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energy tips ...

You are convinced that we need to save energy for all the right reasons, but how do you start? Well, the goal of this site is to provide you the information and resources to do just that.

1) Check your PNM bill and use your current usage (KWHrs and Therms) as a baseline.
2) Try any or all of the tips below.
3) Get an Energy Audit for more information or try out the very cool Black and Decker Interactive Power House. You may want to get the power monitor or thermal leak detector to do a mini energy audit.

5 Easy Tips to do Today

SwitchplateStop Air Leaks ...

A simple, inexpensive way to stop" paid for" heat from escaping is to install outlet insulators (foam sealers) on exterior walls. Home Depot and Lowes have the top ones but not the bottom ones (which are the style we have). It is possible to special order them at both stores ($3.19/pack of 6 or 8), plus we just ordered a case so contact us if you want this type. (ITEM#06668 - MD Building Products)

We also cut up a foam mattress to block our fireplace leaks. Closing the damper

doesn't cut it. After measuring the flue and cutting the 4" foam to fit, we wrapped it in a garbage bag to provide an air barrier (foam allows air through it). Suggestion by Larry Gorman @ Building Energy Solutions.

water heater blanketWater Heater Blanket ...

It is time to get a water heater blanket. Home Depot has them for $14.99. They only have one kind, but it fits up to a 60 gal. heater. Lowes has three from $5.98(R-5) to $19.98(R-10). See what size tank you have before going. Blankets save 2+/- therms (gas heat) per month which equals 23 lbs. CO2 emissions. See this PNM how-to video. Now that our water heater is cozy with its little blankie, we got to turn it down another notch...huge surprise that it made that much difference!!

Caulk and Weather strip your doors/windows ...

While you are at Home Depot, Lowes or Samons, pick up caulk (clear) and weather stripping (vinyl lasts longer than foam) for your doors and any leaky windows. Why pay to heat outdoor air that is leaking into your home? Save money and energy the easy way. See this PNM how-to video or Home Depot Weatherization video. Ron Lucero, Quality Coatings 975-1950 will provide window and door caulking if you are are time challenged or have two left hands. IMPORTANT: Look for clear, paintable caulk. Some caulks will cause bubbling or peeling if painted.

lightbulbReplace 4 regular bulbs with compact fluorescents ...

Home Depot and Lowes have packages of 40W and 60W bulbs. What is so amazing is that a 60W bulb is equal to a 14W regular bulb in energy use. BIG CO2 savings here. Lasts 9 Years!!! See Home Depot video on fluorescents and other energy options. Alan Zelicoff suggests changing out the bulbs that you use frequently and not worrying about closets, etc. PNM is now offering discounts at Lowes, Home Depot, Costco, Sam's Club and more . See PNM discount at EFI for further savings on specialty bulbs..

TED Power MonitorGet a Power Monitor ...

I purchased a TED power monitor (left) and have already seen lower electric bills. It is on my desk and if I see a spike, I hop up and seek out the culprit. I have also learned which lights/appliances use the most energy. You will need help with installation so there is a cost over the price of the unit. The TED is not portable but comes with great software to track your usage. Black and Decker also has a unit that IS portable but lacks the software. It also appears that this unit could be installed by you easily.. making it much less expensive. PNM charges $.07325 for up to 200 KWH and $.1059 up to 700 KWHrs. Over that you will have to check your bill. We don't use that much.

If you have refrigerated air, be sure to check out PNM's Power Saver Program.

 

Now for more in depth information. Our own journey has shown us that there are just two places to look to save energy..... YOU and your home. Funny, but the way you live or your energy style is as important as the home you live in. We saved 300 KWHs/mo. by making a few changes. It was painless and almost fun.

what YOU can do....

So many tips and so little time. The amazing thing that happens, when you decide that you want to conserve energy and have a little help in knowing what to do, is that you start with one thing and find another and another. Trust us. It will be easy and fun. Just click on the orange bars.

It is a myth that it is bad for the computer to power up and down. If you are taking a lunch break and have a lot passwords to enter to start up again, at least turn off the printer and other unneeded peripherals (scanner, computer speakers, etc.) with a power strip before leaving the room or if you are not using them at the moment. Turn off everything at night by using a single power strip.

