This page contains information on how to make your home more energy efficient. For information on making your worship facilities more energy efficient, please click this link.
No matter how large or small your budget is, you can make significant
gains in energy efficiency. For only a few dollars, you can swap out
your old light bulbs for more energy efficient compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs). Our
25 Steps Under 25 Dollars
guide provides other simple steps you can take without breaking the bank.
Of course, you may want to consider steps with larger upfront costs,
such as solar or geo-thermal. These options have high yield in the
long-term, but are clearly not feasible for everyone. Regardless of
your budget, most agree that you should begin with the
“low-hanging fruit”—the things you can do right away
that will start saving you money. Then you can move on to more complex
A good first step is contacting your energy provider.
Most customers in the state of Iowa are eligible for free home energy
audits from their chief heat provider. As a part of these audits, a
representative from the utility company comes to your home to assess
areas of possible improvement. The audits often make you eligible for
rebates on improvements such as new windows, appliances, insulation,
etc. In addition, most utilities will provide free CFLs when they visit.
Replace incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent lamps
Convert exterior lighting to high-pressure sodium or metal halide lighting
Upgrade fluorescent fixtures with T-8 fluorescent lamps and electronic ballasts
Remove or disconnect unnecessary lights
Lower light levels where appropriate, such as around computer monitors
Install timers or photocells on outside lights
Water Use and Water Heating
Install a water heater insulating blanket and wrap the first 3 to 6 feet of hot water supply pipe with pipe insulation
Install faucet aerators and efficient showerheads
Select native or other low-water plants for landscaping
Find and fix leaks
Repair doors and seals so they close tightly
Make sure fans and equipment are not obstructed
Combine refrigerated goods and disconnect unneeded refrigerators
Install weather stripping, caulking, or seals on openings that create drafts
Add or repair insulation to create a continuous blanket around building
Heating and Cooling Systems
Clean and replace filters regularly
Set back your heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning
(HVAC) systems when the building is unoccupied. This includes setting
the fans to “auto” rather than “on”
Repair leaks in system components such as pipes, steam traps, and couplings
Make sure radiators, convectors, air intakes, and air diffusers are not obstructed so that air can flow freely
Reduce your water heater settings to the minimum required temperature
Turn down water heater thermostat to 120°F
Turn off lights when leaving a room
Set thermostats to 68 to 70°F in winter when
you’re home, and down to 62°F when you go to bed or when
you’re away. Set thermostats to 76 to 78°F when home and
82°F when not home when running the air conditioner in the summer
(Programmable thermostats do this automatically—see below)
Use energy-saving settings on washing machines, clothes dryers, dishwashers, and refrigerators.
Don’t waste water, hot or cold, inside or outside your home
Clean your refrigerator’s or freezer’s condenser coils once a year
Air-dry your clothes outdoors
Close heating vents in unused rooms
Repair leaky faucets and toilets (5 percent of water “use” is leakage)
Close drapes (and windows) during sunny summer days and after sunset in the winter
Remove underused appliances like garage refrigerators from service and have them recycled.
Remove halogen torchieres from service
Simple and Inexpensive
Install a water-saving 2.5-gallon-per-minute showerhead ($15)
Install water-efficient faucet heads for your kitchen and bathroom sinks ($2 each)
Install a programmable thermostat ($26)
In the attic and basement, plug the air leaks a cat could crawl through, and replace and reputty broken window panes (about $20)
Clean or change the air filter on your warm-air heating
system during winter and on air conditioning units in the summer
Install an R-7 or R-11 water heater wrap ($12)
Insulate the first six feet of hot and inlet cold water pipes ($6)
Install a compact fluorescent light bulb in the fixture you use the most ($15)
Measures with 1 to 3 Year Payback
Get a comprehensive energy audit, including a blower door test, to identify sources of air infiltration.
Caulk and weatherize all leaks identified by the test.
Start with the attic and basement first (especially around plumbing and
electrical penetrations, and around the framing that rests on the
foundation), then weatherize windows and doors.
Seal and insulate warm-air heating (or cooling) ducts
Have heating and cooling systems tuned up every year or two
Install additional faucet aerators, efficient showerheads, and programmable thermostats
Make insulating shades for your windows, or add
insulating storm windows (or, in a southern climate, shade sunny
windows or add solar gain control films)
Insulate hot water pipes in unheated basements or crawlspaces
Replace failed appliances with Energy Star models at little incremental cost
High Investment, High Yield
insulate inside rim joist and down the foundation wall to below
frostline to R-10. Remember to caulk the rim joist and sill areas first.
Basement: insulate the ceiling above crawlspaces or
unheated basements to at least R-19 in cold climates. If your basement
is heated, insulate the inside of basement walls to R-10 . Basement or
foundation insulation is usually not needed in hot climates. You should
install a ground vapor retarder if none is present.
Attic: increase attic insulation to R-38.
Walls: adding wall insulation is more difficult and
expensive, but may be cost-effective if your house is uncomfortable and
if you have empty wall cavities. Installing insulation at high density
will also greatly reduce air leakage.
Install more compact fluorescent bulbs. Put them in your
most frequently used fixtures, including those outdoors. (2 or more
hours of use per day)
Replace exterior incandescent lights with compact
fluorescents and put them on a timer or motion sensor if they’re
on more than a couple of hours a night.
Convert to solar water heating, and perhaps also supplementary solar space heating.
Upgrade your water heater, furnace, boiler, air
conditioners, and refrigerator to more efficient models (refer to
Energy Star). Newer units are far more efficient. Upgrading is often
cost-effective, and definitely so if you need to replace failing units
anyway. Also, if you’ve weatherized and insulated, you’ll
be able to downsize the heating and cooling system. If the house is
tight, use only seal combustion appliances. If the air handler will be
used for ventilation or even when the furnace run time will be long,
chose an ECM.
Upgrade to super insulating or at least low-emissivity
windows in cold climates, or low solar transmittance windows in hot
climates, if replacement is needed.
Replace high-flow toilets with modern water-efficient toilets that use 50–80 percent less water.
Install awnings or build removable trellises over windows that overheat your home in the summer.
Plant a tree to shade your largest west window in
summer. You won’t save any money for years, but you’ll get
an A+ for long-range vision.
“Muslim Green Guide for Reducing Climate Change,” by the Islamic Foundation for Ecology and Environmental Sciences