There are numerous ways to become more energy efficient. Even small changes in our day to day lives can make a huge impact, both environmentally and economically. According to the EPA, energy efficiency can lower greenhouse gas emissions and other pollutants, as well as decrease water use. It can also lower utility bills, create jobs, and help stabilize electricity prices.
If you are interested in how to become more energy efficient in your home or office, keep reading to hear what local experts suggest!
Energy Efficiency: It’s in the Name
The attic may not be the first area of the home you think of when it comes to being more energy efficient, but it plays an important role. We spoke to Rex Schroder, owner of Attic Energy Efficiency, to learn more about what homeowners can do with their attic to become more energy efficient.
“The attic is the most wasteful part of a home when trying to be energy efficient,” explained Rex. “The biggest problems in an attic are conditioned air leaking into it, not enough insulation, and poor ventilation. All three of these issues can lead to mold problems, high utility bills, and an uncomfortable home.”
After taking advantage of Attic Energy Efficiency’s services, his clients save up to 65% on their utility bills. Rex has over 10 years of experience in the industry and knows his way around making sure every one of your needs, and your attics needs, are met.
“Homeowners in Nebraska and western Iowa have chosen Attic Energy Efficiency over 500 times this year already to increase the efficiency of their homes. The biggest energy loss in a home is the attic,” shared Rex. “Our attention to detail sets us apart from and above the rest of the industry. No other insulation company incorporates attic ventilation into their total package. Attic Energy Efficiency is leaps and bounds above the competition. Our prices are very competitive in the market as we offer more and better services to homeowners. Knowledge of total attic efficiency sets us above the competition.”
Attic Energy Efficiency offers attic ventilation analysis and upgrades, as well as other energy efficient techniques to help transform uncomfortable, inefficient homes into comfortable and efficient ones. Rex adheres to a high standard of integrity and honesty and says he will never sell anything to a customer that he does not absolutely believe they need. Attic Energy Efficiency is a small business contractor with big business results!
Don’t Compromise Comfort
Pat Killeen, owner of Engineered Controls believes both comfort and energy efficiency are achievable with the right tools.
“Today more than ever, building owners want their facilities to be environmentally responsible and healthy places to live and work,” emphasized Pat. “They also want to optimize the energy usage without compromising comfort. Together a tall order to accomplish, but at Engineered Controls that technology is available today.”
Engineered Controls can play a very big part in assisting new and existing building owners with controlling their buildings’ energy costs. Considering the fact that a building’s lighting and HVAC loads account for nearly 80% of a building’s energy usage, there are plenty of energy strategies that a Building Automation System can provide, maximizing the energy strategy options available to building owners. Essentially, Engineered Controls can assist in total building control and help provide a healthier and more energy-efficient environment for occupants.
“To help our customers in identifying efficiency areas in their buildings, Engineered Controls has developed Energy Optimization programs,” Pat explained. “They are designed to leverage a broad portfolio of energy efficiency products and solutions, as well as offer a high level of energy expertise to commercial buildings in the hands of our skilled and knowledgeable professionals. Our team can help building owners and managers obtain real-world data to help them make fact-based decisions about how to optimize their buildings for occupants’ comfort while saving energy at the same time.”
Engineered Controls’ mission is to provide their customers with high quality products and services that create efficient, safe, and comfortable building environments. Their team of qualified and experienced employees must strive to be the most cost-effective producers in the marketplace by consistently focusing on improving processes, innovation, and teamwork. When you work with them, you know you are getting the best possible results and helping save energy at the same time.
Do Your Part
Upgrading to energy-efficient appliances and equipment in our homes can go a long way to helping lower total energy use. John Henry’s Plumbing, Heating, and Air Conditioning sells, installs, and services high-efficient residential and commercial heating and air equipment for folks in the region. Lincoln homeowners are increasingly installing furnaces that are run 90% or more on gas and are taking full advantage of local utility-company rebates, which make higher-efficient outdoor units more affordable.
“The bulk of our customers when given higher efficient options tend to choose those systems,” said John Henry’s Comfort Consultant Jon Becker. “People can really see the value of saving on their utilities and have a much quieter and comfortable home.”
One of the biggest culprits of energy loss in homes and commercial buildings is equipment that isn’t well maintained. It is important to clean the outdoor condenser annually and change the filter frequently in order to avoid degrading the efficiency and life expectancy of the unit.
“We all have a responsibility to do our best to leave this great state and country in better shape than what we found it. It’s important to explore all of these high efficient options when you’re replacing your HVAC equipment,” explained Jon. “Many times there are larger rebates and incentives from energy companies, manufacturers, and federal tax credits for these high efficient systems.”
While many people have never thought to get their home in a more energy efficient state, it is important to just take a leap and get started. Oftentimes just having the routine maintenance done can get you ahead of costly repairs or unexpected replacements.
Incentives You Can’t Refuse
If you’re on the fence about upgrading your home to be more energy efficient, Lincoln Electric System (LES) has an incentive you may not be able to pass up. LES’s Sustainable Energy Program, or SEP would actually pay YOU to make the upgrade.
“For residential customers, these incentives apply on qualified high-efficiency air conditioners, high-efficiency heat pumps, heat pump water heaters, and insulation upgrades for qualifying homes,” explained LES Energy Services Specialist Jay Stoa. “Commercial customers may qualify on similar installations, plus indoor lighting upgrades, variable frequency drives, compressed air systems upgrade, energy management systems installation, optimization or upgrade, and refrigeration systems.”
