Save Your Energy: Tips For Cutting Down Without Cracking Up

 By: Lauren Spencer
Recently, the state of California has rolled out their Energy Upgrade California program. Designed to encourage water efficiency and energy conservation in single/multi-family homes and commercial buildings, the program is getting local support in Santa Cruz from the Ecology Action Climate Group.

Energy Upgrade California aims to "lower your energy use, conserve water and natural resources, and make your home healthier and more comfortable". There are more than 50 rebates and incentives offered by Energy Upgrade California that apply specifically to residents of Santa Cruz County. A wide variety of programs, including everything from rebates for installing qualified air conditioning units to tax credit for implementing wind turbines, are available. This could be a great opportunity if you need to retrofit your home to save power and money, especially if you're thinking of selling it.

Even if you're not in the market for a new washer/dryer or you can't afford a new HVAC or heat pump system, there are still things you can do to cut down your living costs as well as your energy consumption. Home energy evaluations are free and can help you discover hidden energy and money leeches in your home. Just fill out the mail-in analysis and energy usage experts will make recommendations to improve your energy efficiency. The results may surprise you.

An easy home improvement that will save your money as well as your sanity is to fix a leaky faucet. Did you know that a leaky faucet could be wasting up to 200 gallons of water each month? If you're not very handy, there are many tutorials online for fixing a leaky faucet. To save even more water, many homeowners are installing aerators, which mix air into the water, cutting down the amount you use without affecting the water pressure. Clothing dryers also take up a surprising amount of energy. To limit energy consumption, consider hanging clothes to dry on warmer days. Another thing to remember is that lint gets stuck in the dryer vents, so having a duct-cleaning service come once a year is worthwhile.

Those are just a few suggestions to get you thinking about how you can improve your energy efficiency. A quick internet search will reveal plenty more tips, as well as information on energy-saving rebates and incentives in Santa Cruz. Not only is a conservative attitude toward energy good for the environment, it's also good for the wallet.
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