Energy Savers: Tips On Saving Energy And Money At Home - Michael C. Burgess

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Tips on SavingEnergy & Moneyat Home

“Technological advances and the developmentof energy-efficient products can help Americanfamilies save a lot of money. Today, Americanfamilies can choose refrigerators that use the sameamount of power as a 75-watt light bulb, highefficiency light bulbs that last longer and requireless electricity than traditional ones, and energyefficient windows that can keep hot and cold air inand prevent hard-earned dollars from flowing out.Thanks to the development of innovative technologies,American families can make better energy choices.”– President George W. Bush“High energy costs can really pinch Americanfamilies. While the Department of Energy isworking hard to develop new technologies toimprove the efficiency of American homes andbuildings over the long term, today, there aresimple, inexpensive steps families can take to reduce their heating and cooling costs. I hope youwill find this booklet helpful in making energychoices that are right for you and your family.As this booklet shows, when it comes to energysavings, a little effort can go a long way.”– Secretary of Energy Samuel W. BodmanContents1 Save Energy and Money Today2 Your Home’s Energy Use4 Insulation and Sealing Air Leaks10 Heating and Cooling16 Water Heating18 Windows20 Lighting22 Appliances29 Home Office and Home Electronics31 Driving and Car Maintenance32 Renewable Energy33 ReferencesTo learn more about DOE programs in energy efficiency and renewable energy, visit theOffice of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s web site at www.eere.energy.gov

Save Energy and Money TodayThe key to achieving these savings inyour home is a whole-house energyefficiency plan. To take a whole-houseapproach, view your home as an energysystem with interdependent parts. Forexample, your heating system is not justa furnace—it’s a heat-delivery systemthat starts at the furnace and deliversheat throughout your home using anetwork of ducts. Even a top-of-the-line,energy-efficient furnace will burn a lotof fuel if the ducts, walls, attic, windows,and doors are not insulated and leak.Taking a whole-house approach tosaving energy ensures that dollars youinvest to save energy are spent wisely.Energy-efficient improvements not onlymake your home more comfortable, theycan yield long-term financial rewards.Reduced utility bills more than make upfor the higher price of energy-efficientappliances and improvements over theirlifetimes. In addition, your home couldbring in a higher price when you sell.This booklet shows you how easy itis to reduce your energy use at homeand on the road. The easy, practicalsolutions for saving energy includetips you can use today, throughoutyour home—from the roof, walls,and insulation that enclose it to theappliances and lights inside. Please,take a few moments to read thevaluable tips in this booklet to startsaving energy and money today.Tips to Save Energy Today Set your thermostat comfortably lowin the winter and comfortably high inthe summer. Install a programmablethermostat that is compatible withyour heating system. Use compact fluorescent light bulbs. Air dry dishes instead of using yourdishwasher’s drying cycle. Turn off your computer and monitorwhen not in use. Plug home electronics, such as TVs andDVD players, into power strips; turn thepower strips off when the equipmentis not in use (TVs and DVDs in standbymode still use several watts of power). Lower the thermostat on your hot waterheater to 120 F. Take short showers instead of baths. Wash only full loads of dishes andclothes. Drive sensibly. Aggressive driving(speeding, rapid acceleration andbraking) wastes gasoline. Look for the ENERGY STAR labelon home appliances and products.ENERGY STAR products meet strictefficiency guidelines set by the U.S.Environmental Protection Agency andthe U.S. Department of Energy.1Save Energy and Money TodayDid you know that the typical U.S.family spends close to 1,500 a yearon home utility bills? Unfortunately,a large portion of that energy is wasted.And electricity generated by fossil fuelsfor a single home puts more carbondioxide into the air than two averagecars. And as for the road, transportationaccounts for 66% of all U.S. oilconsumption. The good news is, thereis a lot you can do to save energy andmoney at home and in your car. Bymaking a few small changes, you canreduce your energy costs by 10% to50%, and, at the same time, help reduceair pollution and dependence on foreignfuel imports.

