A Road Map to Energy Efficiency

Tips and Tools to Save Energy in Your Home

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Dear Minnesota Power Customers, This booklet, A Road Map to Energy Efficiency, is a useful guide to help you achieve your energysaving goals. When making energy efficiency decisions, the hardest part can be figuring out where to begin. The Power of One ® , Minnesota Power’s conservation program, is here to help with information, tips and tools, incentives, and rebates—we’ll help you create your road map to energy efficiency. To learn more about energy efficiency and simple ways to save, please visit us at mnpower.com/ powerofone or call 1-800-228-4966. One change, one choice is all it takes. The Power of One ® … it begins with you. Sincerely, The Conservation Program Team at Minnesota Power

..........................................................15 Chapter 7—Lighting .......................................................................................................................................1 Chapter 1—Button Up Your Overcoat ..............................................................................................................................................29 Glossary .........................................................................................................................Table of Contents Introduction ..........................................................................................13 Chapter 6—Appliances ........................................................................................................8 Chapter 4—Heat: The Number One Energy User ................................................................................10 Chapter 5—Water Heating Systems.............................................................................................................................................6 Chapter 3—Ventilation: Your Home’s Breathing Space .............................................................................................................................................2 Chapter 2—Insulation: The Lining in Your Overcoat ...............................24 Chapter 8—Renewable Energy: Wind and Solar ..31 ..........................................................

Introduction: Your House is a System Your House Is a System The modern. Yet. We’re delighted to have you with us! Residential Energy Use Clothes Drying 4% Home Heating & Cooling 45–55% Lighting 6–10% Cooking 5% Refrigeration 9% Water Heating 15–25% 1 . heating costs will be higher than they need to be. energy-efficient indoor environment. a tightly sealed home may need some controlled ventilation to prevent moisture problems and to ensure good interior air quality. the first chapter of this booklet will examine your home in its entirety. This booklet deals with the home as a system with all its parts working together to provide a comfortable. Welcome to A Road Map to Energy Efficiency—Tips and Tools to Help You Save Energy. secure. as a system of important parts working together to give you the maximum benefits of your home energy use. your lighting and some of your appliances. your water heater. Thus. Subsequent chapters of this booklet will give you ideas on how you can improve the efficiency of your heating supply. Along the way. Instead. ducts. truly efficient home is a well-thought-out system of integral parts all working together to provide comfort and security with economy and ease of maintenance. if your home has insufficient insulation. and in some chapters we’ll provide checklists for home energy inspections. the modern. and appliances. insulation itself isn’t especially effective unless all the major air leaks have been sealed. energy-efficient home is more than just a structure—more than just walls and floors and a roof with wires. For example: No matter how powerful and efficient your heating appliance may be. we’ll offer some Home Energy Tips. pipes. On the other hand.

Putting insulation in your home comes later. The tops of interior partition walls where they intersect with the attic space. but should be more breathable than the inside to allow water vapor to escape from inside the walls to the outdoors. Where greatest flexibility and longest life is needed. You’ll have to be a detective because some of the most important leaks are hidden. The outside should be caulked for rain and run-off. Generally. First. Here are some of the most common places inside your home where energy-robbing leaks develop: • Window. The product you should use to seal them depends on their size and where they are. ceilings. Caulk may be applied where two surfaces meet but don’t move. (Hint: Look here first. (This is simple to fix: Just remove the faceplate. • • • • • • Plumbing penetrations through insulated floors and ceilings. Sealing prevents moisture from being trapped in wall cavities. windows and other spots: It’s cold out there! for fluttering. Caulking and Weatherstripping Air leaks alone can account for 10 to 25 percent of a home’s heat loss. door. such as on the outside. weatherstripping. If the caulked joint will be visible. We’ll start with caulks. • • • • • • • Heat leaks out at upper levels of the home and from openings near doors. The caulk’s label will tell you if the caulk is suitable for the material to be sealed. and other spots. choose a caulk you can paint or one that is the right color. Missing plaster. Along the sill plate and band joist at the top of foundation walls. Chimney penetrations through insulated floors and ceilings and exterior walls. Attic access hatches. That’s why experts recommend that the first step toward substantial home energy savings is stopping the leaks. Wiring penetrations through insulated floors. and walls. Doors should open and close with slight resistance but without binding.) Dropped ceilings or soffits above bathtubs and cabinets. and baseboard moldings. The most often recommended caulk for sealing your home from the inside is a clear siliconized acrylic. This is where one-third of a home’s heat loss usually occurs!) Put your hand next to gaps around windows and doors and feel for moving air. such as at window and door trims. Recessed lights and fans in insulated ceilings. but your work can pay off in significant energy savings. and replace the plate. and sealing. you can choose a pure silicone. Fireplace openings and dampers. 2 . Electrical outlets and switches. You can do this by caulking. you have to button up your home’s overcoat. Look for a caulk that will remain flexible for 20 to 25 years. especially at access doors and built-in cabinets and bureaus. The first part of this important job is finding the leaks. then you know how your house feels with the temperature plunging to 20 below zero and the wind zinging at 20 miles per hour while its hard-earned heat is leaking out from openings near doors. especially on exterior walls.Chapter 1 Button Up Your Overcoat If you’ve ever stepped out into a winter storm with a button missing from your coat. or hold an incense or a piece of tissue near the gaps and watch Now that you’ve found the leaks. Caulk is best for cracks and gaps less than a quarter-inch wide. Floors extending beyond the foundation wall. avoid the cheapest caulks because they generally don’t hold up well. It’s vital that you seal your home from the inside. it’s time to close them. add a foam gasket. Kneewalls in finished attics. windows.

let’s go to work on those leaky windows and doors. others are permanent. Compression and V-strip types are both widely available in hardware and building supply stores. you apply the caulk by placing its tube in your caulking gun (the handiest and least expensive item in this whole project) and cutting the end of the caulk tube off to the size of the bead you need. adhesive rubber. Windows and Doors If your windows are in generally good shape. weatherstrip. Strips—spring-loaded metal. you caulk where parts don’t move and weatherstrip where two surfaces meet but must be opened and closed. If you don’t need to open the upper sash of a double-hung window. usually in long coils and from a quarter-inch to an inch in diameter. Compression types are mounted on the sash frame so that it is squeezed together when the window closes. Come summer. You press them like clay into a crack. After a few squeezes of the trigger and just a few minutes’ work. you can remove the rope caulk. or foam on an attachment strip. you can caulk it closed. along with seals. Weatherstripping consists of … yes … strips of metal. Then apply the caulk to the gap or crack you’re working on and fill it completely by squeezing the handle of the gun and pushing the tip of the caulk tube at a 45-degree angle to the crack. on pile attachments. To seal around chimneys and flue pipes. hollow. and fit with storm panels than to replace them. or hollow on an attachment strip. gloves and a dust mask (available in hardware stores) when working with fiberglass. you may use a rope caulk to seal cracks where window parts move. you’ve become a home Caulking inside energy saver! a home Other caulks come in rope or ribbon form. but it needs to be done only once. Now let’s move to weather-stripping. Backer rod or crack filler is a flexible. store it in foil. though this caulk can be messy and takes some practice to learn how much to use. 3 . For your largest heat-robbing openings. For wintertime. to see how caulking and weatherstripping. Use it for large cracks and to provide a backing in deep cracks that you’ll seal later with caulk from a gun. foam or vinyl that make a weatherproof barrier between the frame of windows and doors and their parts that move. adhesive foam. closed-cell material. Some are removable. The center rail can be sealed with a self-adhesive vinyl or metal V-strip. As a general rule.” you can use rigid foam insulation caulked in place or fiberglass. Always wear goggles. Start with the smallest bead possible. such as attic hatch covers and plumbing “chases. Now. can be used. it will probably be more cost-effective to caulk. Don’t use plastic in places where it gets extremely hot. Fiberglass works best if wrapped in plastic or stuffed in plastic bags because air can leak through unsealed fiberglass. Tubular—core filled. and use it two or three more seasons.Chapter 1 Button Up Your Overcoat When working with caulk in a tube. These options aren’t as long-lasting but do seal well. Your quickest and least expensive action is to caulk all cracks and gaps and weatherstrip all edges. The type of weatherstripping to use depends on the window. A temporary clear caulk is available that can be applied with a gun and peeled off later for Weatherstripping opening the window. magnetic. Gaskets—felt. Expanding or non-expanding foam sealants are excellent materials for larger cracks and holes not exposed to sun and moisture. Installing weatherstripping is a little more timeconsuming than caulking. Weatherstripping can be: • • • • Tape—cloth or plastic. and a little more expensive. you may need specialized materials such as metal flashing or hightemperature silicone sealants.

more expensive types. The lower the number. most accurately reflect a window’s performance. it may be worth your while to invest in a new. you’ll save by replacing them. which is attached to a piece of aluminum. Carefully compare the U-values of windows when you’re shopping. but wooden frames are more energy efficient. Look for windows that have non-metallic spacers between panes to hold them in place. Other types are flaps or foam and vinyl and vinyl foam tubular strips.30–. and typically last one to three years. top-quality weatherstripping products are recommended over cheaper products.24 (remember. which is listed in cubic feet per minute per foot. or drapes. If your doors are in generally good shape. It is important to have quality door sweeps. quality and the cost of labor. the frame should fit snugly into the sash. Most people choose combination storm/screen windows. Storm windows with glass or rigid acrylic panes are recommended if you plan to keep your home for more than a few years.000 a piece. cost from $3 to $8 per window. Metallic spacers conduct cold at the edges of the window. Check your thresholds. Plastic film taped to the If you do decide on new inside of the window frame windows. cracked glass that has lost its seal. If you have single-pane glazed windows. That’s far less than replacement windows. Silicone-bulb weatherstripping is long-lasting and can withstand sub-zero temperatures. or poorly fitting sashes. from center to edges. one that meets the threshold and floor in several places. (Closing them in summer can cut down on heat gain. We recommend a multi-level sweep. Some are made of a shrink-tight plastic that you heat with a blow dryer after installation to pull out the wrinkles. Storm windows typically cost from $50 to $120. These kits are readily available in hardware stores. Replacement thresholds with a vinyl bulb running down the center are available. 4 . Typical unit U-values of high-efficiency windows are . depending on size. You also can compare air leakage. Spring-metal weatherstripping comes in several shapes and is durable. but you spotted leakage. U-values that take into account the whole window. The sweep attaches to the bottom of the door so that the flap seals against the floor or threshold. too. For maximum effectiveness. weatherstrip around the whole perimeter to ensure a good seal when the door is closed. you might be better off getting new ones. Installation can be tricky because weatherstripping must be tacked into place. These might not last as long or work as effectively as the other. If you’re keeping your doors.) Look for shades or drapes that fit into tracks to keep air from passing around the edges and possibly causing condensation problems behind them. you can install a plastic film that tapes to the inside of the window frame.Chapter 1 Button Up Your Overcoat As with caulking. If you have a door in such poor condition that you just can’t fix the leaks. storm windows will double their efficiency. Closing them at night can significantly cut down on heat loss. They can deteriorate. the more airtight the window. That can cost $400 to $1. which generally are easy to use. Sweeps usually are made of a vinyl flap. although some triple pane windows are available with U-values less than . If they’re not. But if your window sashes have rotted and have damaged wood. it is worth the extra cost to buy highperformance windows with low-E glass (lowemissivity) and an argon gas fill between two or more panes. you should have paid close attention to the bottoms of your doors. Some manufacturers list just the U-value at the center of the window. tighten them up. Now for your doors. curtains. the lower the U-value the better the performance). Back when you had your detective hat on and were investigating your home for leaks. Aluminum frames are more common. The bulb comes on a metal strip that is caulked and then nailed into place.35. To top off your work. Yet another way to boost the efficiency of your windows is installing a storm window. You also can enhance the energy efficiency of your windows by installing insulating shades.

