Household Energy Efficiency

Home Energy Briefs (HEBs)

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RMI's Home Energy Briefs (HEBs) are a series of nine practical guides describing what the average homeowner can do to save energy. Primary funding for this project was provided by Stonyfield Farm (www.stonyfield.com). Additional funding was provided by the National Association of Realtors (www.realtor.org), the Durst Organization (www.durst.org), and Deborah Reich.

Rocky Mountain Institute's Home Energy Briefs
 

E04-11, Home Energy Brief #1, Building Envelope (PDF-260k)
On average, a typical family can spend as much as $680 per year to heat and cool its home. This Brief explains why this expense is not necessary, even in extreme climates, and can be reduced by up to 50 percent through investment in building envelope improvements such as sealing air leaks, adding adequate insulation, and upgrading window features (03 December 2004).


E04-12, Home Energy Brief #2, Lighting (PDF-200k)
There are many lighting designs and technologies available today that can not only meet all your lighting needs, but can do so using less electricity. This Brief details a few steps to make your home lighting more energy efficient while maintaining and improving lighting quality (03 December 2004).


E04-13, Home Energy Brief #3, Space Cooling (PDF-248k)
Space cooling typically accounts for 13 percent of total energy use, costing homeowners an average $197 per year. A well-insulated and tightly sealed home that uses the natural movement of heat and air to maintain comfortable indoor temperatures can reduce cooling costs by up to 50 percent while also saving on heating bills. This Brief outlines how to first minimize the amount of heat that enters and is generated inside the home, and then, if additional cooling is still needed, take steps to increase the efficiency of cooling equipment and/or buy new, more efficient equipment (03 December 2004).


E04-14, Home Energy Brief #4, Space Heating (PDF-235k)
Space heating costs the average homeowner $480 per year and accounts for about 32 percent of the total energy bill. This Brief details how a well-insulated, tightly constructed home can require little supplementary heating, and how retrofit measures that minimize heat loss can reduce heating requirements even in old, leaky homes (10 January 2006).


E04-15, Home Energy Brief #5, Water Heating (PDF-160k)
Water heating accounts for approximately 19 percent of total home energy use and costs an average household over $300 a year. This Brief outlines the many things you can do to cut your water heating costs, including using hot water more efficiently, switching to water-efficient shower and faucet fixtures, and making a few simple adjustments to your existing heater (17 April 2006).


E04-16, Home Energy Brief #6, Cleaning Appliances (PDF-150k)
Dishwashers, clothes washers, and dryers are among the most energy-intensive appliances in the home, costing the average household about $150 annually to power them. This Brief points out efficient models that are available today and that can actually produce cleaner clothes and dishes while using less energy and water (03 December 2004).


E04-17, Home Energy Brief #7, Electronics (PDF-170k)
Home office equipment, audio and video systems, and miscellaneous electronics consume almost 20 percent of all electricity used inside the average home and can cost as much as $175 per year to operate. This Brief shows that while buying more efficient electronic devices can save some of this energy and money, changing how you use the equipment is more effective (03 December 2004).


E04-18, Home Energy Brief #8, Kitchen Appliances (PDF-160k)
Having an energy efficient kitchen means understanding the energy consumption of the appliances in your kitchen, the energy life cycle of the food that comes into it, and all of the wastes that leave it. No matter what your lifestyle is, there are numerous energy efficient practices that you should consider. The options in this Brief range from locating your refrigerator away from heat sources, to sizing appliances to match the job to be done, to considering your food disposal habits (03 December 2004).


E04-19, Home Energy Brief #9, Whole System Design (PDF-200k)
This Brief introduces the powerful tool of whole system design within the context of the building envelope—introducing the synergies that exist between thermal mass, windows, and other components of passive solar design. Whole system or integrated building design actively considers the interconnections between systems, occupants, and the environment, and uses these connections to develop single solutions to multiple problems (shelter, energy savings, aesthetics, natural daylight, indoor environmental quality, affordability, etc.) (17 April 2006).