- Turn off devices when not in use – Probably the simplest but most effective technique for energy savings is to turn devices and lights off when they’re not being used. Get in the habit of shutting off lights, televisions, computers and other energy-using equipment when you leave the room.
- Opt for high-efficiency appliances and HVAC equipment – Many modern appliances and HVAC systems are designed to use less energy. Look for equipment with the Energy Star label. This indicates the item has been government tested and certified as high efficiency. Consider replacing existing appliances and HVAC systems with high-efficiency models. They can cut energy usage by half or more.
- Seal and insulate – Stop energy loss by sealing cracks and holes where conditioned air and energy can escape. Apply caulking around windows and doors and seal openings in the walls, frame and foundation. Add or increase the amount of insulation in walls, floors, the attic and basement to prevent heat gain in the summer or heat loss in the winter.
- Install solar panels – Solar energy is constantly renewable. Residential solar panels can generate significant amounts of electrical energy for home use, reducing your reliance on the local utility company.
The intent of having a zero energy home is to equalize energy consumption by producing as much energy as the home uses. It’s easier to achieve this goal if you adhere to energy efficient design principles that dramatically reduce the amount of energy required in the home. Here are some common but effective upgrades and changes that can slash the amount of energy you use: