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Before you go shopping for new appliances or talk to a contractor about a new air conditioner, remember that it pays to do your homework first.
Buying energy-smart products may cost a little extra at the cash register, but they'll pay back the difference in energy savings in just a few years - or less.
Windows and doors
Any opening in the exterior of your home can increase your heating and cooling costs by as much as 15 percent, so it's important to choose windows and doors wisely.
In fact, if all residential windows in the United States were replaced with ENERGY STAR®-qualifying models, the nation's homeowners would save $134 billion in energy costs over the next 15 years!
Heating and air conditioning
You can increase your long-term energy savings by investing in a high-efficiency 92 percent AFUE furnace — for every dollar you spend on heating energy, 92 cents is put back into your home as warmed air.
A central air conditioner's efficiency is rated as the SEER, or seasonal energy efficiency ratio. A standard unit might be a 10.0 SEER; upgrading to a 12.0 SEER can reduce your cooling costs by 15 percent.
After heating and cooling, water heating is your home's next biggest energy user. A natural gas unit will be the most efficient choice.
You can save a significant amount on your water heating costs by upgrading to a high-efficiency model and choosing the right size for your family's needs.
If you'll be purchasing new appliances, remember that the purchase price doesn't equal the whole cost of ownership.
Choosing energy efficient models will go a long way in lowering the operating costs of your new home. Energy use can vary greatly, so be sure to check labels carefully.
Is it worth the effort? If just one in 10 homes used ENERGY STAR-qualified appliances, the environmental change would be like planting 1.7 million new acres of trees!
Instead of using energy-wasting standard incandescent bulbs, switch to compact fluorescent bulbs — they use 75 percent less energy, and last 10 times longer.
Cash in with money-saving rebates
Be sure to check out Alliant Energy's money-saving rebates and incentives. In many cases, the incentive amount can cover the cost of upgrading to a high-efficiency model.
Find an energy-smart dealer
You can find an energy-smart contractor or retailer by using our online Dealer Locator. These professionals participate in Alliant Energy's Energy Efficiency Dealer Network program.
They'll help you choose the right equipment for your needs, and they'll make energy efficiency a top priority.
More brochures and fact sheets:
PowerHouse: 101 Easy Ways to Save Energy [PDF]
PowerHouse: Lighting Your Home [PDF]
PowerHouse: Heating Your Water [PDF]
PowerHouse: Heating Your Home [PDF]
PowerHouse: Cooling Your Home [PDF]
PowerHouse: Choosing & Using Appliances [PDF]