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Building Long-term Energy Savings Into Your Home

While new homes are 100 percent more energy efficient today than those built three decades ago, most people are not familiar with how to actually design energy savings into the infrastructure of their home. Here are a few ways to save energy in your home: * Windows and doors: Today's architecture takes advantage of increased window space and elaborate entry systems. This style enhancement certainly adds to the appeal of a home, but it increases the importance of having energy-efficient windows and doors. On average, a household spends nearly 50 percent of its annual energy costs in heating and cooling. You can reduce this expense by up to 15 percent by using energy-efficient windows and doors, which help decrease the transfer of heat. Start by looking for products that have the Energy Star label.

This label identifies products that meet the strict energy-efficiency guidelines set by the U. Environmental Protection Agency and the U. Department of Energy.

* Construction materials: Wood or vinyl (for windows) and steel (for doors) offer high energy efficiency. For windows, dual-pane insulating glass units and low-emissivity glass also increase the products' energy efficiency. For steel doors, look for a polystyrene core, which helps the door retain its energy-saving properties longer than steel doors with a polyurethane core. Rest assured, however, that you will not have to forgo style and beauty when seeking energy efficiency. Many manufacturers, such as Jeld-Wen Windows and Doors, offer a variety of Energy Star-qualified products that are attractive, durable and provide superior performance. In fact, upgrading windows and doors is a great way to build energy savings into your current home. * Insulating your home: In addition to diminishing heat transfer through windows and doors, you can ensure even temperatures in the home by selecting proper insulation. Well-insulated homes can save up to 30 percent on heating and cooling costs. Pay attention to the R-values used to rate the energy efficiency of insulation - a higher R-value indicates a better ability to resist heat flow, meaning that it is more energy efficient. * Heating and cooling engines: Installing oversized heating or cooling equipment is a common practice to provide customers with immediate results.

However, oversized equipment is not necessary if your home is designed to conserve energy; it will only add to the growth of your energy bill. Visit a local home improvement center to learn more about heating and cooling options.


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