3 ways to reduce your energy and water consumption

3 ways to reduce your energy and water consumption

Submitted by Joseph Wood, owner of Boston Standard Plumbing & Heating

While home design does have some impact on home energy consumption, homeowners can do more to reduce their energy bills and improve the efficiency of their major home systems.

Tankless hot water systems

Tankless hot water systems eliminate the traditional tank-style water heater in favor of a compact, wall-mounted, on-demand water heating system. A tankless system can reduce water-related energy consumption by 30 percent or more per year.

The up-front costs of a tankless water system can be expensive, but a tankless water system will last as much as three times as long as a conventional hot water tank will. As an added green benefit, you'll cut down on the number of tanks that hit the landfill.

If you install a tankless system in 2011, you may also be able to take advantage of federal and state tax credits to offset the cost of the system. Consult the IRS website or your tax advisor for more information on water heater tax credits.

Ductless mini-split air conditioning systems

Without air conditioning, summers may be something of a mixed blessing. Window and ceiling fans consume a lot of electricity and may not keep your home comfortable. The cost of a new central air conditioning system may be prohibitive, and window air conditioners or wall units may be noisy and unattractive.

Ductless air conditioning systems offer multiple zone controls, mount easily on the wall and require only a small hole in an outside wall to connect to a compact, quiet outdoor compressor/condenser to as many as four indoor air handlers.

Mini splits can provide as much as 60,000 BTU of cooling power and use the new, environmentally friendlier R410A refrigerant. In addition, the units sport a variety of features, including self-cleaning indoor coils, air filters, automatic, manual and scheduled operations, frost control and corrosion protection for the fins. Some ductless units can even be attached to a heat pump unit to provide supplemental zone heating during the winter months. Ductless mini-split air conditioners are less expensive than conventional central air conditioning and are more efficient because they eliminate duct losses.

Reduce water consumption with low-flow toilets

Today's water-saving toilets offer significant improvements over the conventional fixtures in most homes. Low-flow toilets can clear the bowl using as little as one-half gallon of water per flush. Some models are even adjustable to allow the homeowner to control the amount of water each flush uses.

Low-flow toilets are available in a wide range of styles and colors. For the more discerning decorator, a number of designer and custom models are also available.

Boston Standard Plumbing & Heating was incorporated in 2008. Starting with one service truck, Boston Standard Plumbing & Heating now operates with four trucks and seven employees. Wood has been a plumbing, heating and cooling professional for 10 years. His father and brother are also in the plumbing, heating and cooling trade. Boston Standard Plumbing & Heating has been an Angie's List member since 2010 and was awarded a 2010 Angie's List Super Service Award.

As of July 13, 2011, this service provider was highly rated on Angie’s List. Ratings are subject to change based on consumer feedback, so check AngiesList.com for the most up-to-date reviews. The views expressed by this author do not necessarily reflect those of Angie’s List.

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