Reducing and Centralizing Wiring for a LEED Home

When Kimberly and Joe Hageman approached me to work on their Green Life Smart Life project, they told me their goal was to show how green lifestyles and digital lifestyles could happily coexist. Immediately, my mind focused on lighting control and HVAC control, which together account for around 90 percent of the energy consumption in an average home.

Leviton structured wiring boxes

Leviton structured wiring boxes

Traditionally, custom integrators have focused on the ease-of-use and convenience that lighting and HVAC control systems can provide. My thoughts turned to shifting the focus of these subsystems towards enabling energy-efficient operation of lights and climate control.

Kim and Joe agreed, but they wanted to go further: They wanted a green infrastructure, too.

Now here was something I’d never encountered. But it made me realize for the first time that installing a system in a green home isn’t started by making “green” product choices. It starts with the home systems’ design. It requires careful planning and coordination with the homeowner, the architect, the interior designer, and the other trades before a single wire is run.

With full knowledge that a possibly arduous path lay before us, the Hagemans and I set out to devise a green wiring solution.

These were new criteria that I hadn’t worked with before. However, if there’s one thing I’ve learned in the custom business, it’s that you need to be versatile, able to make changes on the fly and, most importantly, be willing to accommodate each project and its unique requirements. This was just another in a long line of curveballs I’d encountered throughout my career, and it’s always rewarding to put the barrel on the ball.

We examined our traditional solution approach, and determined the environmental impacts. This was a highly useful exercise in and of itself, because going forward now I’ll know what impact my most commonly used products and materials would have in a green installation.

We investigated “green” cabling, which uses halogen-free plastic jackets that are still not terribly earth-friendly, but a bit less hostile to the earth all the same. Turns out, the Europeans like it, but you can’t get it in America. Believe me, we looked, and no warehouse we could find carries it.

So our attention turned to another requirement: using as little cable as possible. That meant both fewer cables and the shortest possible runs.

“Fewer cables”, of course, runs counter to the time-honored custom integration strategy of installing more wire than is necessary in order to ostensibly future-proof a system (and to cover your bases in case an unexpected change in the installation arises after the cabling has already been installed). I was lucky in this instance; unlike many clients, Kim and Joe, not only no strangers to tech but also passionate about it, knew pretty well before construction started what they wanted in each room and location. We just ran whatever the expected hardware in each location would require, and nothing more.

Centralized wire runs

Centralized wire runs

We also had another trick up our sleeve: conduit. We ran Carlon® Resi-Gard® to our critical locations and just enough cable through the conduit as we thought we needed. And if we needed to run more cable later, we wouldn’t need to tear open the walls. We could just snake it through the conduit. Essentially, the conduit makes the system inherently future-proof and cuts down on unnecessary use of cable. Additionally, you’re not going to be in a position where you need to cut into drywall later to add wiring. An empty (or semi-empty) pipe is as good as it gets.

Which brings me to my next point about green wiring (and, in fact, any wiring job): Establish your cabling pathways as far ahead of actual construction as you can. In a green home, chances are your client will be thinking about these things further out, since every amount and type of material used in the home can positively or negatively impact its LEED® for Homes (or competitive equivalent) rating. The other tradespeople will appreciate it as well, and you can build more solid relationships and channels of communication with them.

This was especially key in the Green Life Smart Life house in terms of assuring the shortest possible cable runs. Because we were involved so early in the process, we got preferential treatment for locating the head-end of the system. After evaluating the placement of the entertainment systems, we figured out a spot in the basement that would be the shortest distance from all points. As a result, our racks are located directly below the main entertainment area, which is directly below the master bedroom and adjacent to the main utility room where all of the electrical boxes and lighting control system would be housed. Everything shares a common wall.

Usually, we’re the last ones in, we run our cables after all the other trades’ wiring, venting and pipes are installed, and we have to take what we can get in terms of placing our gear. In this case, however: paradise. Because we are professionals and try to be as courteous to the other trades as possible, we made sure our impact was manageable for the other trades.

Another happy circumstance from both a green and an interior design perspective is that we don’t have any local entertainment equipment aside from displays. We centralized content and control in our head-end equipment room. This cuts down on the cabling required and eliminates excess heat generated from typical AV equipment into a finished room (which has dual benefits since we are directing the heat into the generally cool, unfinished utility space and the living spaces do not have to compensate with cooling for the equipment heat).

