(ARA) With spring in the air, many Americans are ready to breathe a sigh of relief at the thought of warmer weather and lower utility bills.
However, a newly released energy report paints a chillier picture. The U.S. Energy Information Administration released its Annual Energy Outlook 2006 (AEO2006) report, which evaluates and projects a wide range of trends and issues that could have major implications for U.S. energy markets through the year 2030, if Americans do not adopt more energy-efficient lifestyles.
One of the trends mentioned in the report notes that beginning this year, total energy consumption is projected to steadily increase every year through 2030. As case in point, energy prices jumped five percent in January according to the U.S. Labor Department's consumer price index.
A majority of consumer energy costs go toward home heating and fueling our vehicles. The Alliance to Save Energy estimates that today over 40 percent of Americans' energy bills goes toward home heating. Combine that with gasoline prices being 25 percent higher than last year and you have a formula for increased energy costs year-round.
In an effort to promote year-round energy efficiency, the Alliance to Save Energy web site, www.ase.org, offers consumers a variety of simple energy saving tips including:
- Turning down the thermostat by just one degree can reduce home heating energy costs by four percent, which can be between $30 and $60 a year, depending on the fuel being used to heat the home.
- Plug leaks or gaps in windows and doors with caulk or other materials.
- Installing proper insulation, especially in the attic and crawl spaces, can reduce household energy costs from $70 to $460 per year.
- Closing vents in unoccupied rooms and using small space heaters to heat occupied areas can save a significant amount of energy and money. There is usually about 80 percent of space that is not being used at any given time in the home.
- Set the water heater at 120 degrees.
- Use pipe insulation to insulate the first six to ten feet of the hot water supply pipe.
- Washing clothes in cold water can save households up to $63 a year.
- Using a programmable thermostat can help consumers reduce their home heating bills by $35 to $230 a year.
- Replacing the four most used bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs can save households about $195 over the lifetime of the bulbs.
- Purchase new heating and cooling equipment with the Energy Star label.
Rinnai Corporation, the world's largest gas appliance manufacturer, has been at the forefront of the energy conservation issue. Following passage last August by Congress of President Bush's Energy Bill, the company launched a Web site, www.tanklesstaxcredit.com, to educate consumers on ways in which they can benefit from a variety of tax credits for installing energy-efficient products in their homes such as tankless water heaters, windows, insulation, doors, roofs and heating and cooling equipment.
"We are committed to providing consumers with the education and resources needed to make individual, year-round, energy-smart decisions that will in turn change our country's course and provide for a safer, more secure tomorrow," says Ervin Cash, senior vice president of Rinnai North America. "Becoming energy efficient does not require making huge sacrifices, but it does involve each one of us doing our part by taking advantage of the energy efficient technologies available today."
Rinnai's tankless water heaters provide a never-ending supply of hot water while simultaneously reducing energy consumption and operating costs by up to 70 percent over standard storage tank water heaters. Unlike antiquated water tanks that heat and reheat water 24 hours a day, today's tankless water heaters only heat water when it senses a demand from an open hot water source. When the hot water tap is closed, the system automatically shuts off saving consumers money and energy since they don't have to pay to heat water that is not being used. And now, thanks to the Energy Bill, consumers can receive a one-time tax credit of $300 specifically toward the full purchase price of a high-efficiency tankless water heater such as those manufacturered by Rinnai.
Combining simple energy saving steps with high-efficiency products can equal year-round energy savings without compromising luxury or convenience in the home. For more information visit, www.foreverhotwater.com.