installed properly with a snug fit. Storm doors. And now. weatherstripped. with your home’s leaks caulked. if the fireplace isn’t used. Your savings can run up to $40 a year. sealed. Costs range from $130 to $250.Chapter 1 Button Up Your Overcoat pre-hung insulated door. New.with an airtight cover Seal air leaks through foundation walls Seal heat leaks in attic 5 . provide dead air space between the outdoors and your primary doors. They can dramatically reduce heat loss. and stuffed with insulation—you’ve buttoned up your overcoat! Checklist Windows • • • • • • • Caulk interior trim with siliconized acrylic Seal pulley openings Weatherstrip loose windows Secure and caulk upper sash Install sash locks to hold windows tightly together Install plastic Replace putty and/or caulk loose glass Doors • • • • Caulk interior trim with siliconized acrylic Weatherstrip Install door bottom sweep Replace threshold Other trouble spots • • • • • Caulk baseboards at wall and floor Install foam gaskets behind outlet and switch faceplates Seal fireplace opening with glass doors or. These can cost from $400–$800. technically advanced doors have foam cores and R-values from 6–12. Adding a storm door is another way to increase energy efficiency.

it’s a good idea to start at the top and work your way down. gloves. These are areas around vents. fiberglass. This is best done from the outside. Be sure to check your attic for warm air bypasses and seal them. That’s why. Keep in mind the tips from Chapter 1 for working with fiberglass insulation—wear goggles. If your existing insulation already comes up to the top of the joists. or rock wool into your walls. Exterior insulation is considered to be 10 to 20 percent more effective than interior insulation because the foundation wall is kept warmer and stores heat from the home. thus helping to moderate temperature swings within the house. chimneys. If your attic doesn’t have a floor. all of the above-ground wall surface should be covered. simply add more insulation—either loose fill or fiberglass batts. insulating sheathing can be applied to the outside of your walls. (On new homes.Chapter 2 Insulation: The Lining in Your Overcoat Attic Insulation Now that you’ve got your house buttoned up. But if you’re planning to put on new siding. wiring. or drill a test hole—but not near an electric outlet or wiring! It might not be cost-effective to add insulating materials to walls if you already have an inch or more. chimneys. mineral wool. and wiring. A wall cavity has room for only about 3 1/2 inches of insulation. With the sheathing.. pull off an electric outlet cover and peer into the wall cavity. Seal air bypasses around vents. Be advised that putting insulation into walls in an existing home can be difficult. Adding insulation to the attic is usually easy. when it comes to adding insulating materials. Anything less than 3. The benefits of foundation-wall insulation are just now beginning to be appreciated. It’s available up to R-7. This gives an R-value of R-44 (the higher the value. This insulation can be added either to the inside or the outside of the foundation walls. The more above-ground foundation you have. A standard 2-by4 wall with fiberglass batts has a value of R-14. If your attic is poorly insulated.) 6 . the purchase and installation costs might outweigh the benefits. you could save up to 25 percent of your heating costs by insulating. Wall Insulation Adding insulation to an uninsulated wall can reduce heat flow in the wall by as much as 50 percent. the greater the energy savings and comfort you’ll realize if you have foundation insulation. add an additional layer of unfaced batts across the joists.6. (If you’re not sure about whether your walls have insulation. you may have to lift the boards to put batts in place or make holes in the floor and blow insulation underneath it. consider calling in an insulation contractor to blow cellulose. insulation goes all the way to the footings or the frost line. etc. and the material should reach to at least a foot below the ground.2. spray foam. In the event that your walls don’t have insulation and you’re not going to have new siding put on. The recommended depth of attic insulation here in Minnesota Power country is 12 to 14 inches. your next step to achieve maximum comfort and efficiency will be adding energy-saving insulation. the better the insulation). and a mask over nose and mouth. If you are able to add only a couple of inches or less of new material. If you choose to insulate the exterior foundation walls. that leak heated air into the attic. be sure to use materials that have an R-value of at least 3. An uninsulated wall has an R-value of approximately R-4. This is also a good opportunity to fill in any uninsulated cavities. Foundation Wall Insulation If your attic does have a floor.6 is not cost-effective. Insulation is your primary defense against heat loss. Bypasses cause 30 to 70 percent of heat loss in or from the attic.

Insulating Materials Cellulose is commonly used as attic insulation. corrosion. When installing your insulation from the inside. are used in attics and walls. Vermiculite and perlite are loose-fill products that can be poured into wall cavities. though. Now that you’ve sealed all the leaks and gaps in your home and you’ve properly installed the right insulation. mineral wool and rock wool. Fiberglass comes unfaced or faced with a paper or foil vapor barrier. two of the three major components of your “house as a system” are in good order. Next. chipboard or foam insulation boards that you nail in place under the floor joists. 7 . your house is susceptible to frost damage. They are mineral products that are formed as small beads and are poured into wall cavities. It is installed with a blower. less commonly.Chapter 2 Insulation: The Lining in Your Overcoat The material to insulate the outside of your foundation walls is extruded polystyrene. If you choose to insulate your foundation and basement walls from the inside. They are noncombustible and can be used in tight spaces. But you don’t want your home to get too stuffy inside its over-coat. non-porous soil along the foundation wall. and around pipes and wires. In either case. Using the insulation boards not only keeps the batts in place but also insulates the joists. and polyisocyanuate. Also. The coating can be applied by troweling or spraying it on. leaving enough uninsulated area to allow intentional heat loss. You fasten the board to the wall by drilling a hole through the board and into the wall and inserting a mechanical fastener to anchor the board in place. which will help prevent frost heave outside your basement walls. Place it on the ground of your crawlspace to prevent water vapor from entering the space. toward the inside of the house. be careful around plumbing and wiring. If your house has poor drainage away from the foundation or if you have heavy. odor. be sure you’ve sealed any gaps in the rimjoist area. The most commonly used coatings are made of a portland-type cement base that is mixed with an acrylic or latex bonding agent to assure adhesion and elasticity so the coating can withstand the weather without cracking. and be sure that you’ve corrected any moisture problems before you begin. Cellulose is made from newsprint that is chemically treated to resist fire. If your crawlspace is heated. you’ll have to use the same finishing technique as for exterior foundation walls. place the insulation around the perimeter. Crawlspace Insulation If your home has a crawlspace instead of a basement. which comes in boards and should have an R-value of R-10. your insulation strategy depends on whether the crawlspace is heated or unheated. it is important to correct any moisture problems and create as dry an area as possible. either on the outside or inside walls. Keep in mind. Your old reliable—the six-millimeter plastic sheet—again is your best choice of materials. with a vapor barrier already attached. The vapor barrier goes on the “winter-warm” side of the insulation—in other words. It should be about a quarter-inch thick. you can use string. fungi. Next comes a third vital factor—ventilation. but they tend to be more expensive than other products and have a lower R-value than others. polyurethane. In this case. you may use boards or fiberglass batts. Fiberglass comes in batts in various widths and thicknesses—and in blankets. Fiberglass and. wire or wire mesh. Insulating boards for sheathing exterior walls are made from plastic foams. To insulate the floor of an unheated crawlspace. using boards on the outside or batts on the inside. to the underside of the floors. though. which are continuous rolls. insulate just to a few feet below ground level. and vermin. the recommended action is blowing the cavities full of loose fill or installing fiberglass batts. as discussed in Chapter 1. To keep the batts in place. If you’ve elected to insulate the exterior of your crawlspace. or plywood. on the above-ground portion comes a coating to protect the insulating material from the ultraviolet rays of the sun and from physical wear and tear. that you can have too much of a good thing. including expanded and extruded polystyrene.

laundry supplies. Here’s the rule of thumb for attic ventilation: If there is a vapor barrier. For the older home that’s been sealed and insulated. Passive static vents also can be used. If there is no vapor barrier and the roof has less than a three-foot rise from eave to peak. you also lower the amount of available fresh air and increase your need for controlled ventilation. Normal. in an especially tight home. warm moist air from inside the home escapes into the attic and can cause damaging condensation and ice dams. Several forms of ventilation are available to cope with these problems. such as ridge and soffit vents or gable end vents and soffit vents. This is usually achieved by using a combination of roof vents. fresh air. and cooking that are part of our modern lives.Chapter 3 Ventilation: Your Home’s Breathing Space Attic Ventilation Ventilation for attics is extremely important. miscellaneous building leaks that even the most conscientious resident cannot seal. Ventilation also is important in your crawlspace. the ventilation space should be evenly split between high and low locations. cleaners. one square foot of venting for every 150 square feet of floor space is recommended for crawlspaces without a vapor barrier and one square foot of venting for every 1. If the air leaks from your living spaces aren’t completely sealed. In both cases. this buildup of water vapor can result in problems. proper ventilation is even more important. one square foot of ventilation is needed for every 150 square feet of attic floor. Here are some products you can use to be sure that your home is getting plenty of breathing space. Normal activities also create indoor air pollution from the sprays. Fresh.500 square feet of floor space with a vapor barrier. This happens when the natural draft that is normally created by the hot gases of combustion are drawn back down the flue and pour into the surrounding area instead of flowing up the chimney and out of the home. In non-heating seasons. Sealing warm air leaks into the attic minimizes these problems and reduces the need for excess attic ventilation. Various roof and soffit vents During our heating seasons. Indoor Ventilation As you work around your home to make it tighter and more energy-efficient. “makeup air” comes from passive sources—basically. it may be necessary to add the following: • Exhaust fans can be installed in high-humidity areas such as kitchens and baths. As homes become tighter. These exhaust fumes can eventually overwhelm the oxygen in the area and begin producing large amounts of lethal carbon monoxide and other harmful gases. dust. Inside your home’s living spaces. 8 . In addition. You need a healthful supply of clean. Heat gain from the sun also can cause problems if the attic isn’t adequately ventilated. crawlspaces should have insulated and weatherstripped covers installed over the vents to control heat loss. day-to-day activities within the home generate a substantial amount of water vapor. water vapor and indoor pollution can create the need for some form of mechanical ventilation system. These fans don’t have sophisticated air-management controls and are the least efficient of all mechanical systems. Together. All homes using gas or propane heating or water heating systems should be equipped with carbon monoxide detectors. smoke. if you have one.or oil-burning furnace and water heater. one square foot of outside ventilation is needed for each 300 square feet of attic floor. serious backdrafts can develop in a gas.