Your Home’s Energy UseThe first step to taking a wholehouse energy efficiency approachis to find out which parts of yourhouse use the most energy. A homeenergy audit will pinpoint thoseareas and suggest the most effectivemeasures for cutting your energycosts. You can conduct a simplehome energy audit yourself, youcan contact your local utility, oryou can call an independent energyauditor for a more comprehensiveexamination. For more informationabout home energy audits,including free tools and calculators,visit www.energysavers.gov .switches, and electrical outlets that canleak air into or out of your home. Check for open fireplace dampers. Make sure your appliances and heatingand cooling systems are properlymaintained. Check your owner’smanuals for the recommendedmaintenance. Study your family’s lighting needsand use patterns, paying specialattention to high-use areas such asthe living room, kitchen, and outsidelighting. Look for ways to use lightingcontrols—like occupancy sensors,dimmers, or timers—to reduce lightingenergy use, and replace standard (alsocalled incandescent) light bulbs andfixtures with compact or standardfluorescent lamps.Formulating Your PlanAfter you have identified where yourhome is losing energy, assign prioritiesby asking yourself a few importantquestions: How much money do you spend onenergy? Where are your greatest energy losses?How We Use Energy in Our HomesYour Home’s Energy UseHeating accounts for the biggest chunk ofa typical utility bill.2Energy Auditing Tips Check the insulation levels in yourattic, exterior and basement walls,ceilings, floors, and crawl spaces.Visit www.energysavers.gov forinstructions on checking yourinsulation levels. Check for holes or cracks aroundyour walls, ceilings, windows,doors, light and plumbing fixtures, How long will it take for aninvestment in energy efficiency to payfor itself in energy cost savings? Do the energy saving measuresprovide additional benefits thatare important to you (for example,increased comfort from installingdouble-paned, efficient windows)? How long do you plan to own yourcurrent home? Can you do the job yourself orwill you need to hire a contractor? What is your budget and howmuch time do you have to spend onmaintenance and repair?

Ask neighbors and friends forrecommendations Look in the Yellow Pages Focus on local companies Look for licensed, insured contractors Get three bids with details in writing Ask about previous experience Check references Check with the Better BusinessBureaueffective energy improvementsand enhanced comfort and safety.A good contractor will also calculatethe return on your investment in highefficiency equipment compared withstandard equipment.Thermogram/photograph copyright 1997, Infraspection Institute, Inc., Shelburne, VTAnother option is to get the advice ofa professional. Many utilities conductenergy audits for free or for a smallcharge. For a fee, a professionalcontractor will analyze how wellyour home’s energy systems worktogether and compare the analysis toyour utility bills. He or she will use avariety of equipment such as blowerdoors, infrared cameras, and surfacethermometers to find leaks and drafts.After gathering information about yourhome, the contractor or auditor will giveyou a list of recommendations for cost-Tips for Finding a ContractorCoolHotHeat Loss from a HouseA picture is worth.in this case, lost heating dollars. This thermal photograph shows heat leaking froma house during those expensive winter heating months. The white, yellow, and red colors show heatescaping. The red represents the area of the greatest heat loss.3Your Home’s Energy UseOnce you assign priorities to your energyneeds, you can form a whole houseefficiency plan. Your plan will provideyou with a strategy for making smartpurchases and home improvements thatmaximize energy efficiency and save themost money.

Insulation and Sealing Air LeaksChecking your home’s insulation isone of the fastest and most costefficient ways to use a wholehouse approach to reduce energywaste and make the most of yourenergy dollars. A good insulatingsystem includes a combination ofproducts and construction techniquesthat protect a home from outsidetemperatures—hot and cold, protectit against air leaks, and controlmoisture. You can increase thecomfort of your home while reducingyour heating and cooling needs byup to 30% by investing just a fewhundred dollars in proper insulationand sealing air leaks.InsulationFirst, check the insulation in your attic,ceilings, exterior and basement walls,floors, and crawl spaces to see if it meetsthe levels recommended for your area.Insulation is measured in R-values—thehigher the R-value, the better yourwalls and roof will resist the transferof heat. DOE recommends ranges ofR-values based on local heating andcooling costs and climate conditions indifferent areas of the nation. The mapand chart on pages 6 and 7 show theDOE recommendations for your area.State and local codes in some parts ofthe country may require lower R-valuesthan the DOE recommendations,AtticInsulation and Sealing Air LeaksWallsFloorsCrawl spaceBasementWhere to InsulateAdding insulation in the areas shown above may be the best way to improve your home’s energy efficiency.402477406m

