Tomorrow is Earth Day! To celebrate, we've created some tips to help you as you shop for more energy efficient home features or evaluate your current appliances and systems.
The kitchen from the 72QLV28563CH model by Clayton
As you consider how energy efficient your home is, knowing what various energy and efficiency ratings mean is the key to making a smart choice!
Many appliance manufacturers include an EnergyGuide label on their products. This label tells you about that appliance’s energy consumption.
Important information included on most EnergyGuide labels:
- The make, model and size of that appliance
- The estimated yearly operating cost
- The estimated yearly electricity consumption in kWh
These EnergyGuide labels vary slightly by appliance, but they are straightforward and let you compare the costs and energy consumption of appliances so you can be informed and make the smartest choice for your home. However, some systems and items in your home may include additional or alternative energy consumption information.
Air Conditioning Systems
Air conditioning systems are measured by their seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER) as well as their energy efficiency ratio (EER).
The SEER ratio is the cooling output divided by how much power the air conditioning system uses, so the higher the ratio, the more efficient the system! ENERGY STAR® certified central air conditioners must have a SEER ratio of at least 15.
The EER ratio tests the cooling output to power ratio as well, but is tested at higher temperatures and accounts for humidity. The minimum ratio for ENERGY STAR® certified central air conditioners is 12 or 12.5, depending on the type of system.
When you’re looking at the ratings, one is not necessarily more important than the other, so you should review both and consider what you can afford up front.
Windows and Doors
Entryway of the St.Croix model by Norris
You can look at a couple of factors when you research how efficient windows and doors are.
The U-Factor tells you how your window or door conducts non-solar heat flow. You’ll likely want to look for moderate to low U-Factors because that indicates the window or door is more energy efficient. The U-Factor could range from .2 to 1.2.
The solar heat gain coefficient is how much solar radiation your window or door lets in. This radiation then releases heat into your home.
The coefficient level that you should look for when choosing your windows and doors will depend on the climate in your area. Depending where you live, you may want a higher coefficient that lets you collect solar heat or a lower coefficient that lets less solar heat into your home.
The air leakage rating is the rate of air movement around your window or door, so you want a window or door with a lower leakage rating. However, air leakage can be hard to pinpoint because materials can expand, contract and settle with weather and time.
When you’re reviewing water heaters, you should look for its energy factor (EF) rating. The EF rating shows how efficient the system is at heating up your water. The higher the EF rating is, the more efficient the water heater is, and as you’re searching for an efficient water heater, keep in mind that the minimum rating for an ENERGY STAR® certified water heater is .67.
The efficiency of the water heater will vary by type of water heater, so remember that a good rating for a gas water heater will differ from what is considered a good rating for a heat pump.
Insulation’s ability to reduce the amount of heat transfer between your home and the outside world is measured by R-value.
A higher R-value means a lower heat transfer ability. Higher R-value usually means a higher insulation cost because the density and thickness of the insulation tend to rise. It makes sense that insulation material costs rise with the density of the material, but it can be worth investing in a higher, energy efficient R-value to lower your home’s heat transfer.
Knowing how to read different energy efficient ratings can help you make the smart choice when you’re trying to find the best energy efficient appliances, windows and more for your home! You can save natural resources and lower your energy costs by upgrading the systems in your home. Clayton even makes it easy with the Energy Smart Home package, which includes upgraded insulation, low-e windows and other energy efficient options.
ENERGY STAR and the ENERGY STAR mark are registered trademarks owned by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Topics Going Green