are similar to the heat exchanger but don’t have the heat-recovery feature. and a heat-exchanging duct system. exhaust fan. Stale air is drawn through the other side of the heat exchanger. with their own duct system. fresh air is introduced into each room and the exhaust is central and controlled to provide a continuous level low. A heat recovery system reduces indoor heating and cooling loads. It consists of an intake fan. even ventilation.Chapter 3 Ventilation: Your Home’s Breathing Space • The central heat recovery ventilator. In a mechanical exhaust with metered air inlets. insulating. • Now your whole-house system is in order! Congratulations on sealing air leaks. and is dumped outside. 9 . also known as an air-to-air heat exchanger. This system can be run continuously or can be controlled by a timer or a humidistat. and keeping your indoor environment fresh. passes it through one side of the heat exchanger and distributes it throughout. The central intake system also can be run continuously or controlled by a timer or humidistat. transferring heat to the fresh-air side. The initial cost is significantly lower than that of a heat-recovery ventilator. • Central intake and exhaust fans. It brings fresh air into the home. is the most complete and effective ventilation system.

In “forced-air” systems. Furnaces A furnace heats air that is blown through air ducts and delivers the warm air through registers or grills. The most accurate way to gauge the performance of your system is the annual fuel utilization efficiency. The heating system is usually the largest energy user in the home. or hydronic. Hot-water. You may have little control over the first two factors. But you probably can save a great deal by installing a new. typically using plastic pvc piping for venting the exhaust gases. How low or high the energy efficiency levels of the home are. 10 . an electric blower sends air past the furnace’s heat exchanger to pick up heat and then through the ducts and registers of the home. Automatic-Setback Thermostats Automatic-setback thermostats can be installed easily to save money by making sure the thermostat is turned down regularly. high-efficiency heating system or by improving the efficiency of your present system. The natural-draft. It is important not to block warm or cold air grills with furniture or drapes. they’re more lifestyle choices than they are energy choices.Chapter 4 Heat: The Number One Energy User Heating Systems Heating the home accounts for the greatest use of energy in most households—accounting for up to two-thirds of annual energy bills. This is called a forced-air system. Lifestyle—how you use energy. How much energy your heating system requires to do its job depends on five factors: • • • • • Where the home is. This is important in keeping your furnace operating at peak efficiency. If you turn it down at night another 5 to 10 degrees. How big the house is. or AFUE. The most important control from the homeowner’s perspective is the thermostat. By reducing the temperature in your home from 70 to 65 degrees. systems are more common today than steam systems. Reducing your energy use for heating may be the single most effective way to save money and reduce your home’s contribution to global environmental problems. and it is the efficiency rating used in comparing heating units. Newer. Furnace filters should be replaced as often as every month during the heating season. How energy-efficient the heating system is. Boilers A boiler heats water or steam that circulates through pipes to radiators or baseboard units. Heating system controls regulate the various components of the system. Ducts also can be cleaned occasionally with a hose-type vacuum. Here’s a look at today’s modern heating systems: Gas and Oil Gas-fired and oil-fired systems generate heat in a furnace or boiler. Your heating system replaces the heat that is lost through the shell or envelope—or “overcoat”—of your home. When replacing a furnace. The AFUE is the average efficiency over the entire heating season. you can save 5 percent to 10 percent more. consider purchasing a system with an ECM (electronically commutated motor) circulating fan motor that uses up to 80 percent less electricity than a conventional motor. This is a measure of the system’s efficiency that accounts for start-up and cool-down and other operating losses in actual conditions. Registers should be kept clean so the air flows freely. you can save as much as 10 percent on your heating bill. Turning back the thermostat is the easiest and best way to save on your fuel bill. forced-air furnace is the most common heating system found in Minnesota. “Natural draft” means that the exhaust gases go up the chimney without mechanical assist because they are lighter than the air around them. The success of this system depends on an equal amount of flow in the heating ducts and return ducts. high-efficient furnaces are power vented or sealed combustion. They are relatively inexpensive and pay for themselves in a short time. And perhaps you’ve already done what can be done with the third factor.

Sealedcombustion appliances bring outside air directly into the burner and send the exhaust gases directly to the outside without the need for a draft hood. furnaces. wellinsulated home. A common improvement on oil-fired systems is replacing the standard burner with a more efficient flame-retention head burner. Have a pan ready to catch any spillage. usually under windows. Air can collect in radiators and keep them from filling entirely with water. and you know your present AFUE. radiant heaters. To supply ample amounts of combustion air in a tight. Electric resistance heaters come in a variety of styles: baseboard units. To fix this. All homes using fossil fuel (gas or propane) appliances should be equipped with a carbon monoxide detector. space heaters and sub-slab systems. Units are usually surface mounted. which should be installed only by qualified people. can improve the efficiency of your gas or oil burner. where the heat loss is greatest. The importance of this replacement air. The typical heating system will last about 25 years or longer. which heats up.” cannot be overstated. not only for efficiency but for safety. saving 10 to 20 percent of fuel costs. If you’re considering replacing your system with a high-efficiency model. Dampers are operated by heat or electricity and result in a savings of 5 to 8 percent. Furnaces and boilers and any other fuel-burning appliances in your home need an ample supply of outside air to operate properly. damper or chimney. clean and tune your burner annually. or it can be used for total home heating. You also know that the floor is getting wet—so close the valve. Electric heat is considered to be 100 percent efficient in the home because it has none of the combustion losses that other systems have. Electric Heat Electric systems provide clean. Proper sizing and location of baseboard units are important. Vent dampers automatically block off the vent pipe after the burner shuts off and prevent the escape of warm air up the chimney when the furnace isn’t running.Chapter 4 Heat: The Number One Energy User A hot-water system must be void of air for maximum efficiency. boilers. As soon as water starts to come out. Without enough combustion air. you know that air has been bled from the radiator. including carbon monoxide. Electric Resistance Heat This system works by directly converting electric current into heat by running it through a resistant element. Electric baseboard units are commonly installed along the bottom of outside walls. safe and easily controlled heating. it will be easy for you to calculate the savings you’ll realize. 11 . They generally burn more efficiently and reduce the risk of introducing dangerous combustion gases into the home. also called “makeup air” or “combustion air. Baseboard Heaters The primary benefit of baseboard heat is the individual room control with little or no maintenance. fan-forced wall heaters. you can put in a duct from the outside to the vicinity of the heating system. It makes sense in our climate to invest in the highest efficiency system available. In oil burners. providing minimum interference with window placement. In gas systems. it’s recommended to purchase a system rated at 90 percent AFUE or greater. because they rely on natural convection of air flow around the heating elements to heat the room. Electricity can be used to provide additional heat to areas that aren’t sufficiently heated by other systems. too. When replacing a boiler system. Be sure to buy one with a good warranty from a reputable company. The burner also becomes less efficient. your house can become polluted with dangerous gases. Add-on equipment. there is a risk of carbon monoxide poisoning if regular maintenance tasks aren’t performed. oil enters the burner as a liquid and contains more impurities than gas. There are two common types of electric heat: electric resistance heat and electric heat pumps. Servicing A qualified service person should check. use a radiator key (about half a dollar at hardware stores) to open the valve near the top of the radiator. Insist on a closed or sealed-combustion unit.

For example. but generally require little if any supplemental heat and can be less expensive to operate overall in our northern climate. This system technically requires less energy because it heats people and objects—not the air around them. air returns Install timer on thermostat or turn down thermostat manually Place foil reflectors behind radiators Be sure burner has sufficient combustion air Electric Heat Pumps Electric heat pumps don’t produce heat directly from the electric current. Radiant Heaters These heaters come in many styles: heat lamps. heat pumps are highly efficient. radiant panels and the cove style are most common. – Whichever heating system you use in your home. which offers the option of installing central air conditioning. Making a commitment to keep up a sound maintenance schedule will save energy and increase the life of your system.Chapter 4 Heat: The Number One Energy User – Wall Heaters Fan-coil wall heaters are thermostatically controlled and use an electric heating coil. Ground-source/geothermal systems extract the heat from water or the ground below the frostline. instead. too. supplemental resistance-type heat is necessary. When outside temperatures drop below freezing. heat water that is circulated through baseboard heaters or radiators. Unlike other systems that use air movement to distribute heat. Unlike electric baseboard systems. electric boilers. The air temperature might be 10 above. though. these heaters radiate heat directly below them. 12 . too. Because it requires less energy to move heat than it does to convert electricity to an equivalent amount of heat. nor is a chimney necessary—and a heat pump can also be used for cooling. the heat pump alone may not be enough to warm the home to the desired level. Geothermal heat pumps are more expensive to install than air-source systems. Electric Furnaces These furnaces use a fan to move room air across the furnace’s heat exchanger and into the indoor space. but it has others. registers.or oil-fired boilers due to the absence of combustion. Air-source models use outside air as the heat source. baseboard units. The most important advantage of a heat pump is its low operating cost. Otherwise. Radiant heat is the same type of heat that you feel from the sun on a cold winter day. no fuel delivery or storage is necessary. Electric furnaces come in many configurations and are similar to the more common gas or oil forced-air furnaces. they use electricity to move heat from one place to another. electric furnaces provide central air handling. Checklist • • • • • • • • Clean and tune annually Replace/clean air filters regularly Insulate ducts in unheated space Insulate hot-water/steam pipes Remove any obstructions from radiators. In this case. Electric Boilers These boilers operate in a much less complicated way than gas. but the side of your face that the sun is hitting feels warm. Two types of heat pumps are available: air-to-air and ground-source. remember to keep the key components clean and to have them serviced at the intervals recommended by the manufacturer. Wall heaters are available in a variety of configurations and sizes to fit many spaceheating considerations.

