills?

Thermal images reveal energy inefficiencyHomes lose heat in many places, as thermal imagery shows.
Thermograms - images produced by devices that detect heat radiation - show where heat leaves a building.
Thermograms of key London landmarks taken recently show how many of the capital's key buildings leak heat. St Paul's Cathedral appeared to be a little better than the Queen's residence in the images taken as part of an energy-saving survey. However the Royal Albert Hall's many windows showed the building was also losing a large amount of heat.
Thousands of people are having "do not resuscitate" orders imposed on them without their families' consent, an audit of dying patients finds. Every now and then, some utility executive or government employee comes up with a new stupid tip, and (worried that the idea might not get the recognition it deserves) immediately sends out a mass e-mail to every member of the stupid tips network, so that the tip can be published widely.
The bad advice is so pervasive that I have decided to catalog these tips by category — to create a taxonomy of stupid tips.
Seal the seams of any ducts located outside the thermal envelope of your home, and add duct insulation if the ducts are poorly insulated.
If your refrigerator, furnace, or air conditioner is old, swap it for a new, high-efficiency appliance.
If your house has single-pane windows and you live in a cold climate, install low-eLow-emissivity coating.
If you live in a cold climate and you heat with fuel oil, consider installing a ductless minisplit heat pumpHeating and cooling system in which specialized refrigerant fluid in a sealed system is alternately evaporated and condensed, changing its state from liquid to vapor by altering its pressure; this phase change allows heat to be transferred into or out of the house. The basic problem with tips that save cooking energy is that cooking represents only 4% of U.S.
This tip comes from an electric utility called Reliant, the city of Tallahassee, Florida, the city of Richland, Washington, and Alliant Energy. According to NV Energy, replacing “inefficient single-pane windows with energy efficient multi-pane, thermally-broken, vinylCommon term for polyvinyl chloride (PVC). According to Wisconsin Public Service, “Just by using the right size pot on a burner, you can save about $36 a year if you have an electric range, or $18 a year with a gas stove.” Or perhaps 48 cents. According to Virginia Energy Sense, this simple measure “can cut your energy bill by as much as 30%!” Or maybe 1%. According to Alliant Energy, “A $50-100 annual tune-up can help reduce your heating costs by up to five percent.” Or maybe 0%. According to PSNC Energy, this simple measure can increase the efficiency of your air conditioner by 10%. This strange energy-saving tip can get you into trouble very fast, since the use of humidifiers is associated with sheathingMaterial, usually plywood or oriented strand board (OSB), but sometimes wooden boards, installed on the exterior of wall studs, rafters, or roof trusses; siding or roofing installed on the sheathing—sometimes over strapping to create a rainscreen.
Humidifiers are promoted as a good way to save energy by Georgia Natural Gas and Black Hills Power.
Unfortunately, homes that perform well without attic ventilation sometimes develop problems when vents are added. According to United Power, a Colorado electric utility, it’s possible to save energy if you “set your hot tub heater thermostat to 102? F.” I’m sorry, United Power, but that’s not going to happen. Most hand-held infrared thermometers include a laser to help aim the device; the laser plays no role in temperature measurement. If there are areas around single pane windows, doors or vents that your kids avoid, consider checking for heat loss. The first tip doesn't belong on a list of energy-saving tips; it belongs on a list of things you can do to prepare for a power outage. If you use the "search" box on our site, you'll find enough information to keep you reading for hours. Storm windows may be more cost effective than new windows energy-wise, but keep in mind that they won't make a crappy old window operate better, or add any resale value to the house. This might not be the place to say it, but I'd like to voice my appreciation for this site and the obvious dedication and effort you put into it.
Homes that are dusty will need more frequent filter changes than homes that are less dusty. It represents a tiny percentage of the air that is forced by the fan through the condenser coils. Although this work is unlikely to make a significant difference if you are trying to reduce the rate of air leakage in your home, it's perfectly sensible to do it, and it can often improve occupant comfort. One of the best articles on this topic, "The Nonbenefit of Shading Air Conditioners," was published in the July 1995 issue of Energy Design Update. In that article, I wrote, "[Michael] Blasnik quotes a study performed by Iain Walker, a staff scientist at LBNL: 'The results of this study showed that register closing led to increased energy use for a typical California house over a wide combination of climate, duct leakage, and number of closed registers. I'm not sure why this tip is offered -- the logic behind bad advice is often lost in the mists of time.