Lutron lighting control panels, centralized to hub

Lutron lighting control panels, centralized to hub

I was intrigued to find that the most significant impact we were able to make on this project in its course toward a more sustainable guide, was in the planning.  I was truly amazed that when we tallied the completed wire runs, and compared it to both similarly sized homes and similarly sized projects with home control and entertainment systems, we reduced the amount of wire installed on the project by 52%. By thinking about how we could take the most conservative approach, the application of a well thought plan was the most powerful thing we could do.  I was inspired to learn more about the principles of “green” design.  The project itself exposed me to the application process for LEED® accreditation, and through it, the instrumentation and measurement of the gains realized by good design.  Myself, I’ve taken an interest in the process, and l am beginning to appreciate the value that could be held as a building and energy analyst. 

My involvement in the Green Life Smart Life project was a terrific experience because it allowed me to reexamine the way in which we make decisions and re-value the criteria on which our projects and process are based. It’s certainly affected our typical project. Going forward, what I learned on this project will inform all of my future installations—and not just the green ones. This was a highly rewarding exercise and I’m happy to share what I learned with the custom integration community. Our last step, we are going to submit this plan for a LEED-H Innovation and Design point. This has no precedent so it has to be evaluated, but we will let you know the findings.

By Jeff Mitchell, Robert Saglio Audio Video and Lead Integrator for Green Life Smart Life. Jeff is a CEDIA certified installer and a member of the CEA TechHome. He has been with Robert Saglio AV for more than ten years.  Follow Jeff on Twitter : @audiojeff

 

Selecting the best appliances for energy and water savings

Our appliances were delivered and as much care went into their selection as every other product in our Narragansett LEED house. In addition to considerations for style and performance, all of our appliances (with the exception of our stove because stoves are not rated) are top performing ENERGY STAR appliances.

As available appliances for the project will bear the ENERGY STAR label and assist us in maintaining the highest level of energy efficiency throughout the home. Additionally, the new Whirlpool Duet washer, which uses 74 percent less water and 80 percent less energy than traditional top load washers manufactured before 2004 and you can watch how it works in this video, will aid the project in its LEED-H for Gold certification quest by providing a point in the Innovation & Design category. And yes, we did pick the cranberry.

Our selections include:

Whirlpool Brand Resource Saver Dishwasher – Features the eco-friendly Resource Saver wash system and CEE Tier II recognition from the Consortium for Energy Efficiency ratings. We chose to have the custom cabinet panel installed to match.

Whirlpool Brand Duet Dryer–Uses up to 40% less energy with Eco Normal cycle when paired with a Duet washer.  A more precise set of heat and moisture detection sensors allows clothes to dry more efficiently. The Quick Refresh steam cycle tumbles 2 to 5 items, helping break down odors and relax wrinkles. Combined with the Duet washer, it is the brands most efficient laundry pair to date, providing $837 in energy and water savings over the first five years of use. Though dryer’s do not yet earn ENERGY STAR ratings, this dryer is top energy saver and when managed on the Control4 appliance module will only be allowed to run during non peak pricing hours to manage our cost per kwh budget.

KitchenAid Architect Series II Double Drawer Dishwasher – This ENERGY STAR dishwasher is able to wash 2 different loads independently or simultaneously and features 5 cycles for flexible washing options. We installed it right across from our kitchen wine bar which will be great when entertaining and keeping the glasses plentiful.

KitchenAid Architect Series II Refrigerator – The 48” main refrigerator provides the elegant aesthetics and functionality that my gourmet cook’s kitchen deserves.  This ENERGY STAR qualified refrigerator will be monitored on the Control4 appliance module for real time monitoring of energy consumption and load shedding from 1 – 4 AM daily for a projected annual energy savings of 12 percent of running costs. A second ENERGY STAR labeled Whirlpool French Door refrigerator, located in the home’s pantry, will also be monitored on the Control4 system.

As I watch our appliances get installed and I think about the months of planning and meetings we had, the product reviews I read, the color swatches I compared and the immense time I spent designing the kitchen and laundry room, I cannot tell you how muchI look froward to doing a load of wash adn running the dishwasher. Seriously.

posted by KDL | follow me on Twitter : newscaster

Blue is the New Green: Water Conservation in a LEED Home, Part 1 Inside

When we talk utilities, energy tops the list of resources people are looking to save. That electric bill and oil or gas bill crosses the mailbox every month, but water is quarterly in Narragansett and in some towns might only come once per year. If you’re on a well you may not ever think about it. But let me tell you; blue is the new green. Our water supply is not infinite.