This is recommended only if you start this practice when your tank is new. or adjust the water level for smaller loads. With electric models. If you have a dishwasher. If you use a dehumidifier in the summer months. hold a pail under the faucet at the bottom of the heater. reducing run time on the dehumidifier. You can reduce the cost of heating water in a couple of ways: cut down on the use of your present water heater. for best results. fill a pan with rinse water. A hot-water faucet leaking one drop a second will waste about 60 gallons of hot water a week. You should do this every few months. open the valve and drain off water until it runs clear. If you wash dishes by hand. remove the old shower head with a wrench. highly efficient model. put a little pipe joint compound on the threads of the spigot and screw on the new shower head. Install a timer on an electric water heater to shut it off when you don’t need it. Showers use much less water. Run the dishwasher with full loads only and let the dishes air dry. A typical shower head uses four to nine gallons of water a minute. To control this buildup. After that. making popping or cracking noises. as an old sediment buildup could make it difficult to close the drain tap. In general. you may find that you need the water temperature a little higher. Sediment buildup also shortens the life of the water heater. depending on style. It is often cheaper in the long run to remove an operating. be sure to turn off the power to the water heater before you do this. but the extra cost will pay for itself in a few years. around 130 to 140 degrees. it is recommended to insulate all accessible cold Pipe water pipes to reduce pipe Insulation condensation. but inefficient. Water heaters have an average life expectancy of 10 to 20 years. Install a water-saving shower head. the more efficient performance will save you money for the life of the water heater. Your water heater should be replaced if it is leaking. This buildup insulates the water from the heat source. Install a heat trap on hot-water line. To install. insulate the cold water pipes for the few feet nearest Tape the heater. • • • • • • • 13 Tape . which means the burner has to be on longer to heat the water. It need not be higher than 120 degrees. its efficiency drops. Don’t run the water continuously. Also. while high-efficiency electric water heaters have an EF of 93 percent or greater. or if you have to keep turning the temperature setting up to maintain an adequate supply of hot water. as a water heater gets older. older unit and replace it with a new. listed as EF or Energy Factor. It will cost a little more. Use a foam pipe wrap or insulation wrap to insulate accessible hot water pipes throughout the house. A water-saving shower head uses two to three gallons of water a minute. Leaks can usually be fixed by replacing the tap washer. Wash only full loads of laundry. or purchase a high-efficiency model. High-efficiency gas water heaters have an EF of 62 percent or greater. but they can last much longer. Take showers instead of baths. buy one with a high efficiency rating. Try keeping the temperature down and changing detergents. They can cost anywhere from $8 to $20. Turn your water heater off or down if you are going to be gone for a few days or more. • Fix leaky faucets immediately. sediment will build up in the bottom of a gas or oil water heater tank. When you do decide to install a new water heater.Chapter 5 Water Heating Systems Water Heating Systems Heating water is often the second largest household energy user and may account for up to 20 percent of annual energy costs. and use cold water whenever possible. • • Over time. Here are some ideas for conserving energy with your current model: • Turn down the temperature.

Discolored water • • Heater anode gone bad Scale/sediment buildup Electric Water Heaters—Common Service Problems Water not hot enough. These devices can save up to 25 percent on a water heating bill.Chapter 5 Water Heating Systems • Consider installing a drain water heat recovery device that captures heat from the drain water leaving the home. or insufficient • • • • • • • Thermostat set too low or out of adjustment Incorrect voltage and/or wattage Incorrect connections (wiring) Hard water scale on element tubes Inoperative lower element Capacity too small for demands Heat trap installed in wrong inlet or outlet Checklist • • • • • • Lower temperature to 120 (or higher for best dishwasher performance) Install insulation jacket Insulate accessible pipes Drain 1 to 2 gallons from bottom of tank to control sediment Fix leaky faucets immediately Install low-flow shower head No hot water • • • • • Defective or blown fuse or breaker Incorrect connection (wiring) Loose connections or broken wires at controls Defective thermostat Inoperative upper element Where Your Water Goes Washing Machines 22% Toilet Leaks 5% Toilets 28% Water too hot • • • • Thermostat set too high or out of calibration Upper thermostat improperly connected Defective thermostat Grounded element Bills too high • • • • • • • • • Water consumption higher than anticipated Leaky faucets Circulating systems—no check valve on return line Wasteful use Location of heater. pipe size too large Scale deposit on elements Improper grounds Leaky or faulty relief valve Malfunctioning mixing valve on toilet Dishwashers 3% Baths 9% Faucets 12% Showers 21% Water leaks • • • • Loose elements Defective gaskets Loose pipe connections Actual tank leak 14 .

clothes washers and dryers. Be sure to unplug the refrigerator when cleaning the coils. cleanliness. although they’re getting harder to find. Check the door seals or gaskets. Dust on the coils acts as an insulator and makes it more difficult for the coils to give off heat to the surrounding air.) Manual-defrost models. Consider cubic feet and arrangement of door and shelf space. Turn this switch off unless there is an excessive amount of condensation building up. Some frost-free refrigerators have a switch that permits the user to shut off the small heaters that are built into the door gaskets to prevent moisture from collecting on outer surfaces when the humidity is high in the summer (often called the “energy saver” switch). Put a dollar bill in the door as you close it. Dishwashers. By properly recycling your second refrigerator/freezer. They can be cleaned with a vacuum or a brush. The only drawback to these marvelous devices is the fact that they consume energy. with proper selection. energy consumption can increase by up to 25 percent. we can serve meals with fresh-tasting meats and vegetables weeks and months after the foods were first packaged. motors and door seals all have contributed to this improvement. • Refrigerators work most efficiently when air circulates freely between the packages and bottles. easy to use. However. Increased insulation and coil surface area and improved compressors. If the refrigerator and freezer are kept 10 degrees colder than these recommendations. consider the features you want as well as the extra operating costs they bring. Seal liquids tightly in automatic defrosting models so you don’t use energy to control unnecessary moisture. Tips for Your Refrigerator • The appliance will fail to dissipate heat properly if it is in direct sunlight or next to the dishwasher or cook top/oven. • • Manual and partially automatic defrost refrigerators and freezers should be defrosted when frost buildup approaches a quarter-inch. the freezer compartment should be around zero to five degrees. ranges and ovens have become efficient. The refrigerator temperature should be from 38 to 42 degrees Fahrenheit. you will save energy and benefit the environment. and air conditioners have brought increased convenience. greatly affecting performance. As you shop for a refrigerator. This can result in energy savings of 50 percent or more. installation. Compare the cost of operating a side-by-side unit to a conventional unit with the freezer on top. (This test does not always work on units with magnetic seals. Thanks to refrigerators and freezers. • • Refrigerators Although they are still among the top energy users in the home. if the bill is not held firmly in place.Chapter 6 Appliances Appliances The household appliances that we take for granted today have made revolutionary—and entirely welcome—changes in our lives. and comfort into our homes. (Advice on comparing costs with the EnergyGuide label comes later in this chapter.to 20-year-old refrigerator be replaced with a more efficient ENERGY STAR®. • Regularly cleaning the condenser coils that are in the back of older refrigerators and at the bottom of most new ones is important. These can deteriorate over time. It is generally much less expensive to buy and operate one big refrigerator than two smaller refrigerators. which usually costs much less to run. Today we can’t imagine getting along without our favorite appliances. today’s appliances can be models of efficiency. Keep in mind that an ice maker may increase the cost of operation by as much as 20 percent. and easy to care for. use and care. This chapter discusses operating tips for existing appliances and tips for buying new ones. in recent years the efficiency of refrigerators has improved substantially.) • 15 . the seals are probably defective. can use half the electricity of some other models. Our stoves. $ It is recommended that a 15.

The energy efficiency of ceramic glass units is somewhat better than standard coils. Automatic-defrost freezers should never be operated in unheated spaces. Because they are more likely to be in dusty areas. Also. Induction cook tops transfer electro-magnetic energy directly to the pan. but you can also buy models with solid disk elements. Avoid stacking boxes or allowing other stored items to become piled near or against the freezer. When the window is open. automatic defrost freezers may dehydrate frozen food. Halogen cook tops use halogen lamps as the heat source. A good time to defrost a manual unit is when the frost reaches an eighth. The most common electric burners are exposed coils. As a result. drafts can interfere with proper operation. They have instant heat response. and water heaters. electric coils beneath a glass surface. Many types of electric cook tops are available. high-tech halogen or induction elements. Use pots and pans with flat bottoms on electric cook tops. such as in a basement. Also. Many freezers need to be defrosted manually. so energy consumption is higher. pressure cookers. Fit the pot or pan to the size of the burner. on a back porch or in an attached garage. The initial purchase cost is higher. Because they use magnetism to heat. where the heat is needed. When cooking smaller meals. Unlike refrigerators. freezers are most efficient when they are completely full. be sure to use a ventilation fan that exhausts to the outside. • Solid disk elements are more attractive to some people than coils. although the cost of ceramic glass cook tops is higher than coil or disk element cook tops. • • • Cook Tops Gas stoves built after 1979 have electronic ignition and save up to 40 percent over those with standing pilot lights. Freezing the drain lines can severely damage this type of freezer. or ceramic pots with heating elements. the element can be turned off a few minutes ahead of time and the hot element will continue to cook the food. and they are easier to clean. they may need their coils cleaned more often. locate the cook tops and ovens away from refrigerators and freezers. • Cook tops and ovens are generally not efficient at cooking small amounts of food. The efficiency of these units is about the same as the ceramic cook top. If you use a gas stove. they can be used only with steel and iron pans. Flat bottomed cookware is also recommended with this cook top surface. as this may restrict air flow to the condenser coils. Automatic defrost models often consume up to 40 percent more electricity than equivalent manual-defrost models. Freezers need the same cleaning care as a refrigerator. • Locate the freezer away from heat sources and allow free air circulation. with electric. although automatic defrost models are available. Plan the storage and rotation of foods. use microwave ovens. • • • • • Cook Top Tips • Do not install the cook top or oven near a window. Lids also reduce potential moisture problems in the kitchen. Flat bottomed cookware is recommended for solid disks for top efficiency. but they heat up more slowly than electric coils. toaster ovens. furnaces. 16 .to quarterinch thickness. Common heat sources are dryers. Also. They are also more difficult to organize. They provide the best contact with the element. especially with electric cook tops. Chest freezers are typically 10 percent to 15 percent more efficient than upright freezers because they are better insulated and because cold air doesn’t spill out when chest freezers are opened. they are highly energy efficient.Chapter 6 Appliances Tips for Your Freezer Freezers come in two basic styles: chest type or upright. causing freezer burn. Lids help keep heat in and speed up cooking times. Radiant elements under ceramic glass are easy to clean and heat up faster than solid disk elements. Higher wattage elements are used in solid disks. washers.