According to Grist.org, "Computer energy use is no trivial matter. Microsoft reckons that a PC using an old-style cathode-ray tube monitor, if left awake around the clock, results in the emission of over half a ton of carbon dioxide a year just during the time when it's not in use. At a typical electricity cost of roughly nine cents per kilowatt hour, that translates to over $70 wasted per year per machine. Computers with flat-screen LCD monitors, which are more energy efficient, still drain almost $56 a year for sleepless idleness. "

Equipment Type Power Draw (Watts)

Idle Active
Copier 6 400
Personal computer 62 62
Video Monitor 62 62
Laser printer 80 200
Fax machine 14 30
_______________________________________________
Totals 222 752

The following chart shows minimum, average, and maximum standby power use of residential appliances.

Takes some practice but provides major savings. It is amazing how you will more easily "see" the lights left on by other family members. Remind each other and appreciate the reminders you get. Or try a sensor or Black and Decker AutoSwitch to make it painless.

(We had recently gone to Halogens under the mistaken idea that they were more efficient...well, lightbulbthey are only slightly better than incandescents), but fluorescents last for 10,000 hrs vs 1000 hrs for an incandescent and use 1/5 the energy. Start with the areas that are on for longer periods of time...your office, reading light, living room, or kitchen. Closets are not a high priority area. Fluorescents are available at Home Depot, Lowes, Samons and even Walgreens. Home Depot had packages of 40W and 60W bulbs. What is so amazing is that a 60W bulb is equal to a 14W regular bulb in energy use. BIG CO2 savings here. Use the 40W in a porch light or where there are multiple lights going down a hall. Use solar for outdoor lighting where possible. PNM is working with retailers to offer discounts with the following stores at checkout...no paperwork.

"Lighting accounts for 10-20% of the residential electricity consumed in the United States. Common incandescent bulbs are very inefficient and waste 90% of their energy producing heat instead of light. This waste heat also contributes to the cooling bill in the summer. Making an inventory of your home's lamps is a relatively simple process. Walk through the home room-by-room and make a list of the different lamps used in the fixtures. Group the lamps by their Wattage as well as their hourly use per day.

To calculate your savings use this formula: Lamp qty (#light bulbs) x Lamp Wattage (60W or 100W or 40W) x Hours/day x 30 days/month ÷ 1000 = Average kWh (check your PNM bills for your KWh consumption per month) x $.09/KWh. Calculate changing out five100 watt Incandescent bulbs with 40 watt CFLs and see what you save. Hint: 100watts-40watts = 60watts x 5 bulbs x 5 hrs (average usage per day) x 30 days per month / 1000 (KWhr) x .$.09(PNM rate per KWhr) = $4.05 per month. Not too bad for 5 little bulbs." That's $48.60 per year and these bulbs last much much longer. I could think of something a little more fun to spend the money on than PNM bills.

Quantity of Bulbs Bulb Wattage Daily Usage (Hrs)
2 100 5
3 75 4
8 60 4
2 40 10

Src: Saturn Online, an excellent online educational provider for Energy Efficiency Training.

gold starGood News - LED's are here but not easily available and a little expensive. They are 50 times as energy efficient as the conventional bulb. The city is using them now in traffic lights (colored LED's are easier to produce), saving on maintenance and energy. See what Sandia Labs is doing that could revolutionize lighting.

Bad News - We bought a CC Vivd 20 LED Floodlight for our tract lighting ($45) and it did not provide enough light for our work area (desk) although it seemed bright enough if used up close. The Home Depot Compact Fluorescent bulbs (floodlight) seemed to provide more light and were much less expensive ($4.50).

One note: We replaced many of our regular light switches with dimming switches to add control but also energy savings. The problem we found later was that most fluorescents DO NOT work with dimming switches and you will pay more for those that do. A good source of specialty bulbs is EFI (Energy Foundation). You can even find dimmable fluorescent candlelight bulbs (small base) but you may have to save up for them or ask for some for Christmas ($15/bulb).