The cost of water is expected to increase over 10% per year.   By the year 2025, if present water consumption patterns continue, 2 out of every 3 people on the planet will live in water stressed conditions as reported by the United Nations Environment Program.

We prioritized water as a resource to conserve when building our Narragansett LEED home as much as anything else.

Here’s the list from our home project of how we are conserving water:

1. Toilets – We installed 1.1 over 1.4 or more normal 1.6 gpf high efficiency toilets. That’s a savings of half a gallon of water for every flush. We have four family members and a full time babysitter at home every day.  We host family gatherings at our house and manage to have a revolving door of summer guests. Ashley practically lives with us enough that if I could carry her as a dependent I would.  With an average flush rate of 10,000 flushes per year,  we will save 23,800  gallons of water per year when compared to a 3.5 gallon toilet (pre-1992) or 8,200 gallons compared to a 1.6 gallon toilet?

2. Faucets: Whether in the kitchen or bath, we didn’t discriminate. Every faucet we have is 1.5 gpm. This is the lowest flow faucet you can buy today. All of our faucets meet the EPA WaterSense specification and come from Kohler.

3. Showerheads: Again, all products of Kohler and all meeting the EPA Water Sense requirements, every showerhead, including our outdoor shower are 1.75 gpm. They are engineered for maximum aeration so shower takers (of which I am not a huge fan) gloriously claim they maintain pressure without feeling like you are being sprayed by house or only getting that trickle of water which makes it impossible to get the soap out of your six year old’s tremendously thick hair.

4. Washing Machine: Everyone laughs at me about the fact that we are going for a LEED point for our washing machine but what can I say it saves water. The Whirlpool Duet front loading steam washer saves the most amount of water of any washing machine in its category. It provides more than a dozen settings so you can wash your clothes correcting and the machine figures out how much water you need. Now if only it put them in the dryer. It’s coming, just wait.

5. Dishwasher and Dishdrawers – Some people might accuse us of being wasteful because we have more than one dishwasher, but I completely disagree. Our dishwasher and dishdrawer combination is designed for the job at hand. If you’ve never had them, dishdrawers are amazing additions to your kitchen, easily concealed, compact, efficient and quiet, this is the second time we’ve installed Kitchen Aid dishdrawers in a home project. The beauty of them is how you can use them to conserve energy and water by washing full loads that are small. If I know the kids are only going to be eating at home for the day, then I can load the dishdrawer and not the big dishwasher. Instead of handwashing all our wine glasses after a big dinner party, they all go together in one dishdrawer. The new Whirlpool dishwasher will be our main family sized dishwasher for those cooking at home nights. Big enough to fit the days dishes plus the night’s cookware, and boasting an ENERGY STAR rating, it will handle anything our family throws at it.

This is an overview of what we’ve done inside the house, in my post tomorrow I am going to overview our exterior water conservation plan.

posted by KDL | follow me on Twitter :  newscaster

Yes, You Really Can Get a LEED ID Point for a Washing Machine

Ever since my blog about how to choose a LEED provider and my mention of the LEED ID point for the Washing Machine, I have received numerous comments and emails on this topic.

So, to clarify for everyone, yes you can get a LEED ID point for a washing machine and here is why and how:

You can receive a point under Energy & Atmosphere EA 9.2 for a Water-Efficient Clothes Washer if you install a washing machine with a modified energy factor of >2.0 and water factor of < 5.5 and if your washer  is ENERGY STAR labeled.

The way it works is the point is credited to LEED EA 9.1 and 9.2 in the prescriptive path but if you are taking the performance path, as we are, you are forced to skip EA 9.1 and 9.2.  

Because our house is going through the ENERGY STAR rating and the washing machine input does not affect the energy model in the performance path, it becomes an optional ID point we can take under LEED Innovation & Design Point 1.2.

And that is how you get a LEED ID point for a washing machine.

posted by KDL |  follw me on Twitter: newscaster

Tips for interviewing and Choosing a LEED professional for your project

Finding the right LEED professional for your home project is as important as finding the right babysitter. They need to be hands on, available when you want them, smart, creative, and very, very flexible.