A compact unit will actually end up using more energy if it is used more often. Cook with as little liquid as possible and lower burner settings as soon as foods reach a simmering boil. Oven Tips • • Keep oven preheating to a minimum. Overall cooking times for food are greatly reduced and less heat is emitted into the kitchen. eliminating hot and cold spots. Although this avoids 240 volt. cook several dishes or meals in the 17 . • • oven at one time. Allow frozen foods to defrost in the refrigerator before cooking. When used appropriately. saving time and energy in clean-up. Have a service person adjust this. a large amount of energy is wasted because of heat loss from the storage tank and pipes. A booster heater raises the temperature of water entering the dishwasher. Convection ovens contain a fan that circulates air evenly. microwave ovens. A useful feature to look for in a new dishwasher is a booster heater. • Conventional ovens come in gas or electric. Dishwashers need water heated to about 140 degrees Fahrenheit to remove soap film and food particles. Using the self-cleaning feature on an electric model more than once a month will cut down on that efficiency. the gas may not be burning efficiently. Most dishwashers use 8 to 14 gallons of water for a complete job. An ENERGY STAR efficient automatic dishwasher can use less hot water than washing dishes by hand. Look at the manufacturer’s literature for total water use with different cycles. microwave/radiant. Manufacturers are not required to test cleaning effectiveness on the same cycles that they use to rate energy efficiency. but hold fewer dishes. When possible.Chapter 6 Appliances • With a gas burner. Microwave ovens come in three styles: microwave only. If your water heater is set this high. Dishwashers Dishwashers use energy for water heating as well as to actually run the dishwasher. Models that use less water use less energy. • • High-frequency radio waves cook food in a microwave oven by penetrating the food and heating water molecules inside. Compact models will use less energy. Freeze some for later use. An oven with a glass window in the door rather than a solid one can be more efficient because the cook doesn’t have to open the door to look at what’s cooking. They generally aren’t a substitute for a full-size. regular oven for major meal preparation. the energy available for cooking is only half that of standard ovens. keep the inside surface clean to allow more efficient cooking. so the label may reflect the normal cycle. will probably not be much more efficient than their conventional gas counterparts. Temperatures can be lowered and cooking times shortened with convection ovens. The savings in water heating often make up for the power consumed by the dishwasher. Gas self-cleaning ovens. A booster heater adds up to $30 per year to the operating costs of the dishwasher. You can also cook many foods right in their serving dishes. however. Most foods do not require preheating. Use only as much heat as necessary to keep the liquid simmering. Be aware that there are two dishwasher classifications: compact capacity and standard capacity. If the flame is yellow. 20 amp wiring. and microwave/convection combinations. make sure you’re getting a bluish flame. microwave ovens consume only 30 to 50 percent as much electricity as conventional ovens for cooking the same food. 10 amp electric wiring requirements. but not the pot scrubbing or heavy duty cycle. and combination models that work in one or more modes. They require special cooking utensils and commonly have 120 volt. You can avoid preheating for most items and often shorten cooking times by 30 percent. but it more than pays for itself in energy savings in about a year by allowing you to keep your water heater at a lower setting. With microwave ovens. • Ovens In addition to the standard electric and gas oven. there are now convection ovens. It doesn’t take as much energy to reheat food as it does to cook it. Selfcleaning electric models are more energy-efficient because they have more insulation.

put a layer of insulation between the two appliances. Dryer Tips • The most important part of dryer installation is the exhaust system. cutting electricity use by up to 20 percent. Running two half loads can take twice as much energy as a full load. Older models with pilot lights increase dryer annual gas consumption by 30 percent. Use as short and as straight a section of 18 . There are machines on the market that automatically add hot water to the cold wash cycle if the temperature sensor finds the water too cold. a cool-down cycle. It is no longer recommended that it be vented inside at any time. Short cycles use less hot water and are suitable when dishes are only lightly soiled. Air pollutants and moisture can create problems. this feature can save up to 20 gallons of water per load. a colder wash cycle may work. Wash full loads when possible or match the water level to the size of the load. Also.Chapter 6 Appliances Other useful features are short cycle and air-dry selectors. and insulate water pipes leading to it to minimize heat loss through the pipes. Look for energyefficient features such as an automatic temperature control. the labels do not take energy-saving features into account. Don’t waste water or time by pre-rinsing dishes. Cold water rinse does not affect cleaning. Only 10 percent is used for controls and motors. and use cold for rinses. so you may have to use the warm water cycle. “Cold Water Wash” on most machines means 70 degrees Fahrenheit. water may not clean properly. Dishwashers produce moisture and heat that cause refrigerators and freezers to use more energy. If you have a laundry tub near your washer. This feature saves energy and reduces wrinkles. In Minnesota. dryers have two or three heat settings. The most inefficient washer will use more than three times as much energy as the most efficient model. At that temperature. you can purchase a washer with a suds-saver cycle. If you do pre-rinse. Use warm or cold water for the wash cycle instead of hot (except for greasy stains and some whites). Wash only full loads. use cold water. Experiment with different detergents. and a no-heat cycle. the temperature of the water going into the washer can drop to below 40 degrees. Most newer models require only that dishes be scraped off and liquids emptied. Washer Tips • Install the washing machine as close to the water heater as possible. Standard top loading machines can use 40-55 gallons per load while many of the newer efficient. An air-dry selector automatically shuts off the heat during the drying cycle. Moisture sensor controls are more accurate and more effective at saving energy than a timer. so it really pays to compare. A cool-down cycle tumbles clothes in unheated air during the last 5 to 10 minutes of operation. Always vent your dryer to the outside. If you have an air-dry feature. Front loading models often use considerably less water than top loading machines because they move water through the clothes better. most of the energy used by clothes washers is for water heating. That means the most effective energy saver is to use less hot water. If you presoak heavily soiled items. using it regularly will typically cut your electricity bills. Be aware that models with smaller capacities will have better ratings. but the smaller capacity may mean that you have to run the machine more often. so it may cost more to operate in the long run. All new natural gas dryers sold in Minnesota since 1978 have an electronic ignition. Use the lowest applicable temperature settings for washing laundry. When you do two or more loads. • Dryers Regardless of the number of selections on the controls. Use short cycles when you have easy-to-clean loads. ENERGY STAR models use 8–16 gallons per load. Their fast spin cycle helps reduce drying costs by extracting more water than many top loading washers. • • • • Washing Machines and Dryers Washers Like dishwashers. Up to 90 percent of the energy needed to wash clothes is used to heat water. If you must install your dishwasher close to a refrigerator or freezer. Dishwasher Tips • Keep your dishwasher away from a refrigerator or freezer. a moisture sensor control.

Take fullest advantage of cross ventilation. coils and fans clean and dust-free. The label will show the model’s EER. – Make sure window models are sealed in the opening tightly. When replacing air conditioning units. 19 . An air conditioner’s operating cost is another important purchasing consideration. Consider the average life of our typical appliances: Clothes washer—18 years Dishwasher—15 years Freezer—21 years Refrigerator. – Clean or replace filters once a month. consider purchasing a unit with a SEER rating of 14 or higher. Take them out while they are slightly damp and hang them. well-built appliance is why you’ll profit from the most efficient model for your needs and your budget. The energy costs can really add up. Now for some tips and tools to help you when selecting new appliances. • A dryer exhaust hood on the exterior of the building should close firmly when not in use to protect that area of the building from infiltration. Cover or remove in winter. A room air conditioner’s cooling capacity is expressed in British thermal units (Btu). – Keep grills. The cost grid at the bottom of the label helps you estimate the unit’s annual operating cost. Cooling capacity is probably the most important buying consideration. Use exhaust fans after cooking or bathing. the more energy efficient the air conditioner. Clean the lint filter between loads. clammy feeling caused by chilly. Don’t over dry clothes. keep in mind that the cost of an appliance runs on for as long as you use it. A room air conditioner with too little cooling capacity will not cool the room adequately. can become crushed. Locating the dryer in a heated space will increase its efficiency. humid air. Although the natural inclination is to look only at the price tag. • • • Air Conditioners Instead of using energy to create heat. This not only reduces the amount of gas or electricity consumed (to zero!) but actually brightens white clothes and keeps excess humidity out of the house. which is measured according to federal test procedures. The most common air conditioning system uses a compressor cycle (similar to the one used by a refrigerator) to transfer heat from your house to the outdoors. Dry clothes outside whenever possible. provided you know your electric rate (your Minnesota Power bill provides this information) and average number of hours you will be using it. Cooling and Air Conditioner Tips • • • • • Close windows early on hot days and open them only in the evening. Owning and operating a new appliance—even if you paid cash for it when you purchased it—is like buying on an installment plan. The higher the EER. EER is computed by dividing the number of Btu per hour by the watts of power used. Clean the vent hood on a regular basis. If you can’t make your home comfortable without air conditioning: – Set thermostat at 78 degrees or higher. Don’t mix weights of materials. A room air conditioner’s efficiency is expressed as EER (Energy Efficiency Ratio) or SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio). Proper sizing for the room is extremely important. – Turn off the appliance when you’re away for several hours. Close drapes during the day. refrigerator/freezer—19 years The long life of a modern. Room air conditioners come in a variety of styles and cooling capacities. One that’s too large will not lower the humidity enough to prevent the cold. and may not be able to withstand the heat from the dryer.Chapter 6 Appliances smooth metal ducting as possible. air conditioners use energy to take heat away. A flexible vinyl duct may restrict air flow. The energy label will also show the unit’s cooling capacity and how it compares in efficiency to other models of similar capacity.

