When you live in South Florida, you quickly understand the value of energy-efficient air conditioners; especially after you receive your first utility bill. But lowering those bills doesn’t have to come from simply shutting off the air and being hot.
'Energy efficiency' has become a “buzz phrase” over the last decade and more and more devices and equipment have come on the market that are specifically designed to use less energy and save money.
“Energy efficiency is one of the few investments that can help homeowners gain a return on their electric bill and on the value of their home,” says Suzanne Grant, lead communications specialist for Progress Energy Florida. “We suggest customers consider replacing or remodeling with energy-efficient products to help improve the resale value of the home and make it stand out in a crowded marketplace.”
Individually, condo or co-op owners can avoid leaving lights on, turn off fans and air conditioners when not at home and use better lighting options. But Florida homeowner associations can do even more, and in the process, help the entire building.
“In the state of Florida, we have an energy rater program, so we have certified energy raters, and they will be qualified to do assessments. Someone can work with a rater and have them enter the building and put the information into the software and it can look at the heat gains and losses of a building so you can look at wall types, insulation and windows,” says Jeff Sloane, senior research engineer for the Florida Solar Energy Center. “There is also a lot of interest in energy efficiency right now, so as a result, we have seen the growth of a number of voluntary programs like Energy Star.”