Energy Efficiency as a Whole-House Systems Approach for Alexandria Area Homeowners
When it comes to energy efficiency, your home is like your body where every part is interdependent. The whole-house concept includes ways to keep your Fairfax-Alexandria area home cool in the summer and warm in winter.
The Build Green program at the University of Florida created the following steps focusing on the interdependency of the house and its heating and cooling systems that use about half of the energy.
- Energy efficiency begins with sealing a home by plugging cracks in areas that allow a room’s air out and unwanted outside air in.This involves sealing cracks in doors, windows and walls. Doors and windows should be straight and seal tightly when closed. Weatherstripping and caulking can be used for sealing.
- Ductwork must be tightly sealed. There is no point in losing cooled air to the attic or underground area that is not used. Properly sealed ducts save on energy and put less stress on the HVAC system.
- Attic and crawl space insulation keeps the preferred air inside the house preventing air from moving out through the ceiling. Roof temperatures are hot in the summer and proper insulation will keep the heat from putting more stress on your air conditioner. Conversely, the insulation will keep heat inside the house in cold weather and prevent it from escaping through the roof.
- Windows should be sealed tight and shaded from direct sunlight to keep cool air in the home in summer. Double-pane windows are helpful, but any window can be shaded outdoors with trees. Drapes and shades add beauty to your home’s decor while helping to control direct heat from the sun. They can help hold in warm air in the winter.
- Periodic HVAC maintenance is most important. Change filters and have regular professional maintenance checks to make sure the air conditioner, dehumidifier and heating system are working correctly.
- Appliances and lighting that are updated will improve energy efficiency. Use Energy Star rated dishwashers, water heaters, refrigerators, dryers, washing machines and freezers. Use new compact fluorescent lighting wherever possible.
HVAC & Plumbing Unlimited supports energy efficiency through green living that will lower your utility costs while helping the environment.