The line scale on the label shows how the appliance compares in energy efficiency with other models on the market of comparable size and type. Studying the labels and selecting the model just right for you can help you save money because many energy-efficient products will cost less to operate over the long run. To find out more about ENERGY STAR appliances. look for the yellow and black labels. Federal law requires that the label be attached to the following major appliances: clothes washers. The large number gives the yearly energy cost in dollars. and capacity. the table shows what the energy costs are for various hours of use. even though their initial purchase price may be somewhat higher. They allow you to compare the energy costs of similar models. • area.Chapter 6 Appliances To help find the most efficient model the next time you shop for a major appliance. the standard energy price may be different from the price in our Minnesota Power • • • • • • 20 . For room air conditioners. This is based on estimated hours of use per year and a standard energy price. You will see a range of lowest to highest. the large number is not dollars but. rather. The standard energy price is the average for the entire country. ask for the manufacturer’s fact sheets. The labels you see in different stores may have been printed at different times and thus may use different standard energy prices. For dishwashers and clothes washers. a product must meet strict energy efficiency guidelines set by the U. Labels on furnaces provide only general information and some simple tips on keeping energy consumption down. A sample EnergyGuide label is shown here. SEER. For more information on the appliances. We encourage you to replace older appliances with ENERGY STAR® labeled models for super energy savings. and HSPF and SEER respectively). Also. Therefore. Department of Energy. and heat pumps. model number. • For example. and water heaters. For room air conditioners. energy efficiency ratings (EER. Each label provides the following information: • • All labels tell the manufacturer. type of appliance. visit the Web site: www. heat pumps. and it changes over time as energy prices go up or down. The ranges provided are not updated regularly and are often not accurate. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. freezers. the more efficient the equipment. The higher these ratings. dishwashers.energystar. The yearly cost table allows you to estimate the yearly operating cost based on your local electric or gas rates. For an appliance to receive the ENERGY STAR label. the table shows what the costs are depending on whether you heat your water with gas or electricity and how many loads you wash per week. room and central air conditioners.S.gov. Using ENERGY STAR appliances in your home will save you hundreds of dollars in energy costs over the life of the unit. EnergyGuides provide specific information about yearly energy costs and/or equipment efficiency. refrigerators. refrigerator/freezers. Find out how much you pay per kilowatt-hour of electricity (see your Minnesota Power bill) or per therm of natural gas. it is best to find out your actual energy price when using the yearly cost table. furnaces. an ENERGY STAR labeled refrigerator uses just half the energy of a 10-year-old unit and a new highefficiency washing machine can cut energy use up to 70 percent. central air conditioners.

.00 1.00 11.16 3.28 7.5 kWh x 8.15 2. used 20 min. It isn’t difficult to do if you have the right information. an electric space heater with 1.64 4.96 1. Average Monthly kWh 9 83 12 20 500 450 100 16 95 152 42 233 55 100 147 45 26 3 22 60 360 720 Average Monthly Cost* $. ft. 18 cu. 18 cu.500 watts @ 16 hrs/day x 30 days *based on family of 4. All electric appliances have the “wattage” or “amperage” and “voltage” indicated somewhere on the unit (amps x volts = watts).36 18. frost-free) Other Kitchen Appliances Dishwasher (with heater unit) Toaster (used once a day) Coffee maker (one pot per day) Heating and Air Conditioning Oil burner (26–60 kWh.64 . ft. varies with weather conditions) Supplementary electric heaters e.. ft.08 . they use energy intermittently.. For example.. a month) Dryer (used 16 hrs. ft. the costs listed are based on the commonly used average of 8. The following figures give you a basis for estimating appliance operating costs. You can use this figure to determine your cost of operation. cu.00 36.72 6.24 1.. Because they turn off and on automatically. total frost-free) ENERGY STAR (side-by-side.60 Household Services Laundry Washer (used 12 hrs.g.. a month/$.0 cents. Your appliances and use patterns may vary somewhat.60 12. frost free) Refrigerator/freezer (side-by-side. 2 dr. Here’s how that figure is reached: 1. ft..500 watts costs 12 cents per hour to operate.450 watts. ft. 1. ft.60 40.500 watts @ 8 hrs/day x 30 days 1.40 8. total frost free) Freezer (15 cu.500 watts ÷ 1. frost-free) ENERGY STAR (15 cu.76 4. 100 kWh/person* Water heater (energy-efficient model) 50 kWh/tank plus addl. 2 dr.80 57.76 3.000 (watts per kWh) = 1..00 8. per kilowatt-hour.5 kWh 1. frost-free) ENERGY STAR (upright.0 cents per kilowatt-hour 21 . 100 kWh/person* Cooking and Refrigeration Range (for a family of 4) Microwave oven (1. so you may want to figure exactly what it costs to operate your appliances. Your average cost may be slightly lower or higher depending upon your usage and rate classification.. 2 dr. a day) Refrigerator/freezer (upright.30 per load) Iron (used 16 hrs. and ambient outside temperature) Freezer (15 cu.Chapter 6 Appliances Appliance Operating Costs The following costs are based on energy consumption of typical appliances and their average use.80 28. manual defrost) Refrigerator/freezer (upright. 18 cu. These estimates are based on Minnesota Power’s average residential cost of 8. manual defrost) (kWh varies with model.0 cents per kWh = 12 cents per hour Many electric appliances are thermostatically controlled. a month) Well pump (3/4 hp) Water heater (52 gallons) 100 kWh/tank plus addl.

and weather conditions) Central air conditioner Roof and gutter cable (usually 7 watts per ft. KILL A WATT P3 Volt Amp Watt Hz KWH Participating libraries are making the meters available for check-out—just like a library book.) Home Entertainment VCR/DVD (used 10 hrs.000 1. Great River Regional Library System. varies with weather conditions) Room air conditioner (depends on size. drills.) 8-room house (winter mos. a week) Personal computer—desktop with 17" CRT monitor (4 hours per day) Personal computer—laptop (4 hours per day) Television—conventional Television—LCD screen Television plasma screen Stereo system Other Appliances Power tools (saws.) Lawn light (dusk to dawn. multiply watts x hrs.44–37.. multiply watts x hrs. includes all maintenance and ownership costs) 2 36 6 21 42 126 9 3 4 100 14 25–60 143–464 20–100 50 60 80 35 9 . sanders.08 .12 2.24 . and give the user an idea of how much energy the appliance is using. These devices—about five inches by two-and-a-half inches in size—can monitor the electrical consumption of any 120-volt appliance.) Lighting (varies with daylight hours) 5-room house (winter mos.32 8.80 11.36 10.Chapter 6 Appliances Average Monthly kWh 100 300 670 Average Monthly Cost* 8.60 Household Services (continued) Furnace fan or circulator (50–100 kWh.80 .00 4. portable) Dehumidifier Auto engine heater (winter mos. so you can make informed decisions when purchasing or upgrading appliances—and help conserve energy.00 4.) Vacuum cleaner (used 1 hr. The goal is to provide a good idea of where your electric energy dollars are being spent.72 . 100 watt) Reddy Lite (100 watts.48 1.00 53. and Arrowhead Regional Library System) to make available to their patrons the Kill-A-Watt electric consumption meter.80 6.00–4.88 .) 6-room house (winter mos. and televisions..00 24.35 *based on family of 4.12 1.60–8. etc.0 cents per kilowatt-hour Measuring Your Appliance Operating Cost Minnesota Power has teamed up with 30 service territory libraries (Kitchigami Regional Library System. microwave ovens.16 2. such as refrigerators.40 2.68 3. flat rate. VA PF Hour 22 . Included in the meter’s carrying case is a worksheet to help you convert your energy usage into dollars. the costs listed are based on the commonly used average of 8. use. a week) Waterbed heater Electric blanket Humidifier (without heating element.

At the press of a button. 13. mnpower. Scale showing lowest and highest estimated operating costs for models with this size range. Cautions that the customer’s cost will not necessarily be the same as the cost figure given above.gov. EnergyGuide 1. Where the estimated annual cost of this particular model falls in comparison to all other models in this size range. the meter displays alternating readouts of total time the appliance has been plugged in and total energy used in kilowatt-hours. All model numbers are listed if the label applies to more than one model. simply plug the Kill-A-Watt meter into a regular 120-volt electrical outlet and then plug the appliance into the front of the meter. 9. Warning that it is unlawful to remove label. National average cost for electricity upon which the estimated annual energy cost figure is based.energystar. 14. 4. 3. These models represent different brands. All brands and models compared in the scale on this label fall within this capacity range. For a complete listing of appliance operating costs and energy and money-saving recommendations. 1 2 3 4 14 5 6 7 13 12 11 8 10 9 23 . Type of appliance and capacity.Chapter 6 Appliances To meter an electrical appliance. Estimated annual operating cost for the model in this size range that costs least to operate. 2. Instructions are included with the meter on how to determine an appliance’s monthly cost of operation. 10. 6. not just those of the company listed in the upper right-hand corner. Estimated annual operating cost for this model only. or go to www. 5. Estimated annual operating cost in this size range that costs most to operate. 7. 12.com and click on Power of One–One Home. 8. Name of manufacturer and model number of the appliance on which this label appears. Suggests that the customer ask salesperson or utility for local utility rates. A grid to help determine more closely the customer’s operating cost based on local utility rates and use habits. visit www. 11.

