For solar-powered homes, saving energy equates to saving money. Maximizing your household efficiency provides a boost to electricity cost savings and shortens the time it takes to reach the point when your photovoltaic system has paid for itself.
This spring, start thinking about ways to keep your solar home cool during the summer months, without sacrificing energy efficiency.
2016 was the hottest year on record, which means you will probably use your air conditioner during the warmer months this year. By following some basic energy-saving tips, you can help your cooling system run efficiently and increase the substantial savings your solar-powered home already provides.
In many Intermountain West homes, the windows are one of the biggest sources of energy loss. To combat that waste and decrease cooling costs, consider adding energy-efficient window coverings to your solar-powered home.
Apply reflective window film directly to the glass, blocking the sun and reducing heat gain. Insulated window panels offer the same benefit, but they fit in the interior of the frame. Mesh window screens, installed over the frame’s exterior, can also reflect heat during the warmer months. In addition, shades, blinds and curtains can reduce energy loss.
Using natural ventilation from your windows can also help keep your home cooler. At night when the temperatures drop, turn off your air conditioner and open the windows. In the morning, shut the windows and cover them to keep the cool air inside.
When the temperature soars, it can be tempting to crank up the air conditioner. Resist that urge, and set your thermostat as high as you comfortably can. When you minimize the difference between the indoor and outdoor temperatures, you reduce energy use and cost.
Consider getting a programmable thermostat this year, as it will allow you to pre-set temperature changes based on the time of day. You can program the system to function only when people are home and the house needs cooling.
Or upgrade to a smart thermostat, which will track your energy use and reduce solar energy waste. Most allow you to adjust the settings from anywhere, using your smartphone or tablet. This will help ensure that your solar home is as comfortable as it is energy-efficient.
Circulating the air in your home can create a wind chill effect, making it feel more comfortable.
Ceiling fans provide the most effective and consistent cooling. Adding fans will let you raise the thermostat by 4 degrees without affecting comfort. However, ceiling fans are only appropriate for rooms with ceilings at least 8 feet high.
Many solar homes rely on window fans to circulate air. Place your fans so they blow outward in windows facing away from the wind to exhaust the hot air most effectively. Closing the other windows nearby and opening the windows on the windward side of the home is an effective way to cool as much of the space as possible.
If you’re considering adding a photovoltaic solar energy system to your home, you can size your system to meet all of your home’s power needs, whether or not you employ energy-saving strategies.
Intermountain Wind & Solar, serving Utah, Wyoming, Idaho, Colorado and Nevada, is the locally owned and operated renewable energy expert. Contact us today to schedule a complimentary consultation to learn how much money a solar-powered home can save you this summer.
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