Energy efficiency is not just a current trend in environmentally sound and biophilic building design. The U.S. Department of Energy reports that up to 40% of the energy used for heating and cooling is wasted. Energy efficient buildings and homes are our future and will only become more important as the human population grows. Eco-friendly improvements and easy, practical solutions can help retain energy and ensure efficient building construction and renovations. Taking these simple steps below can save on not only energy, but can save money as well.

1. Replace light bulbs with halogen incandescent bulbs, compact fluorescent lights (CFLs), and light-emitting diode bulbs (LEDs) as they use about 50% less electricity and last up to 25 times longer than traditional bulbs.

2. Consider installing smart heating and cooling system or EnergyStar rated appliances to conserve energy and reduce spending.

3. Weatherize a building by sealing air leaks from cracks or openings around vents, windows, and doors.

4. Dirty air ducts can contribute to loss of energy, so regularly cleaning them helps use the system efficiently.

5. Insulate your buidling, piping and HVAC duct work to lower utility bills and conserve energy.

Insulation in particular can play a key role in lowering your utility bills through retaining heat during the winter and keeping heat out of your home during the summer. Properties that have energy leaks can generate high energy bills and make an HVAC system work harder to maintain the desired temperature. With proper insulation, however, you can alleviate these concerns. Besides walls, floors and ceilings, it’s important to properly insulate hot and cold water piping, mechanical systems and HVAC ducts with closed-cell, elastomeric foam insulation like ArmaFlex® which provides thermal efficiency along with the necessary prevention of condensation and water vapor transmission on cold water piping and air handling systems. Armacell’s closed-cell elastomeric foam insulation products are fiber-free, non-particulating, have low VOCs and have the added advantage of antimicrobial protection. Most of Armacell’s insulation products are GREENGUARD Gold Certified, the third-party standard designed to define low-emitting materials suitable for environments where people spend extensive amounts of time.

By following these five simple steps this year and beyond, you can help conserve natural resources and improve your energy efficiency, all while saving some green.

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