Earth Day is the perfect opportunity to take a closer look at ways to reduce energy at home. In the U.S., residential heating and cooling contribute more than 50% of your home's total energy consumption. Even HVAC energy efficiency improvements that seem minor can positively impact your monthly energy bill—and the planet's future.
Why Reducing Emissions Is Important: Residential Energy Use By the Numbers
Roughly 55% of your home's energy use is related to heating or cooling. The average U.S. household energy consumption totals more than twice as much energy as the average car uses in a year. While electric vehicles, some even powered by residential solar panels, have garnered more attention and investment, energy efficiency needs to come home to meet national emissions targets.
Addressing the average residential energy used per year will significantly reduce the sector's broader impact. Residential energy use accounts for roughly 21% of total U.S. energy consumption, the third-most after the transportation (37%) and industrial (35%) sectors. Residential heating and cooling accounts for roughly 20% of US aggregate carbon emissions.
How to Reduce HVAC Energy Consumption at Home
HVAC's sizeable footprint makes it the perfect place to start making energy-efficient improvements.
Here are a few more ways to reduce energy use at home.
Upgrade Your HVAC System
HVAC systems ten years old or older are often less efficient, more prone to emergency repairs, and lack modern energy-efficient technologies. When it's time to replace your current HVAC system, invest in an air-source heat pump and reduce HVAC energy consumption by 30-60%. You could qualify for up to $8,000 in rebates for purchasing and installing a new, efficient air-exchange heat pump, which will also serve as your air conditioner.
With substantial changes in HVAC efficiency standards, it’s also important to work with your HVAC technician to make sure your new equipment is up to snuff.
Related: What Is a Heat Pump?
Schedule Routine Maintenance
Make sure your home's HVAC system is working properly with regular maintenance. Depending on where you live and the age of your HVAC system, you'll benefit from annual or bi-annual service. Don't forget to follow our seasonal checklists to prepare your AC unit or heating system between appointments!
There are many ways to reduce the energy used by heating and cooling, including getting personalized insights from your local One Hour Heating & Air Conditioning. We can help identify the best ways to improve energy efficiency in your home and help you, in some areas, access $1200 in tax credits. These credits can be used annually to cover a host of upgrades, from new windows to electric heating and cooling systems.
Adjust Your Thermostat Settings
There’s nothing comfortable about climate change. The U.S. Department of Energy recommends maintaining 68 degrees Fahrenheit during winter and 78 degrees during summer. Adjusting your thermostat settings when you leave for the day by 10-15 degrees can lower your heating or cooling bill by as much as 15%.
Invest in a Smart Thermostat
Why not get help managing your thermostat settings with a smart thermostat? They offer many of the same features as a programmable thermostat with the added control of digital connectivity: You can adjust your thermostat from anywhere using a smartphone!
They also learn your preferences and daily habits to automatically optimize settings based on home occupancy, current energy rates, and when it thinks you'll return home at the end of the day.
Add or Update Insulation
Installing insulation reduces drafts and helps retain treated air more efficiently. Add insulation wherever possible in exterior walls, insulation, basement, and connected garages. Insulation can lower your home's heating and cooling costs by as much as 15%!
Batten Down the Hatches
Protect against air leaks by inspecting windows, doors, and external vents for cracks or gaps. You can reduce energy loss from leaks by running through this checklist seasonally:
- Check that all windows are completely shut.
- Make sure weatherstrips on doors aren't cracked, warped, or missing.
- Look for gaps around doors, especially near the doorknob and latch.
- Use caulk to fill in any gaps.
Replace Your Air Filters
Dirty air filters force your HVAC system to work harder and use more energy to keep you comfortable. We recommend changing your air filter every 1-3 months, although homeowners with asthma, allergies, or pets should consider replacing filters more often.
Make a Commitment to Reduce Emissions
Changing residential energy consumption away from fossil fuels and older technology toward electric appliances and new high-efficiency solutions offers the opportunity to substantially lower carbon emissions in the years ahead—but we need to make those changes now.
You can always count on One Hour Heating & Air Conditioning to make suggestions to green your home and keep your HVAC running efficiently. Schedule an appointment or call (800) 893-3523 today!