Check out EFI discounts through PNM.

But what if I break a bulb....mercury hazard?

Phantom loads are appliances that are consuming energy all the time even when they are OFF. Anything that has a transformer box or plug is drawing energy while plugged in. That includes your cell phone charger, cordless telephone, telephone recorder, cordless keyboard and mouse, and hand vacuums or tools that are plugged in for convenient use. If you know you will need them, plug them in an hour before.transformer box

Transformer boxes are the square black boxes that take up all the room on your power strip or outlet. Eliminate as many as you can. We only leave the cell phone charger plugged in when charging the phone. One of our extra cordless phones in the kitchen was replaced with a corded phone so that it did not draw energy and provided an emergency phone during blackouts.

Other Phantom loads are clock radios, microwaves with clocks, garage door openers, appliances with "instant on" or remote controls (TVs, VCRs, lights) and even gas furnaces. Eliminate what you can by putting these units on a power strip and turning them off over night or when you are are going to be away from home. There are small travel alarm clocks that can replace your plug in alarm clocks that are continually drawing power.

An old "free" refrigerator is NOT free. A refrigerator that was purchased before 1993 is energystaran energy hog. Buy the smallest, not the biggest refrigerator that meets your needs. Side by side refrigerators are less efficient than models with the freezer on top. Conveniences like lighted water dispensers also use more energy. (We rationalize that since we drink a lot of water, we are saving energy by not opening the door to get ice or cold water, however, the light is a complete waste.) While the Energy Star Rating is a starting point, there are big differences in energy efficiency between different models. Check out the ACEEE.org web site for more information. Do NOT depend on sales people to help....they do not know very much. It is above their job grade. Look inside the doors for info tags. The new front load washing machines save on water AND energy and get your clothes cleaner to boot. We love our Kenmore. PNM will even pick up your older appliances and recycle them for free...plus pay you $30. That's because they can use three times as much energy as newer ones. Call 1-877-643-1946 or visit PNM.com/fridge

Microwave or grill outside instead of heating up that oven in the summer to prevent extra cooling costs. Cooking stats:

Oven Type Cost
Electric oven 17 cents
Electric convection oven 12 cents
Gas oven 10 cents
Electric frying pan 7 cents
Electric toaster oven 8 cents
Electric crockpot 6 cents
Electric microwave oven 3 cents

Interesting little article about fans vs AC by Grist.org.

Only wash full loads of clothes. Buy extra socks (or whatever) that cause you to wash more frequently. Hang heavy items (towels, jeans) up to partially dry and then fluff if necessary, rather than drying the whole load for a longer period.

Consider a clothes line for Spring/Summer drying and that wonderful fresh smell (extra benefit: sunlight/UV kills germs/microbes, etc.).

Dry your dishes by opening the door after the wash cycle or at a minimum use the energy dry cycle. Dishwashers actually use less hot water (energy) than washing dishes by hand.

Thanks to encouragement from Alan Zelicoff, we shaved off 2 therms from our water heater blanketgas bill by turning down our water heater and are saving water to boot as we no longer have to mix cold water with the hot to get the temperature just right. PNM also offers a rebate on water heater blankets and a how-to video. We turned our heater down a second notch after putting on our insulating blanket.

Consider a tankless variety like Renai or Solar Thermal. Robert Mallory reported a significant savings with his on-demand water heater ($1250 at Home Depot or Lowes). However, Larry Gorman cautions that these heaters require a larger exhaust hole than a standard water heater so if it is located indoors in a non-sealed off space rather than the garage, you may be losing some of your paid for heat with the exhaust.

Re: Solar Thermal (hot water) - Our PNM bill indicated that only 4-7 therms/month @ $2.37/therm were being used by our gas water heater (located inside the house) after turning it down to an acceptable level and getting a blanket so the payback may be a little long on a solar thermal system at $6000. Robert Mallory's water heater (in the garage) was using 25 therms before he replaced it with an on-demand system. Big difference. As always, it is important to look at your utility bills carefully and get the most efficient hot water heater possible.