Last week the Providence Journal wrote an article that stated “hundreds” have signed up to take the LEED accreditation test that is scheduled for June 30th. The story reported that 300 applicants have registered at local test centers to take the national LEED AP credentialing exam, with more expected. The LEED exam measures a person’s knowledge of high-performance green building standards – everything from best building practices and site sustainability to energy management and water conservation. We think that every architect, engineer, builder, interior designer should be required to take the test to stay up to date in their field, but does that mean they are any good?

At present, there are 200 LEED-accredited professionals in RI as reported by the ProJo. I find this statistic staggering. When I started our LEED-H application last summer and registered it in October, I found exactly one registered LEED-AP provider in RI. There were a few companies that did work in RI, but not many.

My concern with the LEED-AP bandwagon is that it has to be more than just passing the test. It takes experience, hands on experience in the field with a project to understand what it takes to to build a completed LEED home.

I know this for a FACT; I’ve been building one for 9 months and I learn something new every single day. There are so many variables that will only happen in the field and nothing in a classroom or on p.86 of a referenee book will tell you.

If you are interviewing LEED professionals for your project, there are some really important questions to ask to make sure you are getting what you need from them.

1. Make sure you like them – you need this person and spend a lot of time with them. Make sure you think alike, they get you and represent the same morals and values you do.

 2. Ask them why they got into green building? How long they’ve been there. A lot of these people are former ENERGY STAR raters. There is good and bad with that. ENERGY STAR is a critical element to getting LEED certified but it is not the only element. The wrong rater can end up sidetracking you with information that doesn’t help your bottom-line. Also, I have found that longtime raters are not big fans of geothermal because it uses more electricity despite achieving 100% efficiency in COP and incredibly high SEER rating. Some raters may even say its a cheat step on the E&A performance path. Call it what you want; it’s clean, efficient, safe and independent of the oil and gas utilities. Make sure your rater has the same vision for your project that you do.

3. Ask your LEED AP how many homes they have rated. The more homes they’ve rated the more they know, the more they’ve dealt with local and state level zoning issues and the more time they’ve dealt with the USGBC.  

4. Ask the cost per square foot and size of the homes they have rated. It is a lot easier to get LEED spending $400 sq/ft then spending $125. Bigger homes represent different challenges due to size thresholds with LEED.

5. Ask if they will help you solve problems or if they will merely give you the LEED answers. This is a big one. Whether you are a builder or a homeowner, going through LEED the first time is intimidating, frustrating and utterly time consuming. There are so many variables and having someone say to you “Yes, this is the best path” or “Yes, this will help you” can be incredibly reassuring. Saying “We can’t take a position on that” is infuriating.

6. Ask them if they’ve created new LEED ID points. This is cool if they have. If they say no, ask them what LEED ID points they have helped get. I’m sure one of the answers will be for a high efficiency washing machine (lame, no challenge in this one) but there are lots of cool Innovative Design points and someone who has thought outside the box to make this happen gets props in my book; it also shows they know how to complete an application for a LEED ID point and get reviewed with positive results from the judging council. There are four LEED ID points on the table and it is an opportunity to really show your commitment to green living. We’re trying to create new ground with some of our ID points, trying some really unique stuff with energy management and monitoring and whole-home lighting control.

7. Ask them have they ever rated a home that didn’t  acheive LEED. If they say yes, this is a red flag because the LEED AP is there to help you. You have to ask yourself what didn’t they see in the beginning and why didn’t they talk about it with the homeowner. Going all the way through LEED and then finding out your house doesn’t pass because you didn’t put doors on your fireplace and you aren’t willing too or you decided a walk-in fireplace was your thing would be unfortunate after the time and money invested.

8. Ask them will they review your current architectural plans with you and your architect? And will they do so in conjunction with the preliminary pass of your LEED application? These two items are critical because they can correct any mistakes on your plans before you are in field. For us, one item we could have done was install an insulated concrete foundation as opposed to traditional. It’s an incredibly efficient and cost effective way to increase your homes insulation envelope if you are planning on finishing the basement. It would have been a good option for someone to call out to us up front, not when they were walking through two months later.

9. Ask them what it will cost. No, what it will really cost. Having interviewed LEED APs up and down the eastern seaboard; the pricing variables were significant. The straightforward cost of the application is one thing but with LEED there are numerous third party testing options. Each of these add a layer of cost to your application. You need to know this, you need to know what points you want and need, and you need to know what it will cost to get them. Our contract was $3k, which wasn’t bad, but we will add $1500 for every third party testing we opt to implement.