Although insulation can be made froma variety of materials, it usually comesin four types; each type has differentcharacteristics.Rolls and batts—or blankets—areflexible products made from mineralfibers, such as fiberglass and rock wool.They are available in widths suited tostandard spacings of wall studs and atticor floor joists: 2x4 walls can hold R-13or R-15 batts; 2x6 walls can have R-19or R-21 products.Loose-fill insulation—usually made offiberglass, rock wool, or cellulose—comes in shreds, granules, or nodules.These small particles should be blowninto spaces using special pneumaticequipment. The blown-in materialconforms readily to building cavities andattics. Therefore, loose-fill insulation iswell suited for places where it is difficultto install other types of insulation.Rigid foam insulation—foam insulationtypically is more expensive than fiberinsulation. But it’s very effective inbuildings with space limitations andwhere higher R-values are needed. Foaminsulation R-values range from R-4 toR-6.5 per inch of thickness (2.54 cm),which is up to 2 times greater than mostother insulating materials of the samethickness.Foam-in-place insulation—can be blowninto walls and reduces air leakage.Should I Insulate My Home?The answer is probably “yes” if you: Have an older home and haven’tadded insulation. Only 20% ofhomes built before 1980 are wellinsulated. Are uncomfortably cold in thewinter or hot in the summer—adding insulation creates a moreuniform temperature and increasescomfort. Build a new home, addition, orinstall new siding or roofing. Pay high energy bills. Are bothered by noise fromoutside—insulation muffles sound.Insulation Tips Consider factors such as yourclimate, building design, and budgetwhen selecting insulation R-valuesfor your home. Use higher density insulation, suchas rigid foam boards, in cathedralceilings and on exterior walls. Ventilation plays a large role inproviding moisture control andreducing summer cooling bills.Attic vents can be installed alongthe entire ceiling cavity to helpensure proper airflow from the soffitto the attic to make a home morecomfortable and energy efficient.Check with a qualified contractor. Recessed light fixtures can be amajor source of heat loss, but youneed to be careful how close youplace insulation next to a fixtureunless it is marked IC—designedfor direct insulation contact. Checkyour local building codes forrecommendations. See Lightingfor more about recessed cans.5Insulation and Sealing Air Leakswhich are based on cost effectiveness.For more customized insulationrecommendations, visitwww.energysavers.gov and check outthe Zip Code Insulation Calculator,which lists the most economic insulationlevels for your new or existing homebased on your zip code and other basicinformation about your home.

As specified on the productpackaging, follow the productinstructions on installation and wearthe proper protective gear wheninstalling insulation. When shopping for insulation, lookfor the ENERGY STAR.(7 inches of fiber glass or rock woolor 6 inches of cellulose), you couldprobably benefit by adding more. MostU.S. homes should have between R-22and R-49 insulation in the attic.If your attic has enough insulation andyour home still feels drafty and cold inthe winter or too warm in the summer,chances are you need to add insulation tothe exterior walls as well. This is a moreexpensive measure that usually requiresa contractor, but it may be worth the costif you live in a very hot or cold climate. Long-Term Savings Tip One of the most cost-effectiveways to make your home morecomfortable year-round is to addinsulation to your attic.Adding insulation to the attic isrelatively easy and very cost effective.To find out if you have enough atticinsulation, measure the thickness ofthe insulation. If it is less than R-22You may also need to add insulationto your crawl space. Either the walls orthe floor above the crawl space shouldbe insulated.U.S. Department of Energy Recommended* Total R-Valuesfor New Houses in Six Climate Zones23112215536Insulation and Sealing Air Leaks24344How Much InsulationDoes My Home Need?2646For insulation recommendationstailored to your home, visit the DOEZip Code Insulation Calculator atwww.ornl.gov/ roofs/zip/ziphome.html.* These recommendations are cost-effective levels of insulation based on the best available information02477401mon local fuel and materials costs and weather conditions. Consequently, the levels may differfromcurrent local building codes. In addition, the apparent fragmentation of the recommendations is anartifact of these data and should not be considered absolute minimum requirements.

