April 29, 2015 2:09 am
To take the guesswork out of choosing the most cost-effective upgrades, the Propane Education and Research Council (PERC) ranked the top energy-efficient improvements. Here are some of the projects that will give a homeowner the most bang for their buck.
1. Sealing windows and doors consistently has the best payback for homeowners in all regions of the U.S. Proper air-sealing can reduce air infiltration by 30 percent, and has a payback within one to four years. Sealing leaks can also reduce noise pollution and prevent pollen or dust from entering the home.
2. Replacing windows and lighting with more energy-efficient options can significantly reduce energy bills and emissions. Swapping incandescent bulbs with high-efficacy fluorescent bulbs can substantially reduce annual carbon dioxide emissions, and the switch could pay for itself in less than a year.
3. Space heating and cooling accounts for the greatest energy use in the house. In many parts of the country, replacing a furnace or boiler with a high-efficiency model can pay for itself within the first year. Additionally, a dual-fuel system, like using a high-efficiency air-source heat pump in tandem with a high-efficiency propane furnace, offers big energy and emissions savings -- up to as much as three metric tons each year.
4. Water heating is typically the second largest energy consumer in the house. Upgrading a system, especially switching from an electric model to a propane-fueled, condensing tank-less system, can save up to 50 percent and significantly reduce carbon dioxide emissions. In addition, new U.S. Department of Energy regulations now in effect mean that older water heaters between eight and 12 years of age need to be updated to meet new efficiency standards.
Published with permission from RISMedia.