Depending on your project you may have additional questions but this is a good place to start. I would interview a LEED AP like I would an architect or a builder. The information they are going to share with you and their impact on your home is significant. The right person can make all the difference.

posted by: KDL | follow me on Twitter :  newcaster

LEED Team Meeting Number 3

We had our third LEED Integrated Team Meeting on Thursday. Since we’ve had multiple meetings with our landscape architecture team, they were the only ones not present today. We did however have our LEED-AP, our Green Rater, our architect, our builder, and our mechanical engineer (HVAC consultant).

We spent four hours breaking down the LEED-H application. Good times.

There were some incredibly valuable things I learned that I would like to share:

1.       In the ID point section, Innovation & Design Process, point 1.5 is incredibly hard to get if you have any other considerations. In our instance, though we did orient for solar design for our PV and solar hot water, because we prioritized our view, which was easterly, our glazing (window area) has significantly more area space on our east/west walls than on our north/south walls. So though we did achieve 1.5 b and c and can make a slight change to achieve 1.5d because of our ocean views we don’t get the point, we get nothing. This was a recurring theme for us during the meeting; there were a number of points where we were just falling short and getting nothing but in other categories we were maxed out even though we went way above and beyond.

2.       According to my LEED-AP, our Durability Checklist was the best he’d ever seen, so if you want to use it see my earlier blog entry. It will be more useful to those of you in the northeast because it does deal with numerous ice, water and wind issues. Check that point off!

3.       ID 1.3 is the Innovative and Regional Design point – This is actually my favorite point section on the entire application because it is about the things you did in your home that are not a guideline by the USGBC and LEED but about unique innovations you’ve implemented. We have maxed out our opportunities in this category. The points we are applying for are:

a.       1.3.1 Home Automation and Control – Home automation and lighting control saves energy, resources and money

b.       1.3.2 Energy Management Systems – Managing and monitoring renewable and utility energy for peak loads and whole house conservation

c.        1.3.3 Wiring for the Future – Using the CEA’s TecHome Rating System wiring for your home today and into the future to maximize connectivity and minimize waste

d.       1.3.4 Washing Machine – This is an easy point, ENERGY STAR, water conserving model but oddly not covered under the ENERGY STAR appliances section

                                                               i.      Other areas we could go for ID3 points includes SS2.1 – an extra point for landscape design and reduction in irrigation demand.

                                                             ii.      MR2.2 Environmentally Preferable Products – This ia big list of where you can get points worth ½ a point each for being an EPP, being low emission and or local production (Within 500 miles). It maxes out at 8 points here but you can overflow for up to another 4 in the 1.3 point category; we wont’ be taking these but we could have gotten another 4 points here.

4.       Under LL2.2 site selection, you have to track down the FEMA flood map to certify that you are above the 100-year plain; a letter from your insurance company is not documentation.

5.       Under SS (Sustainable Sites) you can accumulate a lot of points by paying attention to your landscaping. In addition to creating a lawn and plantings that require less water they actually need less chemicals, and create a better land environment for your family, your pets and in our cases, the bunnies, the deer, the woodchuck and other woodland animals that will also take up residence. My landscape architect told me that most people can easily install a drought tolerant lawn just by not overwatering it. The more water you give a lawn the more water it will ultimately need.

6.       The cheapest two points you can get on a LEED application is by installing $.50 aerator on your sink faucets. In fact, you can do this at home now too.

7.       EA sucks. I have worked so hard, spending months and months on preparing for Energy & Atmosphere. It has a maximum of 38 points in this category and we opted for the performance path. I have learned everything about GeoThermal heating and cooling, 15 SEER rated air conditioners, photovoltaic’s, air-to-air exchangers, solar thermal panels and evacuated tubes, super high efficiency gas burners and so on; and EVERYTHING is a trade off. We were pretty positive we were going to go with a ground source heat pump Geothermal system which would have cost in excess of $50k (blowing my budget number ), when we found out just how high our electric bill was going to go. So even though we would not be using oil or gas, our electric bill would more than double our current consumption patterns. Some people tried to convince me that I was lowering my carbon footprint by reducing the CO2 I was putting in the air but I had to research how much CO2 was produced to make the added electricity – shocker – just as much. I was kind of annoyed. Geothermal has more than a 15 year payback if you really start adding the numbers up and to be honest, neither LEED or ENERGY STAR were cheering for them. Now I’m starting from scratch again to run all the numbers and check all my bids for best renewable energy options and overall cost efficiencies.