To find out if your project qualifies, visit LES.com/SEP and review the qualifications or review our list of participating contractors.
One of the biggest opportunities to improve energy-efficiency is through heating and cooling of a home. First, conduct a review of the structure to identify any air leaks or areas of low insulation levels. Next, take a look at your furnace and A/C units. You want to have these systems inspected annually to ensure they are safe and running efficient. During the inspection, they’ll likely review the age of the equipment, check for any plugged coils, and more. Then, on a monthly basis, you should check your air filters by shining a flashlight on them. Clean or replace them to ensure your unit continues to operate at peak levels.
“Another opportunity for energy savings comes from water heating. Consider installing low-flow devices and if you have an electric water heater, when it’s time to replace it consider installing a heat pump water heater” said Jay. “Buying a more energy efficient system can have a quicker payback especially when the equipment qualifies for LES incentives and Federal Tax Credits.”
The process of upgrading your home may seem like a lot to take on if you’ve never done any updates. Jay has the experience and knowledge to know that slow and steady wins the race, and researching every option can help you make the best decision possible.
“Before deciding on a particular appliance or energy-efficiency upgrade, look for available incentives and federal tax credits that could bring down the cost of a more energy-efficient model,” Jay advised. “Not only will this save you money on the up-front cost of the unit, but will continue to save energy use, which may lower your energy bills into the future.”
No matter where you decide to start, know that your actions are contributing to a bigger picture. When you make energy-efficient upgrades, you can save money, help reduce the need for energy during expensive peak periods and help delay the necessity to build additional high-cost power plants to serve our community.. LES has a goal to eliminate their carbon dioxide production from their generation portfolio by 2040. They have increased renewable energy production from the equivalent of 9% of retail sales in 2010 to 43% in 2021, simultaneously reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 41% over the same period. Learn more at LES.com.
Keep Up With Maintenance
Custom Cooling & Heating, Inc. recommends that consumers maintain their existing equipment with regular maintenance by an HVAC technician. Dirty filters, clogged evaporator and condenser coils, and improperly charged systems are all culprits in driving up utility bills. Residential heating and cooling systems use approximately two thirds of the total energy consumption of the home. Custom Cooling encourages their customers to evaluate their current energy usage versus potential savings of all new systems available. Currently, inverter driven compressor systems are leading the industry in performance and efficiency. Ductless mini-split units also offer superior efficiency for problem temperature areas of the home, such as sunrooms, master bedrooms, basements, and additions. Custom Cooling is here to help by recommending insulation, windows, or other solutions to assist their customers’ energy and efficiency issues before installing a new HVAC system.
Seal in the Savings!
The Streamline Energy Solutions team of energy-efficiency specialists operates with the goal of saving energy—and saving you money. Streamline’s energy auditing services coupled with a variety of weatherization upgrades maximize your savings while minimizing your home’s energy usage. Whether it be new construction or retrofitting existing structures, contractors, builders, and homeowners can rely on the team to go above and beyond.
Established by cofounders Nathan Capps and Jen Keller, they provide a holistic approach to energy efficiency to keep money in your wallet and take it easy on the environment. Streamline prides themselves on being a one-stop-shop for all of your home energy-efficiency needs, providing various insulation and weatherization services, coupled with a crucial blower door test, to create immediate improvements in how your home uses energy.
“One of the biggest upgrades we recommend to create the maximum impact when someone wants to insulate their home is air sealing,” said Jen. “We’ll locate all the accessible crevices in your attic, including around your fixtures and top plates and seal them to prevent conditioned air from leaking into the attic space. That preps the attic for us to insulate with blown-in fiberglass. We prefer this product over cellulose because it doesn’t settle over time, does not absorb moisture, and is a lot cleaner product. Of course, the baffles we install in an attic are a crucial step in the process, too, because they keep the insulation from blocking air flow through your soffit vents and provide necessary ventilation. Proper attic ventilation reduces the risk of ice dams in the winter and the build up of condensation in the attic space, which could lead to mildew or mold.”
Streamline uses CertainTeed Insulsafe SP blown-in insulation not only because it doesn’t settle but also because it provides better coverage, excellent sound control, lasts for the life of your home to reduce long term energy demand and costs; is environmentally sustainable and formaldehyde-free; and comes with a limited lifetime warranty. This isn’t your typical itchy fiberglass. It is actually soft to the touch! Another fabulous offering from Streamline Energy Solutions that is not universal to all insulation companies is a blower door test because not everyone is BPI (Building Performance Institute)-certified to administer them. As a BPI-certified auditor, Jen starts by connecting the blower door device to one of the exterior doors of your home to audit energy loss.
Jen also owns Halo Custom Lighting. This sister business has become tremendously popular with versatile and fully customizable lighting options for your home.
Halo Custom Lighting is a permanent lighting solution for all your holiday needs. The team at Halo will help install your lights, and then they’re built to last around 20 years. The lights have so many different options to cater to any holiday or special day, and are conveniently controlled by an app where you can create your own colors and patterns. These lights can be used for more than just the holidays with a full spectrum of LED colors that can highlight your home during any time of the year.
Attaining responsible energy efficiency in our homes and buildings is something to which each of us can contribute. Fortunately, Lincoln has professionals who can help you do your part, attaining a balance between sustainability and your personal health and comfort.