Not knowing what appliances use the most electricity, what to replace them with, the areas of your home that are costing you money, what rebates or credits you are eligible for, and where to begin with your goals could cost you more money than you save.
Being energy efficient can definitely reduce the size of the system necessary for your home. Starting with energy efficiency may not save you as much though. Why? Because of the annual increases from your electric provider. Even though you may have saved some money, those savings are often wiped out immediately by pricing increases. Starting with solar allows you to stabilize all or part of your bill to factor in your future goals of energy efficiency for target areas or appliances in your home.
Coal is currently being phased out completely. That is mainly because of its rising costs, inefficiency, and its harmfulness to the environment. Gas is also a fossil fuel, but not nearly as bad for our environment and climate change as burning coal. We strongly recommend using gas for any appliance in your house you can use them with. Why? Not only is gas cleaner than coal, it is much cheaper. Using gas to run appliances can cost half off to as much as 2/3 off from using an electric appliance that uses coal to generate its electricity. Switching from an electric appliance to a gas appliance will normally have a much higher rebate attached to it as well. Gas appliances include your air handler from your AC for heating in the winter time, water heater, dryer, range/oven, and space heaters.
Different appliances have different electric usages and lifespans. During the home energy audit we will take a look at your appliances and different areas of your home to help you blue print your ultimate goals for solar as well as total energy efficiency. Get the specific facts for your home, so whether you start small or go for it all, you are doing what's best for your ultimate goals for your home.
Your AC is your biggest electric guzzler in your home. Are you using a smart or programmable thermostat? Are you familiar with your SEER level, and how many speeds yours has? A good AC could cut your solar system size by 1/3, or reduce your electric costs by 30% or more.
Your water heater is your appliance that uses the 2nd largest amount of electricity in your home. Does yours have a timer? Do you know if a tankless or hybrid water heater would be better for energy efficiency in your home?
Do you know where your current R values are for your home are, and if they are high enough? Are you familiar with the different types of insulation to get to where you need to be?
Could you be using natural gas or propane instead of electric? Is your appliance Energy Star rated? Are there rebates available for upgrading any of them?
Do you have double pane or higher for your home owners insurance discount? Have you installed shades and drapes to reduce outside heating? Have you tinted your windows yet?
Have you switched over from incandescent to all LED yet? Were you aware that one 60 watt incandescent light bulb uses more electricity than running 5 or 6 LED bulbs?