Check your refrigerator/freezer temperature with a $5 small thermometer (NOT a mercury thermometer). Your refrigerator only needs to be 38-40 degrees and your freezer only needs to be 0-5 degrees. Anything under that is a waste of money and energy. coil brush

Vacuum the coils to remove dust buildup so that they are not insulated. The energy savings may be small but it will also save on maintenance costs. A coil brush for coils that are hard to get to is available from Dave's for only $7.95. (Also works for hard to reach cobwebs.)

Get rid of those old garage refrigerators or freezers for the extra beer. Big energy hogs. PNM is offering to pick them up, recycle them and give you $30 to boot. Wonderful deal and it may not last.

In the winter, open blinds and drapes during the day on southern windows for solar gain. Sunbender by ZomeworksClose at night so the heat does not escape. While skylights provide "daylighting" and help to reduce the need for lights, they also allow heat to escape. Thermal skylight blinds will help as well as triple glazing and thermal break frames.

Consider a SunBender by Zomeworks (local company) for your skylights. These reflectors will maximize the solar gain during winter days to help offset your loss and shade the skylight in summer to minimize the heat gain. See more on solar options under Alternative Energy.

We were absolutely thrilled that we were able to reduce our electrical usage (KWh on PNM bill) easily by just these small changes. We went from 653KWh/Mo. down to 550KWh by just being aware and turning off lights, TVs and computers more frequently. After an energy audit by Dr. Alan Zelicoff, we went down to 440KWh with the cooler on and 318KWh without. While not terribly significant on our electric bill, our carbon savings are HUGE. After getting TED (energy monitor), we are down to 350KWh/Mo. And we could now consider a smaller solar system to offset the balance. More on Energy Audits below (tabs).

your home ....

Be sure to check out Tax Credits and PNM Rebates. Click on orange bars for more info.

After analyzing our gas bills, Alan Zelicoff pointed out that we were ABOVE the thermostataverage for gas usage in Albuquerque. Since we had already invested in programmable thermostats which had made a BIG difference in both our comfort level and gas usage, we were not sure what we needed to do next. (We have H20 baseboard heating and an adobe home, which like radiant heating has a lag time.

The programmable thermostats ($35 at Home Depot) allowed us to program the heat to come on before we got up and go off long before we went to bed. It will also allow you to turn it down while you are at work and back up before you get home.) We still haven't found a good evaporative cooler programmable thermostat yet and have returned a couple. Please let us know if you can make a recommendation. PNM provides a rebate on qualified self-installed programmable thermostats, so do not pitch that receipt. Home Depot video on how to install.

For most homes, the most cost effective job you can do is weather stripping and caulking windows and doors to seal leaks. Various sizes and thicknesses are available at all of the home supply stores. PNM has a video series that will help you figure it out. We also tried the plastic storm window kits that shrink to almost clear after warming with a hair dryer. While they worked reasonably well for a short time, our tape soon peeled at the corners leaving gaps.

Try thoroughly cleaning and drying the areas to be taped first. Tip: Check around windows and doors with a candle or a light piece of thread on a windy day to determine where drafts are. This will reveal problem areas in need of immediate attention.

Talk to Jann @ Solar Shield for information on specialized window films that can cut solar transmission causing summer heat gain while allowing the greatest amount of light possible.

 

ErwinSince our home was built in the 80's (adobe is charming but not exactly square), we noticed considerable leakage in our doors and had them replaced. A local contractor that specializes in the installation of doors and storm doors is Erwin Hellman, Exquisite Installations who did a very professional job. We also needed to have them stained (General Coatings, Ron Lucero 975-1950) and the stuccorepaired (Imperial Plaster 836-2223). Can't wait to see if those therms (gas usage) goes down.

It is MUCH more cost effective to use weather stripping if possible, however, there are cases when doors or windows simply need to be upgraded.

 

Our windows were already wood double pane and in most areas it was possible to weather strip imperfect seals. If you are replacing windows, keep in mind that aluminum is a great conductor of both heat and cooling so it is important that you look for windows with a sandwich membrane to prevent the metal from conducting. We called Josh at Cardinal Construction (505-268-2738) to buy weatherstripping for our older Marvin windows. He also sells good quality wood, metal and vinyl replacement windows and was a delight to work with.

