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Published: Thursday, 7/17/2008

Keep Your Cool And Save Energy

(NAPS) When it comes to conserving energy, many people think that transportation is the most energy-guzzling sector, but it s not. Buildings are.

Accounting for 40 percent of energy use in the U.S., buildings represent a significant potential for reducing energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions, according to the Atlanta-based American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE).

While most people can t directly affect commercial energy use, many can take steps at home to reduce their energy consumption during the warmer months.

Dial up. During the day, set the air-conditioning thermostat at 76 degrees or above, and move it a few degrees higher at night.

Mind the ventilation. Use kitchen, bath and other ventilating fans wisely. Install a timer switch to limit the time an exhaust fan is on.

Cover up. In warmer months, close the drapes or shades on the east, south and west windows during the day to prevent the sun s energy from heating the room. The shade or drapery material should be reflective on the side facing the window.

Duct, duct, loose? Have air ducts checked for leaks and holes. If you use duct tape to repair and seal ducts, use tape with the Underwriters Lab logo so it doesn t degrade, crack or lose its bond with age.

Get some shade. Shading from overhangs, awnings, exterior shades, shade screens and foliage can reduce heat entering the house, especially on east and west windows. Make sure landscaping doesn t block the airflow to the outdoor air-conditioning unit.

Clean up. Clean or change furnace filters every one to two months and have the system maintained according to manufacturer s instructions. Dirty filters, coils and fans reduce airflow, which decreases performance.

Insulate. Adding insulation to your attic is the easiest, least expensive way to increase insulation. Insulation can be blown into wall cavities, especially in older homes. If siding is to be replaced, add a layer of exterior insulation.

Keep your cool. Caulk, install weather stripping or use spray-in foams around windows and doors, on exterior walls or between cooled and unconditioned spaces such as garages, basements and crawl spaces.

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