The principal product of an incandescent bulb. go to the lighting department of your nearest home-supply store and bask in the heat of the hundreds of incandescent bulbs in the fixtures on display!) While inefficient. in many respects. in fact. porches. The heat makes the filament glow white-hot and give off light. instead. Don’t worry. a CFL is virtually indistinguishable from an incandescent. their light can be directed fairly easily. Besides being much smaller. to provide as much light as a single 100-watt bulb. or four 40-watt bulbs. More than 90 percent of the electrical energy used in an incandescent bulb is dissipated as heat.00 $19. They can be dimmed and are compatible with all sorts of timers and sensors. They are lightweight and compact.00 $65. it takes two 60-watt bulbs. sewing and the like. 24 . You don’t turn green under modern CFLs. which help account for its continued widespread use: • • The bulbs themselves are inexpensive. is not light—but heat.00 • • • In places where you’ll continue to use incandescents. For example. the incandescent bulb that brought the lighting of America has changed little since its invention more than a hundred years ago. we have energy-saving alternatives to the old reliable incandescent bulb. the CFLs are warm in appearance and render colors almost as faithfully as incandescents. Because they have a “point source” (the tungsten filament). When in a fixture with a shade or lens. This makes it easy to adapt a fixture for the changing needs of the people in a household.00 $ .Chapter 7 Lighting Lighting The light bulb was the first electric device to be brought into many homes and. Less than 10 percent of the energy actually produces useful light. garages and so forth. One wattage bulb can be swapped for another in the same fixture. Today. and low-wattage bulbs in halls.00 $16. the incandescent bulb does have its redeeming features.50 $62. attics.50 $2. cooking. (To experience this phenomenon. their perception of fluorescent lighting has been influenced by experiences in the workplace. For many people. and hundreds of thousands of lighting fixtures have been manufactured over the years specifically to accommodate them. In effect. and just one option—the compact fluorescent light (CFL)—can save up to 75 percent of a household’s lighting costs. This is not to suggest that you should go out of your way to use the brightest bulb you can find. though. Cost of Lighting (based on 6 hrs/day) Incandescent Lighting (6 years) Initial Investment: 6 Year Operation: Replacement: Total Cost $.00 Savings over life of bulb = $46. We also have good reason for making the switch: Lighting can account for 6 to 10 percent of total electrical energy use in your home. An incandescent bulb has a tungsten filament that heats up as electric current passes along it. keep this in mind: Higher wattage bulbs are more efficient than lower wattage bulbs. incandescent bulbs are miniature furnaces— providing an expensive form of heating in winter and unwanted heat in summer. CFL Lighting (6 years) Initial Investment: 6 Year Operation: Replacement: Total Cost $3. The new compacts for household lighting differ in important respects from typical fluorescents used in commercial buildings.00 Here’s a look at the lighting choices that are available today: Incandescent Almost all lighting in the home today is supplied by incandescent bulbs. use highwattage bulbs for reading.

So compact fluorescents employ a ballast—a type of transformer—to boost the voltage and start the lamp. and a more durable filament. allowing for consumers to purchase a wide variety of energy-saving compact fluorescent bulbs at competitive prices. The spiral shape maximizes the area of the bulb. Consumers can now purchase 3-way and dimmable CFLs. At such a reasonable cost. and yellow bug lights. Parabolic Reflectors and Elliptical Reflectors Parabolic reflectors and elliptical reflectors use a design feature rather than exotic chemicals to achieve efficiency gains. giving the lamp brightness for a longer time. manufacturers offer a CFL that is encapsulate to create a light that looks more like a traditional bulb. chandelier lamps. walkway. Ionizing mercury gas requires a higher voltage than is delivered by ordinary household 120-volt current. The inside surfaces of a compact fluorescent are coated with a mix of phosphors—substances that glow when bombarded with ultraviolet light. or outdoors. consumers are finding more and more places to switch from their old incandescent bulbs to new. The tubes also can be circular. 25 . Contact your county or utility for recycling options. globe shapes. and covers on ceiling fixtures can even screw back over the popular “mini-twist” spiral compact fluorescent bulbs. more efficient compact fluorescent lights. Until recently the most popular compact fluorescent bulbs had a tubular shape.” while the incandescent is “resistive. A compact fluorescent is filled with mercury gas that is ionized by the electricity that passes through it. For more information on energy-efficient lighting you can visit Minnesota Power’s Web site at: www. which causes the bulbs to glow—or fluoresce.Chapter 7 Lighting Energy-Saving Lights Halogen Lamps Halogen incandescent technology was originally developed for car headlights.” A conductive device generates much less heat than a resistive device. These lamps have highly reflective surfaces that are molded to concentrate light on a sharply defined area. Halogen bulbs are about 10 percent more efficient than average incandescent bulbs. uses only about 10 percent of its energy to produce useful light. Here’s how the halogen light works: Iodine molecules are introduced into the glass capsule in a halogen bulb. The tungsten and iodine molecules combine chemically and return to the filament. These molecules intercept tungsten molecules. They can find compact fluorescent floodlights. Only about 70 percent of the energy that flows through a compact fluorescent is dissipated as heat. Thus the compact fluorescent can be three to four times as efficient as the incandescent. The incandescent. Halogen light is attractive. This regenerative quality of a halogen bulb results in fewer deposits on the inner wall of the bulb. There the high heat releases the iodine. mnpower. Reflector lights are particularly useful for directional lighting situations—for use in recessed and track lighting fixtures. That difference accounts for much of the compact fluorescent’s energy-saving performance. In the past. resembling the original (and now old fashioned) kitchen fluorescent. For these people. which break off the bulb’s filament as it wears down from high current flowing along it over time. reflector lamps. covered lamps. or garage entrance without extending to a neighbor’s yard. while about 30 percent produces useful light. making the length of the bulb comparable to incandescent bulbs. as less energy is needed to keep the lamp aglow once it has started. to light a porch. The spiral tube has since been introduced. A transformation in the light bulb market and competition amongst manufacturers has resulted in CFLs priced as low as $2 per bulb. the ballast limits the amount of current that flows through the lamp. The ionization generates ultraviolet light. CFLs must be recycled at the end of their use. Compact Fluorescent Lights (CFL) Fluorescent lights work on a different principle than incandescents. The compact fluorescent is essentially “conductive. Lamp shades fit nicely over the spiral shape. which excites the phosphors.com/powerofone. One of the downfalls of this shape was that they were substantially taller than an incandescent. nightlights. which is free to begin repeating the process. compared to a standard incandescent. you’ll recall. It is a bit whiter than most incandescent light and is frequently used to highlight retail displays. Mercury is necessary for the bulbs to work and is safely contained inside during use. The market for compact fluorescent light bulbs has taken off. some consumers still can’t get used to the different look. for example. Even with the spiral shape. candelabra lamps. buying a new CFL could cost anywhere between $12 and $20. Once the lamp is aglow.

as well as the overall amount of light it radiates. The lifetime of a compact fluorescent is 6.000–10.000 watt hours. one kWh costs an average residential customer about 8. As prices decrease.000 hours on average. 2. Lumens: Lumens is the technical term for describing the actual light output of a lamp. However. The chart on the following page shows savings obtained by replacing two 75-watt incandescents with two compact fluorescents—both on annual and product-lifetime basis. or 100 watt hours of electricity during 60 minutes. the impression of brightness a lamp gives can be created by the manner in which it diffuses light. the lamps are used in fixtures that are on for an average of four hours a day. The lamps last 6–10 times longer than incandescent bulbs. Kilowatt hour (kWh): A thousand watt hours make one kilowatt hour. Do note that. 3. which is 6 to 10 times the lifetime of most incandescents. in this example. so there are savings from not having to buy and replace bulbs as often. they use less electricity. Most important. These savings are realized more in convenience than dollars. There is a labor savings from not having to buy and install bulbs as often. while compact fluorescents cost between $2 and $6 each.0 cents. Because of their high initial cost. At Minnesota Power’s present rates. it helps to learn just a few lighting technology terms.200 lumens 1. Incandescents frequently cost less than a dollar each. but the convenience factor shouldn’t be overlooked—especially for hard-toreach fixtures and for homes in which elderly people live on their own. Watts (w): Watts are the traditional measure of power consumption. While lumens describe total light output. since most of us don’t hire workers to replace our light bulbs.Chapter 7 Lighting Calculating savings made by buying compact fluorescents Making Energy-Efficient Decisions in Home Lighting To fully understand the choices available in today’s homelighting marketplace.550 lumens 26 . The one area in which compact fluorescents haven’t compared favorably in the past with incandescents is in the purchase price.100 lumens 1.200 lumens 1. Efficiency of Common Lamps Lamp 25-watt incandescent 40-watt incandescent 60-watt incandescent 75-watt incandescent 100-watt incandescent 11-watt compact fluorescent 15-watt compact fluorescent 18-watt compact fluorescent 20-watt compact fluorescent 23-watt compact fluorescent Lumen Output 220 lumens 480 lumens 870 lumens 1.750 lumens 600 lumens 900 lumens 1. A 100-watt light bulb consumes 100 watts of power. or one kilowatt hour of electricity. they are generally a better choice for lighting your home. A 100-watt bulb burned for 10 hours uses 1. Compact fluorescents save three ways 1. A kWh is the billing unit of electricity that customers see. it will become more economical for consumers to change over completely from incandescent bulbs to compact fluorescent bulbs. because of their long life. compact fluorescents aren’t recommended for fixtures that aren’t used several hours a day.

and perhaps a location where characteristics such • • • Efficient Lighting Fixture This discussion so far has been about lighting fixtures found in a typical home. so consider placement and do not dispose of in the household trash. Compact fluorescent bulbs contain a trace amount of mercury.30 less *Based on 10. Here you have two further options: Fluorescents An increasing number of fixture manufacturers are making many different types of fixtures in fluorescent versions. Make sure the new lamps will fit your fixtures. wall sconces.) While compact fluorescents offer impressive savings. Edison medium. jelly jar. Most recycling centers accept compact fluorescent bulbs.80 6.Chapter 7 Lighting Comparison of Cost (Using two 75-watt incandescent bulbs and one 18-watt compact fluorescent and one 23-watt compact) 18-watt compact fluorescent and 23-watt compact fluorescent 41 watts 2.70 Energy Savings Guide Watts Lumens Lamp life kWh per year @ 4 hours a day Cost per year @ 8 cents per kWh Years of life Energy costs to operate lifetime of lamp* Other Factors to Consider Two 75-watt incandescents 150 watts 2. and they need to be installed by someone skilled at working with wiring. The price of a fixture can be two to six times the cost of a screw-in compact fluorescent. Standard compact fluorescents can’t be used with dimmer switches. A fixture change makes the most sense for a high-use location. they aren’t appropriate for every use in your home. This can be a fire hazard.000 hours longer 159 kWh less $11. These accept compact fluorescent lamps ranging in wattage from twintube 7-watt and 9-watt lamps to 32-watt circular lamps. When lamps burn out. and flood exterior lights are some commonly made and sold fluorescent fixtures.00 Difference 73% savings 10% gain 9. Consumers need to make sure they purchase a bulb specifically designed for a dimmable fixture. do have some advantages. Heat buildup can cause the lamps to fail prematurely. it costs only a few dollars to replace them.12 years longer $76. Important factors to consider in deciding where to place compact fluorescents are: • Compact fluorescents are often longer and wider than most incandescents.52 0.060 hours per year. the ballast will last for virtually the lifetime of the fixture—a decade or more.000 hours 219 kWh $17. in completely new fixtures. Some compact fluorescents should not be used in unventilated fixtures. Ceiling drums.650 lumens 10.13 per year savings 6. These fixtures have sockets that accept only the traditional lightbulb base known as the 27 .400 lumens 1.000 hours use (24-hour per day use is 8.000 hours 60 kWh $4.68 year $105. In addition. they are specifically designed for compact fluorescent lamps and won’t overheat. with ballasts incorporated into the fixtures. for example. An option to installing a standard screw-in compact fluorescent with an adapter is to replace an entire fixture. Hard-wired compact fluorescents. Unlike standard fixtures.8 years $28.