You guessed correctly: fireplaces are responsible for huge levels of air leakage, even when they aren't operating. It worked wonders for me in my feckless youth until a coworker asked me to shower more often. While the theory seems sound, I have always found that closing curtains, whether well sealed at the top or not has a significant effect on both comfort and the measureable temperature of the room for a constant heat source. This measure will usually improve occupant comfort, by reducing the chilling effect (radiational cooling) that occurs when heat radiates from a person's skin or clothing to a cold window pane. The discussion failed to address the characteristics of an effective window quilt, thereby wasting an opportunity to explain what a good window quilt would look like. The discussion failed to address the fact that effective window quilts aren't a cost-effective energy savings measure, because any savings attributable to the use of a window quilt aren't enough to justify the high cost of a window quilt.
We'd all love to see builders start putting ducts indoors, and we'd all love to see well-sealed ductwork.
Dwellings.” According to Walker, "Duct leakage is low in Washington and high in New Mexico and Florida.
Shutting off registers isn't good for the system, because the furnace or air handler needs a minimum air flow over the heat exchanger or over the indoor coil to operate properly. Also important to note that some shading attempts like that in the third experiment can have a negative affect.
Ideally, these lists would start with tips that either result in significant energy savings, or which fall into the "big bang for your buck" category. The article was certainly too long; at 2,600 words, it violates all of the rules of blogging. I have tried to fill in the gaps in the Comments section by providing more documentation to support the statements made in the article. As it is in hot-humid South Texas (mainly Houston), outdoor dewpoint may be 72F much of the summer and indoor humidity is often poorly controlled too.
If there are energy savings to be calculated, it could be that doing so removes from the equation driving to a store and buying a new filter. The utilities may be implying individual households will see it on their monthly bill, when the utility is more concerned with the capacity of power plants, and, I would hope, the size of a carbon footprint over years.
They evenly distribute air throughout your home and can be used in place of your air conditioner when it’s not so hot, saving you even more money and keeping your house cool at the same time. In the summer, when the heat is at its greatest, it takes more energy for your air conditioner to run because it’s inefficient. Those appliances use the most heat, which then raises energy bills because, like most people, you turn the air conditioner down to get rid of the excess heat. To keep this from increasing the temperature in your house, wait until nighttime to do your dishes and laundry. Let us know by leaving a comment and sharing any energy saving tips and tricks you might have. If you continue, we’ll assume you are happy for your web browser to receive all cookies from our website.

Buckingham Palace shows a lot of yellow and red, and little blue - the colour representing cold.
As I’ve noted before, researchers haven’t been able to measure any energy savings resulting from this measure.
As Michael Blasnik has shown, there is no evidence to support the idea that the cost of an annual furnace tune-up can ever be recouped by energy savings. There are only two problems with the advice: electrical outlets aren’t a major air leakage point, and gaskets don’t stop air leaks at this location. When this advice is repeated, the authors usually fail to mention that you need a way to stop air from flowing between the curtain and the window — or else convection currents will sabotage your efforts to save energy. Very thin metallic coating on glass or plastic window glazing that permits most of the sun’s short-wave (light) radiation to enter, while blocking up to 90% of the long-wave (heat) radiation. Many energy-saving tips have this same flavor: they are intended to keep homeowners busy — too busy to read the meter or pay attention to their actual energy bills. But some electric utilities are under the mistaken impression that adding attic ventilation can lower cooling bills, even though no researcher has ever been able to measure such savings. It comes from an article called “Remodeling Tips to Save Energy At Home” published by Living Green Magazine.
Used as an inexpensive substitute for a thermal imaging camera, an infrared thermometer can detect hot or cold spots on walls, ceilings, and duct systems.
Rub two whole fillets of salmon with a mixture of two tablespoons of sea salt, one tablespoon of soft brown sugar, a bunch of chopped fresh dill and a generous glass of vodka or schnapps. Most homes will do just fine if the filter is changed once or twice a year -- but if you want to do it more often, that's fine too. Outdoor air is at the same temperature on the sunny side of your house as it is on the shady side of your house. Windows tend to be located near the home's neutral pressure plane, and are therefore much less affected by the stack effect.
