Let's take a moment to review why you should care about your home’s energy efficiency and weatherization health. The benefits of an efficient home are big – which ones appeal to you?
Reduced heating and cooling costs
Improved air quality
Improved life span of heating and cooling systems
Increased home resale value
More comfortable place to live
Reduced dependence on fossil fuels
Our Top Tips
Do you want to take some steps to create a more efficient, cost-saving home but find your head spinning every time you start to get into all the research out there? Here’s a list to help get you started.
ONE: Install a programmable thermostat to reduce the heating and cooling levels when you are away – this can save you up to 10 percent on heating and cooling costs and has no effect on your comfort.
TWO: Lower your heater while sleeping, opting for a few more blankets instead.
THREE: Have a room or two you don’t use very often? Close off the air vents and shut the doors to focus your heating and cooling efforts into the parts of the home you do use.
FOUR: Clean or change air filters regularly. A dirty filter prevents airflow, making the system waste energy by working harder than it needs to.
FIVE: Save up to 75 percent of lighting energy by replacing incandescent bulbs with light emitting diodes (LEDs). LEDs use 20-30% of the energy and last 8 to 25 times longer than incandescents.
SIX: Save on heating water costs, which can account for 14 to 25 percent of the energy consumed in your home, by turning down the temperature of your water heater to the warm setting (120°F).
SEVEN: Check your home for air leaks by feeling for air currents around windows, doors and outlets. Seal leaks with caulk or weatherization strips to save energy and increase the comfort of your home.
EIGHT: Install low-flow faucets and shower heads to reduce your water consumption and lower your water bills.
NINE: Turn off your electronics when not in use. Did you know that leaving just one computer on all day costs $75 per year? Cut that down by shutting down and unplugging electronics and appliances.
TEN: A home, on average, loses 20 percent of its heated and cooled air through its outside duct connection. Nip this one in the bud by hiring a professional to check that your duct system is sealed properly.
Done with our top tips and want to learn more about making your home more efficient and weatherproof? We recommend you head over to the US Department of Energy’s Energy Saver site, which is brimming with good information. In particular, take a look at the Energy Saver Guide for tips on saving money at home and on the road.
Another great resource is Energystar.gov, where you can use the interactive Home Advisor tool to customize recommendations for your home or learn the basics of home sealing and insulating.
There are many programs in the Chicago area that can assist residents with the efficiency of their home. Here are some options:
Elevate Energy: Elevate Energy has long been a leader in helping residents reduce electricity use. Use its Bill Savings Program resource page to determine what services may be available for your home.
ComEd: ComEd customers have opportunities to reduce energy usage with a free energy assessment that includes free and discounted products for your home.
Retrofit Chicago: This City of Chicago program offers free energy assessments, expert recommendations and affordable installations for energy savings products.
CEDA: The Community and Economic Development Association of Cook County offers a year-round, no-cost weatherization program to qualifying residents in the county.
Chicago Bungalow Association: The Chicago Bungalow Association provides eligible homeowners in Chicago with free home energy upgrades. Homes must be single-family units that are 50 years or older and receive services from ComEd.
The Illinois Home Weatherization Assistance Program: Administered by the Illinois Department of Commerce, this program helps low-income residents and households conserve fuel and reduce energy costs by making their homes and apartments more energy efficient.
The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program: Also administered by the Illinois Department of Commerce, the program helps eligible low-income households pay for home energy services (primarily heating during winter months).