Money Matters: Steps to save on home cooling costs
Between 20 to 50 percent of annual energy consumption goes to cooling the house. Glenn Hill, A Professor of Architecture at Texas Tech, said there are adjustments you can make to cut back on A/C usage. "Undoubtedly one of the most important things for the summer months is to weatherize your house. Make sure you have the insulation levels and you've tightened your house, weather-stripping of the doors and windows that don't leak," Hill said. "Also, get double-paned windows if you don't have those. Storm windows or new windows will help." Hill suggests one way to test the air-tightness of your home"After the next dust storm, discover how much dust has collected on the seal of your window. That means that window is probably not very tight," Hill said. A drafty house means wasted cash. "It's allowing hot air in during the summer and cold air in during the winter. That is a lot of energy loss," Hill said. Hill suggests a second way to save on A/C costs."Update all your appliances as soon as you can to a higher Energy Star rated number." Energy Star is an international standard for energy efficient products."Washers and dryers, especially in homes that have children, are big consumers of energy," Hill said. Hill said a third step to slash the utility bill is to turn up that thermostat. "The higher you can set your thermostat on a cooling mode the less energy you're going to use, even two degrees difference will help," Hill said. "If you're leaving the house for a long time, set it up to 80. That's not going to hurt your animals." Also, don't rely solely on the A/C system. "Use fans to keep you cool. If you've got ceiling fans, turn them on so you can set the thermostat higher," Hill said. The U.S. Green Building Council is hosting a workshop in Lubbock on Wednesday, July 10 covering A/C design for efficient homes. For details on the workshop visit the BPC Website.