Thermostat Settings for Conservation and $$ Savings in Home Energy


Reviewed and Revised on 11/12/2013

Nest thermostat


Closely managing your thermostat is an easy way to increase your energy and $$ savings.

  • In the summer, set the thermostat as high as you can while still maintaining comfort.
  • In the winter, set the thermostat as low as you can while still maintaining comfort.
  • If you have central air conditioning and heating, keep the fan switch on “auto.” The exception is for multistory homes where temperature stratification is a problem between the upper and

Insulating Knee Walls in Homes

Reviewed and Revised on 10/10/2013 


Illustration of knee wall

Knee walls are found in houses with finished attics and multiple ceiling heights. The knee wall is the short wall that reaches from the sloped ceiling to the floor, or connects the upper ceiling to the lower ceiling inside the attic. Not only are air leaks common in these areas, but they are frequently not insulated properly.

Insulation itself does not stop air flow. For wall insulation to do its job, …

Using Landscaping Shade to Reduce Home Energy Costs

Reviewed and Revised on 10/17/2013

The correct selection and placement of trees and plants can help reduce summer heat and allow for heat gain in the winter. Shading the roof of a house can reduce the inside temperature by as much as 8-10 degrees Fahrenheit. Deciduous trees (trees which shed leaves in winter) provide summer shade. When the leaves fall, they allow the warmth of the sun to enter the home during the cold winter weather. Landscaping can also provide

Compact Fluorescent Lighting — CFL

Reviewed and Revised on 11/13/2013

Photo of Compact Fluorescent Lamps/Lightbulbs

How much can I save by switching to Compact Fluorescent Lamps/Light bulbs?

On an average lighting represents 10-15% of a home’s electricity bill. Switching from incandescent light bulbs to compact fluorescent lamps/lightbulbs (CFLs) is the simplest way to save on this bill. 

A CFL bulb uses only 1/4th of the energy used in a incandescent bulb and last 10 times longer. It does cost about $2 or more in comparison to incandescent bulbs however, if …

Importance of Air Tight Construction in Providing a Continuous Air Barrier in New Homes

Reviewed and Revised on 11/13/2013


Construction gaps and resulting air leakages can increase heating and cooling costs, create comfort and moisture problems, draw in pollutants, reduce fire safety, and serve as an entry for rodents and insects. Windows, doors, and outside walls can contribute to air leakage, but the greatest losses occur in gaps and holes that are hidden from view and cause a continuous air exchange between the interior and the attic, crawl space, and outdoors.

Homes should have …

Types of Building Systems for New Home Construction

Reviewed and Revised on 10/29/2013

Below are brief descriptions of alternative building systems used in residential construction. Important energy related features are specifically mentioned.

Standard Framing. Most homes in the USA are wood framed with 2×4 lumber spaced 16 inches on center. Typical practices include using extra studs at corners to support wallboard, double top plates, uninsulated headers made from double 2×10 lumber over all windows, doors, and other traditional methods.

OVE/Advanced Framing. Optimum Value Engineering spaces and aligns floor, …

Understanding Air Flow in Homes for Energy Efficiency

Reviewed and Revised on 11/12/2013

Air tries to equalize between higher and lower air pressure areas. If there is a pathway (a gap) and a pressure difference, it will move through that pathway whether we want it or not. 

To be an effective air barrier or air flow retarder, a material must not only block airflow through it, it must also be installed in a way that eliminates even small gaps, be continuous all around the conditional space and …

Understanding Moisture and its Flow in Homes for Energy Efficiency

Reviewed and Revised on 11/12/2013

Water vapor is one of the many gases that makes up the air we breathe. A little water vapor is good; too much is trouble.

An important term to understand moisture issues in a home is Relative Humidity (RH). Relative humidity is a measure of how much water vapor is in the air compared to how much it could hold at a given temperature. 100% RH means the air can’t hold any more water

Exhaust Vents for Energy Efficient New Homes

Reviewed and Revised on 11/06/2013

Photo of a vent hood over a kitchen range 



Photo of bathroom exhaust vent

The purpose of an exhaust vent is

  • remove  moisture, odors, smoke, fumes, heat or steam, and airborne grease from the indoor environments of a home
  • protect the building interiors of the home
  • improve the indoor air quality for the home occupants

Remember, when air is exhausted out of a building, replacement air needs to come in. If this can’t happen, because

Proper Installation of Home Insulation for Energy Efficiency

Reviewed and Revised on 11/12/2013


Proper Installation of Home Insulation is very critical to ensure that the desired Home Energy Efficiency gets achieved.

Installation: Compressing (squeezing) of insulation erodes its R-value and should be always avoided. Batt and roll insulation should be slit and trimmed to fit around wiring, electrical boxes, etc. If using paper-faced batts, staple the paper on the ends, not inside, the studs. Insulation should be trimmed to fit into voids around rough openings, chimneys, etc. Even …