Consider installing track or recessed lights. In densely populated neighborhoods. high-pressure sodium lighting might make excellent sense. With compact fluorescents. Lighting the Future The technologies of high-efficient lighting have changed dramatically. but electricity savings should offset the loss. many new LED products are entering the marketplace for a wide range of uses in interior and exterior applications. turn the light off. family room and exterior locations are good candidates for fixture retrofits. Reduce background light and rely more on task lighting. require ballasts. Concentrate the light just where you need it. When buying lights. LED (light emitting diodes) lighting is the next generation of high efficient lighting. In more remote areas. Compact fluorescents are arriving in new configurations that include both more glass (which means more light) and more compact designs.) Keep fixtures and lamp shades clean. A single skylight or properly positioned window delivers more light than all the bulbs you can buy. Many of the LED light products are rated for a 50. Get the most lumens for your watts. check the package for information about lamp lifetime and the lumens produced in contrast with the watts consumed. High-pressure sodiums. Disregard the common myth that it costs more to turn lights off and on than just leaving them on when you leave a room. Tips • Turn off lights when you leave the room. Dust and dirt restrict light output from lamps. it wouldn’t be a popular choice. The sun comes on each morning and never sends you a bill. (Frequent off/on cycling will shorten the lamp’s lifetime. • 28 . because of brightness and intensity. cold-weather use. This lighting is extremely efficient. Microprocessors are being developed for use in compact fluorescent adapters to produce improved efficacy. Currently found in low wattage applications like holiday lighting and exterior walkway lighting. Stay tuned and check in regularly with Minnesota Power’s Power of One® Web site to learn more ways to save energy and benefit the environment. perhaps where long driveways or walkways need to be lighted. Further improvements are expected. like fluorescents. • • • Use natural daylight whenever possible. instant start.Chapter 7 Lighting as a pause before lighting aren’t a significant inconvenience. the rule of thumb is that any time you are leaving for more than 10 minutes. on the order of up to 140 lumens delivered for each watt consumed. High-pressure sodium lights High-pressure sodium lights are primarily identified with commercial and industrial projects. Lights in the kitchen. and use with dimming switches. They take several minutes to light and are appropriate only where turning on is restricted to once or twice a day.000-hour life.

and ask for a WindSense brochure. Solar Electric Rebates Minnesota Power customers can receive a rebate for installing a grid-connected solar photovoltaic (PV) electric system.mn.com/powerofone/renewableenergy/windsense/subscribe. you may buy as many or as few blocks of 100 kilowatt-hours of wind energy as you’d like.000–$20. customers must qualify for the State of Minnesota Solar Electric Rebate Program (www. if you decide to choose wind power.mnpower. Minnesota Power is purchasing half the output of three new wind generators owned by Great River Energy at Chandler Hills Wind Farm in southwestern Minnesota.htm) Subscription Form: (www. air and water. and you choose to utilize wind power for all your electricity needs. If you use 700 kilowatt-hours of electricity per month (typical household use). up to a maximum of 20 blocks. visit the Northern Minnesota Renewable Energy Center (www.Chapter 8 Renewable Energy Renewable Energy (Solar and Wind) Solar Energy with SolarSense Minnesota Power’s SolarSense rebate program can help customers generate some of their electricity from the sun. where it’s mixed with electricity from all the other regional sources. Learn more about electricity produced by the wind: Frequently Asked Questions: (www. 2824. For almost 100 years. 2824.com/powerofone/renewableenergy/windsense/faq.mnpower.com/ powerofone/renewable-energy/windsense/faq.000 rebate for up to 10 kilowatts of grid connected solar energy ($2. western coal.us/mn). Solar electric systems help conserve our natural resources and protect the environment. We sell wind generated electric energy in 100 kilowatt-hour (kWh) blocks. As a result.pdf) The cost to produce wind energy is higher than the cost of producing electricity from coal or hydropower.00 $7.000 per kilowatt rebate up to maximum of $4.mnrenewables. It includes a postage-paid subscription agreement for you to fill out and WindSense Through Minnesota Power’s renewable wind energy program.00 $17.50 $15.50 per 100-kilowatt-hour block per month. See MP Solar Electric Rebate Program (www. The choice is yours. Minnesota Power has produced your electricity primarily from two energy sources: low sulfur. Examples 1 block of 100 kWh 2 blocks of 100 kWh 3 blocks of 100 kWh 4 blocks of 100 kWh 5 blocks of 100 kWh 6 blocks of 100 kWh 7 blocks of 100 kWh $2. To find out more about renewable energy projects.000 from Minnesota Power.50 per unit) to cover the additional cost of acquiring this renewable resource.htm) To purchase electricity produced by the wind. by financially supporting renewable wind energy.00 $12. So. business or industry generates a portion of your monthly electricity needs from solar energy.mnpower.mnpower. you can call 722-5642.50 $5. wind energy provided under this program will include a small surcharge ($2. To be eligible for the MP rebate.org). 3. A $2.state. That’s not physically possible. Programs like this one exemplify Minnesota Power’s commitment to being responsible corporate citizens dedicated to reducing environmental impacts and encouraging conservation of our land. 29 .50 per month. However. you would pay an additional charge of $2. The state program provides an additional $1. However.50 2. ext.000 per kilowatt).com) for more information. Rebates are limited to one per customer and are subject to availability of funding. A PV electric system installed on a home. or 1-800-228-4966 (Minnesota only). Through the terms of a 15-year agreement. Incentives 1. FAQs: (www. residential and small commercial customers can support the purchase of electric energy that has been produced by the wind.50 $10. your electric bill would be an additional $17. ext. you’ll support the growth of wind generation in the state. We don’t want you to think we can direct each electron from the wind turbine to your meter. Wind power flows into the power grid. and renewable hydropower.

is more cost-effective than installing a solar electric or wind system. 30 .Chapter 8 Renewable Energy return. or you can print the subscription agreement on-line and mail it in.mnpower. and to learn more about how you use energy in your home. Visit our Web site for tools and information at www. If you need help determining which improvements to make. such as adding new insulation. you may also request an in-home electric use analysis. Make Energy Improvements First Energy-efficiency improvements on your home or business. 2909. com/powerofone or call 1-800-228-4966 (Minnesota only). ext. Please allow at least six weeks for your WindSense subscription to be noted on your bill. upgrading heating systems. and caulking and weather stripping. We encourage customers to reduce energy consumption by making energy-saving improvements first.

Vapor Barrier A moisture-impervious layer applied to the surface enclosing a humid space to prevent moisture penetration. equal to the amount of a single candle. Infiltration The movement into and out of a home through intended and/or unintended openings in the envelope (in walls. and the better the insulating performance. Ventilation The process of supplying or removing air by natural or mechanical means to or from any space. divide by 1. The basic unit of electrical power is the watt. even if the inside air is warm. Degree Days The number of degrees difference from 65 degrees Fahrenheit each day. kWh Kilowatt-hours. etc. and one kilowatt-hour is a result of one kilowatt being used for one hour. This is how the sun heats the earth. The AFUE indicates what percentage of the energy in the fuel is converted to usable heat (input heat versus output heat) over the course of the heating season. ultraviolet. Drafts are another form of convection. openings around light fixtures. through heat waves (infrared. whether above (Cooling Degree Days) or below (Heating Degree Days). To calculate kilowatt-hours. Efficacy The ratio of the number of lumens given off to the number of watts consumed. Relative Humidity The ratio of the amount of water vapor in the air to the amount it could potentially hold at the same temperature.Glossary AFUE The Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency. The adage “heat rises” actually refers to hot air convecting upwards. and some newer units have achieved SEERs as high as 15. Radiative heat transfer makes you feel cold standing in front of a cold window. the unit of electricity on which residential billing is based. from one separate body to another. electrical sockets. a unit of heat commonly used when discussing heating and cooling systems. Envelope The protective shell of a building that separates the outside environment from the inside environment.). the greater the resistance to heat flow. and the greater the insulating value. The higher a material’s R-value. Door Sweep A device attached to the base of the door used to seal the crack along the bottom of a door by dragging a flexible strip against the threshold. SEERs of 8 to 10 are good. Caulking Pliable materials used to reduce the passage of air and moisture by filling small gaps. Life-time Savings A method of determining the cost of an appliance by including costs of purchase. Warm Edge Windows A description of a window that insulates effectively at its glass edges. Conduction The flow of heat through a material. a rating method developed by the U.000 to convert to kilowatts. Also called heat-reflective coated glass. and visible). A low-E coating on a window reflects radiant heat back to its source—the indoors in winter. It is expressed in units of hr-Ft sq-F/Btu. Watt Unit of power consumption rating for appliances and lighting (the product of volts x amps). Btu The British thermal unit. Lumens Visible light output. Air Bypass Leakage points where heated air escapes from the house. Manufacturers and engineers commonly use the R-value to describe the rate of non-solar heat loss or gain through a given material. Your body is radiating heat to the cold window surface. One molecule transfers heat to the molecules next to it. R-Value A measure of resistance of a material or assembly to heat flow. cracks around windows and doors. operation.S. The lower the emissivity. and disposal of the appliance. maintenance. Generally.000 watts. . or roughly the amount of heat generated by a single kitchen match burning completely. pipes. the outdoors in summer. the days are added together for the entire heating or cooling season. A rating of 10 or better is considered to be high efficiency. you determine total wattage. Weatherstripping Narrow strips of material placed over or in movable joints of windows and doors to reduce the passage of air and moisture. Thermally separated frames help create warm edges. Department of Energy. Radiation The transfer of heat. like wood. SEER The Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio is the total cooling output of the air conditioner or heat pump in Btu divided by the total electrical energy input in watt-hour during the same period. A unit of measure for the flow of light. Low-E Windows Window panes with low-emmissivity coating. the higher the R-value. and multiply by the number of hours of use. Convection The flow of heat contained in a gas or liquid. lm/W. One kilowatt is equal to 1. One Btu is the amount of heat required to raise the temperature of one pound of water one degree Fahrenheit. not just at the center.

MP09 .com 1-800-228-4966 (Minnesota only) 218-722-2641 Printed on recycled paper.mnpower.30 West Superior Street Duluth. Minnesota 55802 www.

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