New ConstructionToday, new products are on themarket that provide both insulationand structural support and should beconsidered for new home constructionor additions. Structural insulatedpanels, known as SIPS, and masonryproducts like insulating concrete formsare among these. Some homebuildersare even using an old techniqueborrowed from the pioneers, buildingwalls using straw bales. Check onlineat www.energysavers.gov for moreinformation on structural insulation.For new construction or homeadditions, R-11 to R-28 insulationis recommended for exterior wallsdepending on location (see map). Tomeet this recommendation, most homesand additions constructed with 2 in.x 4 in. walls require a combination ofwall cavity insulation, such as battsand insulating sheathing or rigid foamboards. If you live in an area with aninsulation recommendation that isgreater than R-20, you may want toconsider building with 2 in. x 6 in.framing instead of 2 in. x 4 in. framingto allow room for thicker wall cavityinsulation—R-19 to R-21.Radiant barriers (in hot climates),reflective insulation, and foundationinsulation should all be considered fornew home construction. Check withyour contractor for more informationabout these options. 7Insulation and Sealing Air Leaks

Souces of Air Leaks in Your HomeInsulation and Sealing Air LeaksAreas that leak air into and out of your home cost you lots of money. Check the areas listed below.1234Dropped ceilingRecessed lightAttic entranceSill plates5678Water and furnace fluesAll ductsDoor framesChimney flashingSealing Air LeaksWarm air leaking into your homeduring the summer and out of yourhome during the winter can waste alot of your energy dollars. One of thequickest dollar-saving tasks you cando is caulk, seal, and weatherstrip allseams, cracks, and openings to theoutside. You can save 10% or more onyour energy bill by reducing the airleaks in your home.89 Window frames10 Electrical outlets and switches11 Plumbing and utility accessTips for Sealing Air Leaks First, test your home for air tightness.On a windy day, hold a lit incense sticknext to your windows, doors, electricalboxes, plumbing fixtures, electricaloutlets, ceiling fixtures, attic hatches,and other locations where there is apossible air path to the outside. If thesmoke stream travels horizontally, youhave located an air leak that may needcaulking, sealing, or weatherstripping.

Plumbing Windowspenetrations 10%13%Doors11%DuctsFans and vents15%4%FireplaceElectric14%outlets2% Floors, walls,and ceiling31%How Does the Air Escape?02477404mAir infiltrates into and out of your home throughevery hole, nook, and cranny. About one-thirdof this air infiltrates through openings in yourceilings, walls, and floors.9Insulation and Sealing Air Leaks Caulk and weatherstrip doors andwindows that leak air. Caulk and seal air leaks whereplumbing, ducting, or electricalwiring penetrates through exteriorwalls, floors, ceilings, and soffits overcabinets. Install rubber gaskets behind outlet andswitch plates on exterior walls. Look for dirty spots in your insulation,which often indicate holes where airleaks into and out of your house. Youcan seal the holes by stapling sheets ofplastic over the holes and caulking theedges of the plastic. Install storm windows over single-panewindows or replace them with doublepane windows. See Windows on page18 for more information. When the fireplace is not in use, keepthe flue damper tightly closed. Achimney is designed specifically forsmoke to escape, so until you close it,warm air escapes—24 hours a day! For new construction, reduce exteriorwall leaks by either installing housewrap, taping the joints of exteriorsheathing, or comprehensivelycaulking and sealing the exterior walls.