Consider Low-E glass and at least double glazing. Remember, the lower the U-value, the better the insulation. Select windows with air leakage ratings of 0.3 cubic feet per minute or less.

Serious WindowThe DOE and Efficient Windows Collaborative provide helpful information on selecting the best Energy Star windows for our location and your home.

Serious Windows are the most energy-efficient residential windows on the market today (up to R-11). I got excited until I learned (from Josh at Cardinal) that some gas filled windows (which contribute heavily to the R-value) leak at different altitudes. Serious is located in Boulder but must come over Raton Pass (7800ft). I will check this out with the company. Until then, here is some info that is helpful: Understanding Energy Efficient Windows). Best to just call Josh as he is staying on top of all of this information. Note: some window films can cause cracking as well due to heat buildup in the glass.

One of our windows was problematic since it was near a workspace (home office) where we spent a considerable amount of time and felt cold in the winter. One solution was to get a small electric heater so that it was not necessary to turn up the thermostat for the whole house. However, there are three other solutions to try. Exterior storm windows are always a possibility, but do not work on all homes and can be unattractive with some styles of homes. We found an INTERIOR storm window at Energy $avr that has promise. Smith and Noble has triple cell Honeycomb window blinds that are their most energy efficient product, however, with gaps around the sides, could still allow a draft.

At the Solar Fiesta, we were delighted to find Angela Welford from AWindoway (281-1198) with an updated (much more attractive) version of the old Window Quilts, called Warm Window. They are insulated and have magnetic strips on all sides to seal the window completely. We noticed an immediate difference in comfort after the installation of a beautiful custom made Warm Window shade from AWindoway. However, these shades do block out the light so where views or light are important, you may want to choose the Honeycomb blinds.

We also met Larry Gorman, Building Energy Solutions, Inc. at the Solar Fiesta and infrared decided to have him come to see what further savings we could get on our gas bill. Larry specializes in finding leaks in your "building envelope" using Blower Door, Duct Blaster and Infrared technology. Air leakage is often more important than insulation since you are paying to heat and cool the outside air. We discovered that we had significant air leaks in our three fireplaces, exterior outlets, laundry room area, door trim (caulking), windows (top of double hung windows) and more.

From the Dept. of Energy's Do it Yourself list:

First, make a list of obvious air leaks (drafts). Check for indoor air leaks, such as gaps along the baseboard or edge of the flooring and at junctures of the walls and ceiling. Check to see if air can flow through these places:

  • Electrical outlets - (Insulated slip-in templates available at home supply stores)
  • Switch plates - (Same as above)
  • Window frames - (Caulking/weather stripping)
  • Baseboards - (Caulking)
  • Weather stripping around doors
  • Fireplace dampers - (Lock-Top Fireplace Damper or Blow-up Damper) or 3-4" foam cut to size and wrapped in plastic as air barrier.
  • Attic hatches (Insulation)
  • Wall- or window-mounted air conditioners. (Insulation)

Also look for gaps around pipes and wires, electrical outlets, foundation seals, and mail slots. Check to see if the caulking and weather stripping are applied properly, leaving no gaps or cracks, and are in good condition. PNM offers rebates for testing/sealing air leaks and weatherization. Ron Lucero, Quality Coatings 975-1950 also will provide window and door caulking if you are are time challenged or have two left hands.

Check the insulation in your attic or walls (remove electrical outlet plate and use a flashlight without poking around the socket or OUCH!!). Make sure you have the best insulation you can buy...especially in the roof areas as that will make the most difference since heat goes up. Also make sure it is evenly distributed with no gaps. Larry Gorman's infrared camera can detect areas that were missed during the construction process.

Only 20% of homes built before 1980 have good insulation so if your home is older, this is an area to explore. Recessed light fixtures have been a popular item recently (we have put in several) and unfortunately can be a major source of heat loss due to the fact that the insulation around them can not touch the cans. R-Values are a measure of resistance to heat loss and the higher the number the better. Most homes in Albuquerque are being built with R-13 in the walls and R-19 to R-38 in the ceilings, although some Green Builders are going higher. PNM recommends at least R-30 and offers rebates for contractor-installed insulation.

energy costs ....