But remember: the first places to begin your air sealing efforts are your attic, basement, and crawl space. While it is not available on the web, you may be able to find it in a good academic library.
I would guess that someone was trying to reduce the volume of air that spills out of a refrigerator every time the door is opened.
When they are operating, they often remove more heated air from your house than they provide, resulting in a net loss of heat.
In any case, whether your are a beginner or an energy geek, we welcome your feedback, and we also welcome questions on our Q&A page.
Shutting off registers causes more air to escape from leaks -- and most duct systems have leaks.
Tips that result in only very small levels of energy savings, or which aren't particularly cost-effective, wouldn't make the list. The problem is that a typical 3-ton unit moves about 2,800 cubic feet of air per minute or 170,000 cubic feet per hour. Something which reduces indoor humidity would indeed reduce the felt need for AC a bit, and there might actually be some energy savings. As far as I could discern, it wasn't designed to be a complete treatment or explanation of why those recommended practices aren't helpful in saving energy.
Or reducing the amount of trucking and packaging used to transport and protect a new filter. In the summer we have 15 hours of daylight and in the winter the heat replaced some of the baseboard load. Constantly adjusting the temperature is what really causes your bills to skyrocket in the summer season. Replace your dated unit with a new, energy-efficient one and enjoy lower energy costs all summer long. Since it is considerably cooler at night, the temperature inside will not increase too much.
This tip (often referred to as the “make-work-for-HVAC(Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning). These two small problems don’t prevent the following sources from providing the tip: the California Energy Commission, a gas utility called PSNC Energy, Alliant Energy, and CNN. This tip may even make you uncomfortable enough to turn up the thermostat, raising your energy bills.
This incomplete tip is provided by many sources, including Connecticut Light & Power and the website of the National Association of Certified Home Inspectors.
A photovoltaic (PV) cell has no moving parts; electrons are energized by sunlight and result in current flow.
That’s when you should consider lowering your thermostat and using a space heater.” But another list — “101 Ways to Save Energy,” a document on an Alliant Energy web page — advises, “Avoid using space heaters, including electric, kerosene or propane models. In a cooling-dominated climate like Nevada, electricity savings will vary greatly depending on many factors, including how shaded the windows are; but it is highly unlikely that electricity savings will approach 25%.
It’s hard to imagine why this suggestion is on anyone’s list of “energy-saving tips,” but it is. In spite of the lack of data, this measure is recommended by Reliant, PSNC Energy, and Long Island Power Authority. Nevertheless, you can find this tip on lists published by the state of Nebraska and Black Hills Power. Sandwich together and put in the fridge, weighted down by a wooden chopping board and several kitchen weights or other heavy items. The energy savings resulting from making this volume of air smaller would be insignificant.
But for the misanthropes in the audience, reducing consumption of hot water has got to be a genuine energy saver.
In order for a shading device to be effective, it would have to shade the entire area in which that air is contained.
I agree there may be smarter ways -- more bang for the buck, or watts for the work -- to save both energy and money. We took the foam removed from the kits and put them on the back of baby safety plugs from the dollar store. A Doctor once wrote to me saying that keeping a water heater at 120 may inhibit Legionnaires Disease.
Collectively, the mechanical systems that heat, ventilate, and cool a building.-techs” tip) is trumpeted by an electric utility called WE Energies, Wisconsin Public Service, a New Mexico electric utility called PNM, EnergyRight Solutions, and a utility named Alliant Energy. Among the guilty are the California Energy Commission, NV Energy, WE Energies, the California Natural Resources Agency, Virginia Energy Sense, and a utility called NSTAR Electric & Gas.
But the advice is provided by Duke Energy, Alabama Power, an electric utility called Xcel Energy, and a Sustainability blog on the University of Illinois at Chicago web site. There is no downside to keeping a big block of ice in your freezer, so go right ahead and do that if you want to.
My heater says not to raise it over 125 to prevent scalding, so check the specs before adjustment. Before you reach for the air conditioner, check out these energy saving tips to keep you cool this summer and keep your energy bills from rising with the temperature. Even at peak sunlight (1,000 watts per square meter), shading two-thirds of the sunlight form a 3-ton air conditioner would theoretically reduce the cooling air temperature by only 0.3 degrees F and thereby increase the air conditioner efficiency by less than half a percent.

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