8.       In the Materials & Resources section, under point 31, I am pretty disappointed with how non-efficient our framing was. This is another rare where we did a lot of the things we needed to do and had major improvement over traditional framing but we still feel short over and over, missing point after point, so out of a maximum of 16, we’re only getting 11 points instead of my original projection of 14. Some of this is due to our wind zone issues and requirements for zoning which had to take precedent, but I was still bummed. We are doing awesome in MR2 and our waste management system (MR3) is doing excellent.

9.       One of our priorities going into this process was to have a home that had incredibly healthy indoor air quality and we have been striving for that from the onset. And it looks like we will max out the points we can get in this category, losing points for the garage, having a traditional masonry fireplace and for simply being in area that has the potential to someday, in some homes with poor ventilation, to have radon…even thought we aren’t and don’t we pretty much lose a point here. Lame.

10.    Awareness & Education is an area we are doing so much and it is an area you can only get 3 points, except we can only get 2 because we don’t have a building manager. Super LAME.

Posted by KDL | follow me on Twitter: newscaster

An Easy Way to Get Renewable Energy in New England

Not everyone has the ability, whether it is due to costs, home ownership, location, etc. to place solar panel or photovoltaic’s on their roofs or build a wind turbine in their yard, but there are options for you to buy clean renewable energy that can set us on a path for a future filled with energy that is affordable and sustainable. In RI, the path to that future is People’s Power & Light, a nonprofit organization that is leveraging consumer power for affordable heating oil and for clean, renewable energy through their New England GreenStart program.

New England GreenStart is based on renewable energy resources located in New England, such as the 660 kilowatt wind turbines at Portsmouth Abbey, Rhode Island and Hull, Massachusetts, along with hundreds of solar panels on rooftops throughout Rhode Island like those on Scituate High School. When your household becomes a customer, your household electricity usage will be matched to local renewable resources including solar, wind, biomass, and small hydroelectric plants from New England. View a map of their sources.

New England GreenStart costs a little more. For 100% of your electricity consumption, it’s 2.4 cents per kilowatt hour, or about 40 cents per day for the average home on top of your electricity you are buying from National Grid. But before you say no way, hear me out. There are two significant benefits here: the money you pay for New England GreenStart energy goes directly to renewable energy development (the path to a better and more affordable energy future) and it is 100% tax-deductible.

If you are interested, you can join here  — we already switched (it took about six minutes to fill out the application (make sure you have your National Grid account number) so the electricity as our LEED-H home project is being built is all based on renewable energy resources. The average home uses about 500 kWh per month so you’re looking at another $12.00 on your bill, if that’s just too much right now, and I do understand, here’s a list People’s Light and Power provides to save energy at home:

  1. Weather-strip a door or window with one continuous strip for best results.
  2. Turn your thermostat down 2 degrees: Most folks are still quite comfortable in a house that’s two degrees cooler.
  3. Use ventilation fans wisely .Bathroom fans can suck a whole houseful of heated air out into the cold in just a few hours. So make sure you turn it off or install a timer so the fan runs only as long as required.
  4. Set your water heater’s thermostat to 120 degrees: It’s safer and more efficient. Hot water for showers uses almost half of your heating budget a year. Reduce the heat and you reduce the cost.
  5. Install a low flow showerhead: A $15 low flow shower head could save as much as $100 of hot water. Not only do you save heating money, you save water.
  6. Replace old light bulbs with CFL Bulbs: Over 25% of your energy costs are consumed by light bulbs. A compact fluorescent light fixture can cut costs by 75% and they last longer. (And if you call National Grid for an energy audit, you will get free CFL’s. Also, ENERGY STAR has rebates for numerous CFLs so check online before you shop.)
  7. Make your next large appliance purchase an ENERGY STAR Appliance: New products are smarter and more efficient, particularly the ones with the ENERGY STAR label. Televisions, washer, dryers, refrigerators all offer energy dividends under the ENERGY STAR program. In 2009, you can get a $500 federal rebate for a new ENERGY STAR appliance so start shopping.
  8. Use the sleep mode on your computer. Using the sleep feature of your computer can make you a smart conserver and power down your monitor every time you are done.
  9. Turn off the light when you aren’t using them and save.

posted by KDL | follow me on Twitter: newscaster