One of the first steps you should consider before upgrading your heating and cooling system is to reduce your load (i.e. how much heating and cooling you actually use). Reducing the load allows existing systems to operate less frequently and newer systems to be designed smaller, thereby lowering operating costs. Common load reduction strategies include:
- Installing energy-efficient windows such as ENERGY STAR qualified windows
- Upgrading lighting systems, Energy-efficient lighting systems emit less heat into conditioned space than older inefficient technology
- Selecting efficient office equipment and consumer electronics to reduce heat output.
- Controlling ventilation to improve occupant comfort and save energy.
- Keeping upstairs rooms cool with fans.
- Shut out the sun to keep your home or office cooler by closing drapes or blinds.
- Lighten up the interior: pale colors for walls can help reflect light and can reduce the number of lamps needed to light a room
- Seal door and window cracks
- Regularly replace heating and cooling filters
- Don’t leave the lights on
- Schedule maintenance on your home or office’s major systems to make sure they are running smoothly
Once you have addressed these areas, you can then make the most of your heating and cooling equipment dollars.