Heating and CoolingHeating and cooling your homeuses more energy and drainsmore energy dollars than anyother system in your home. Typically,56% of your utility bill goes forheating and cooling. What’s more,heating and cooling systems in theUnited States together emit over a halfbillion tons of carbon dioxide into theatmosphere each year, adding to globalwarming. They also generate about24% of the nation’s sulfur dioxide and12% of the nitrogen oxides, the chiefingredients in acid rain.Heating and CoolingNo matter what kind of heating,ventilation, and air-conditioningsystem you have in your house, youcan save money and increase yourcomfort by properly maintainingand upgrading your equipment. Butremember, an energy-efficient furnacealone will not have as great an impacton your energy bills as using thewhole-house approach. By combiningproper equipment maintenance andupgrades with appropriate insulation,air sealing, and thermostat settings,you can cut your energy bills andyour pollution output in half.Heating and Cooling Tips Set your thermostat as low as iscomfortable in the winter andas high as is comfortable in thesummer. Clean or replace filters on furnacesonce a month or as needed. Clean warm-air registers, baseboardheaters, and radiators as needed;make sure they’re not blocked byfurniture, carpeting, or drapes. Bleed trapped air from hot-waterradiators once or twice a season; ifin doubt about how to perform thistask, call a professional.10 Place heat-resistant radiatorreflectors between exterior walls andthe radiators. Turn off kitchen, bath, and otherexhaust fans within 20 minutes afteryou are done cooking or bathing;when replacing exhaust fans,consider installing high-efficiency,low-noise models. During the heating season, keep thedraperies and shades on your southfacing windows open during the dayto allow the sunlight to enter yourhome and closed at night to reducethe chill you may feel from coldwindows. During the cooling season, keep thewindow coverings closed during theday to prevent solar gain. Long-Term Savings Tips Select energy-efficient productswhen you buy new heating andcooling equipment. Your contractorshould be able to give you energyfact sheets for different types,models, and designs to help youHousehold Heating SystemsAlthough several different types of fuels are availableto heat our homes, more than half of us use naturalgas.

DuctsOne of the most important systems inyour home, though it’s hidden beneathyour feet and over your head, may bewasting a lot of your energy dollars.Your home’s duct system, a branchingnetwork of tubes in the walls, floors, andceilings, carries the air from your home’sfurnace and central air conditioner toeach room. Ducts are made of sheetmetal, fiber glass, or other materials.Unfortunately, many duct systemsare poorly insulated or not insulatedproperly. Ducts that leak heated airinto unheated spaces can add hundredsof dollars a year to your heating andcooling bills. Insulating ducts that arein unconditioned spaces is usually verycost effective. If you are buying a newduct system, consider one that comeswith insulation already installed.Sealing your ducts to prevent leaksis even more important if the ductsare located in an unconditionedarea such as an attic or vented crawlspace. If the supply ducts are leaking,heated or cooled air can be forced outunsealed joints and lost. In addition,unconditioned air can be drawn intoreturn ducts through unsealed joints.In the summer, hot attic air can bedrawn in, increasing the load on theair conditioner. In the winter, yourfurnace will have to work longer tokeep your house comfortable. Eitherway, your energy losses cost youmoney.Although minor duct repairs are easyto do, ducts in unconditioned spacesshould be sealed and insulated byqualified professionals using theappropriate sealing materials. Here area few simple tips to help with minorduct repairs.Duct Tips Check your ducts for air leaks.First, look for sections that shouldbe joined but have separated andthen look for obvious holes. If you use tape to seal your ducts,avoid cloth-backed, rubber adhesiveduct tape, which tends to failquickly. Researchers recommendother products to seal ducts: mastic,butyl tape, foil tape, or other heatapproved tapes. Look for tape withthe Underwriters Laboratories logo. Remember that insulating ductsin the basement will make thebasement colder. If both theducts and the basement walls areuninsulated, consider insulatingboth.** Note: Water pipes and drains in unconditionedspaces could freeze and burst in the space ifthe heat ducts are fully insulated, because therewould be no heat source to prevent the spacefrom freezing in cold weather. However, usingan electric heating tape wrap on the pipes canprevent this.11Heating and Coolingcompare energy usage. For furnaces,look for high Annual Fuel UtilizationEfficiency (AFUE) ratings. Thenational minimum is 78% AFUE, butthere are ENERGY STAR models onthe market that exceed 90% AFUE. For air conditioners, look for a highSeasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio(SEER). The current minimum is10 SEER, increasing to 13 SEERin January 2006 for central airconditioners. ENERGY STAR modelsare 12 SEER or more. The AmericanCouncil for an Energy-EfficientEconomy lists the energy performanceof the most energy-efficient furnaces,boilers, AC units, and heat pumps onits web site: www.aceee.org.

