By Sarah Lozanova
When fall sets in, our heating systems kick into high gear to keep our houses warm. As it gets colder, you want to heat your home in the most efficient way possible, but it can be tough to know the best strategy to use when facts and myths all blend together. Here, we uncover some truths and bust falsehoods about energy saving so that you can stay warm and cozy the efficient way.
Myth: Installing new energy-efficient windows saves 30 to 40 percent on heating and cooling bills.
Although this can be true in some extreme circumstances in which super-leaky single-pane windows are replaced, most homeowners save a mere 10 to 20 percent at best. If you’re concerned about the performance of your windows, there are other steps you can take.
Fact: There are lots of easy ways to prevent heat loss through windows and warm your home with the sun. Curtains can reduce heat loss in a room by 10 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. To save energy, close all your curtains at night. During the day, close curtains in rooms that don’t receive direct sunlight, especially if the daylight isn’t needed. In the summer months, it’s a good idea to close the curtains in rooms receiving direct sunlight to keep your home from warming up.
By Sarah Lozanova
Last week, Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla Motors spoke before a crowd at the set of the TV show Desperate Housewives. “The interesting thing is that the houses you see around you are all solar houses,” said Musk. “Did you notice?” This news shocked the audience, as there wasn’t a solar panel in sight. Instead, the surrounding solar cells were camouflaged in glass roof tiles with styles like Tuscan and slate.
This is part of Musk’s vision to revolutionize clean energy generation. He unveiled plans by Tesla to produce solar roof tiles in a variety of colors and textures. His goal is to make solar roofs that look better than the typical roof, have an installed cost that is lower than a new roof plus the cost of electricity, last longer, and provide better insulation.
If he can pull this off, rooftops as we know them will not be the same. Could this be the leap necessary to make solar more appealing and widespread?
Freelance clean energy writer