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Fact or Fiction: Energy Efficiency
by Staff
Becoming more energy-efficient means using technology to help you consume less energy. So, how much do you know about making your home more energy efficient?

American homes consume twice the energy of the world average.

  • fact
  • fiction
  • almost fact: Try six times the world average.

Home duct efficiency in the United States could be as low as 50 to 70 percent.

  • fact
  • fiction
  • almost fact: Duct efficiency could definitely be improved, but it's not that bad.

Most American homes use natural gas for heat.

  • fact
  • fiction
  • almost fact: Most American homes use electricity.

In the past 25 years, American energy consumption has risen faster than the population has.

  • fact
  • fiction
  • almost fact: The increase has been about the same for both.

A 2009 study showed that replacing old appliances is one of the most important things people can do to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions.

  • fact
  • fiction
  • almost fact: The best thing to do is unplug your old appliances when they're not in use.

Buildings with light-colored roofs use 40 percent less energy for cooling than buildings with darker roofs.

  • fact
  • fiction
  • almost fact: A "green roof" is really the only kind that saves energy.

Traditional incandescent light bulbs convert about half the electricity they use into light -- the other half is converted into heat.

  • fact
  • fiction
  • almost fact: Incandescent light bulbs convert almost all electricity into light.

Replacing a front-loading washing machine with a top-loader could save you $100 a year in energy, water and detergent.

  • fact
  • fiction
  • almost fact: Front-loading machines are more energy efficient.

The newest energy-efficient refrigerators use 40 percent less energy than conventional models did in 2001.

  • fact
  • fiction
  • almost fact: They use 20 percent less energy.

If you're on the market for new home insulation, it's best to get one that has a high E-rating.

  • fact
  • fiction
  • almost fact: Actually, you need to look for lower E-ratings.

A programmable thermostat will save you about $90 a year.

  • fact
  • fiction
  • almost fact: A new Energy Star refrigerator will save you about $90, a thermostat about half of that.

If you have a programmable thermostat (which you should), your home's night temperature should be 10 degrees lower than the day temperature.

  • fact
  • fiction
  • almost fact: You should set a lower night temperature only if you live in a very warm climate.

You'll save 4 to 8 percent on cooling costs for every degree that you lower your thermostat in the summer.

  • fact
  • fiction
  • almost fact: That would be raise, not lower.

You should change your HVAC filter every six months.

  • fact
  • fiction
  • almost fact: Once a year is fine.

Properly sealing your home can cut your heating and cooling bills in half.

  • fact
  • fiction
  • almost fact: Sealing your house is something you should definitely do, but it will save you about 10 percent.

You can get a tax credit for energy-efficient improvements to a new home.

  • fact
  • fiction
  • almost fact: The tax credit is only for improvements to existing homes, not for new homes.

There are even better tax credits available for geothermal heat pumps, solar panels and solar water heaters.

  • fact
  • fiction
  • almost fact: It’s the same deal as windows, doors, etc.

You could see a 140 percent return on your money over 25 years if you install a solar power system.

  • fact
  • fiction
  • almost fact: You might be able to get a 100 percent return, but that's stretching it.

According to EnergyStar.gov, 30 percent of energy in commercial and industrial buildings is used inefficiently or unnecessarily.

  • fact
  • fiction
  • almost fact: Try 70 percent.

A 13-watt fluorescent light bulb emits the same amount of visible light as a 60-watt incandescent bulb.

  • fact
  • fiction
  • almost fact: A 30-watt fluorescent bulb gives off the same light as a 60-watt incandescent bulb.