If your basement has been convertedto a living area, hire a professionalto install both supply and returnregisters in the basement rooms. Be sure a well-sealed vaporbarrier exists on the outside ofthe insulation on cooling ducts toprevent moisture buildup. When doing ductwork, be sure toget professional help. Changes andrepairs to a duct system shouldalways be performed by a qualifiedprofessional. Ducts that don’t work properlycan create serious, life-threateningcarbon monoxide (CO) problems inthe home. Install a CO monitor toalert you to harmful CO levels if youhave a fuel-burning furnace, stoveor other appliance, or an attachedgarage. For new construction, considerplacing ducts in conditionedspace—space that is heated andcooled—instead of running ductsthrough unconditioned areas likethe crawlspace or attic, which is lessefficient.They collect heat from the air, water,or ground outside your home andconcentrate it for use inside. Heatpumps do double duty as a central airconditioner. They can also cool yourhome by collecting the heat insideyour house and effectively pumpingit outside. A heat pump can trim theamount of electricity you use forheating by as much as 30% to 40%. Long-Term Savings Tip You can lose up to 60% of yourheated air before it reaches theregister if your ducts aren’tinsulated and they travel throughunheated spaces such as the atticor crawlspace. Get a qualifiedprofessional to help you insulateand repair ducts.Using passive solar design techniquesto heat and cool your home can beboth environmentally friendly andcost effective. Passive solar heatingtechniques include placing larger,insulated windows on south-facingwalls and locating thermal mass,such as a concrete slab floor or aheat-absorbing wall, close to thewindows. In many cases, you can cutyour heating costs by more than 50%compared with the cost of heatingthe same house that does not includepassive solar design.Heating and CoolingHeat PumpsHeat pumps are the most efficientform of electric heating in moderateclimates, providing three times moreheating than the equivalent amountof energy they consume in electricity.There are three types of heat pumps:air-to-air, water source, and groundsource.12Heat Pump Tips Do not set back the heat pump’sthermostat manually if it causes theelectric resistance heating to comeon. This type of heating, which isoften used as a backup to the heatpump, is more expensive. Clean or change filters once a monthor as needed, and maintain thesystem according to manufacturer’sinstructions. Long-Term Savings Tip If you use electricity to heat yourhome and live in a moderate climate,consider installing an energyefficient heat pump system.Solar Heating and CoolingPassive solar design can also helpreduce your cooling costs. Passivesolar cooling techniques includecarefully designed overhangs,

windows with reflective coatings, andthe use of reflective coatings on exteriorwalls and the roof.Solar Tips Keep all south-facing glass clean. Make sure that objects do not blockthe sunlight shining on concrete slabfloors or heat-absorbing walls.FireplacesWhen you cozy up next to a cracklingfire on a cold winter day, you probablydon’t realize that your fireplace is oneof the most inefficient heat sources youcan possibly use. It literally sends yourenergy dollars right up the chimneyalong with volumes of warm air. Aroaring fire can exhaust as much as24,000 cubic feet of air per hour to theoutside, which must be replaced bycold air coming into the house from theoutside. Your heating system must warmup this air, which is then exhaustedthrough your chimney. If you use yourconventional fireplace while your centralheating system is on, these tips can helpreduce energy losses.Fireplace Tips If you never use your fireplace,plug and seal the chimney flue. Keep your fireplace damper closedunless a fire is going. Keeping thedamper open is like keeping a windowwide open during the winter; it allowswarm air to go right up the chimney. When you use the fireplace, reduceheat loss by opening dampers in thebottom of the firebox (if provided) or Natural Gas and Oil HeatingSystemsIf you plan to buy a new heatingsystem, ask your local utility or stateenergy office for information aboutthe latest technologies available toconsumers. They can advise you aboutmore efficient systems on the markettoday. For example, many newermodels incorporate designs for burnersand heat exchangers that result inhigher efficiencies during operation andreduce heat loss when the equipmentis off. Consider a sealed combustionfurnace; they are both safer and moreefficient. Check the shopping guide inthe back of this booklet for additionalinformation on how to understandheating system ratings. Long-Term Savings Tip Install a new energy-efficientfurnace to save money over the longterm. Look for the E

32 Renewable Energy 33 References To learn more about DOE programs in energy efficiency and renewable energy, visit the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy's web site at www.eere.energy.gov "High energy costs can really pinch American families. While the Department of Energy is working hard to develop new technologies to

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