NMMFA's EnergySmart Assistance Program
The EnergySmart Program provides limited assistance to low income homeowners to improve the energy efficiency of their homes thus reducing their utility costs. To be eligible homeowners must have incomes relative to family size at or below 150% of federal poverty guidelines, but due to the scarcity of resources, priority is given to the lowest income households.

Energy prices are going up. PNM has recently asked for a rate increase that we should see soon on our bills. Rates have increased 393% from August, 2002 to September 2005. Homes put more CO2 into the air than cars due to the fact that electricity is often generated by coal. Energy Efficiency just makes sense!!

See PNM's 99 EnergyWise Ideas

The Land of Rising Conservation - Japan is the most energy-efficient developed country on earth, according to most specialists, who say it is much better prepared than the United States to prosper in an era of higher global energy prices. And if there is any lesson that Japan can offer to Americans, they say, it is that there is no one fix-all solution to living with oil above $50 a barrel.

More Info (Click on Tab)

Energy Audits ...

Dr. Alan Zelicoff through SMLR (272-7102): (Al's Slide Presentation for the Matthew Meadows Energy Committee Meeting.)

  • conducts an energy audit of your home (or small business) and provide concrete recommendations that will probably save you over 30% on your electricity and gas utility bills.
  • surveys your home for appropriate sites for installation of solar panels
  • calculates the appropriately sized PV system to meet the vast majority of your electricity needs (grid-tied systems are best for this purpose).

Building Energy Solutions, Inc. Larry Gorman (269-2969) - Larry Gorman will use both blower door and infrared camera technology to find leaks in your building envelope (the outer shell of your home). He will also suggest ways of sealing the leaks, which will contribute to a more comfortable home and increase energy efficiency. In many houses, heating and cooling costs are increased by 20-30% because of duct leakage.

Green Energy & Maintenance Consulting, LLC - This company was founded to serve Residential, Commercial, and Industrial clients to beat the ever rising cost of energy usage and maintenance costs, both corrective and preventative. Green Energy & Maintenance Consulting, LLC is located in Albuquerqueand serves all NM. Phone: (505) 463-5727 Email contact: info@energyandmaintenance.com

Appreciated Energy - PO Box 1881; Los Lunas, NM 87031 505.620.0186 - also provides Diagnostic Testing & Analysis, Blower Door Tests (Whole House Infiltration), Duct Blaster Tests (Ductwork Infiltration). Plan Review, New Construction Consulting, Fannie Mae’s Energy Efficient Mortgage (EEM), Energy Star Certification. info@appreciatedenergy.com

Go Green, NM LLC - Santa Fe, NM (505) 474-3627 - Go Green, NM is dedicated to supporting New Mexico's home builders in achieving high performance residential building and provide services in Albuquerque, Santa Fe and Taos. We are a RESNET certified Home Energy Rating System (HERS) Energy Rater and provide third party plan review and thermal bypass verification of your building envelope that comply with the local building codes and residential energy programs such as LEED, Build Green NM or Energy Star.

Warren Consulting - Placitas, NM cell: (505) 903-1722. Mark Warren Jones, RESNET certified HERS rater, delivers home energy efficiency analysis. Rigorous inspections + meticulous infiltration diagnostics + IR Thermography = improvement options ranked by cost/benefit & payback time. warrennrg@hotmail.com

Walker Energy Services - Albuquerque, NM. Adam Walker, 505.385.8838 - Walker Energy Services provides home energy audits, certified H.E.R.S ratings, as well as mechanical design in accordance with Manual J, S,D and T by a licensed mechanical engineer. adam@walkerenergyservices.com

310 SolarLLC - 310 Solar sells solar systems but will work with local energy professionals to perform a complete "energy audit" on your home or business. After performing the audit, they will draft a complete report that catalogs everything they have identified to improve efficiency and do whatever it takes to get your home or business into shape to get the most benefit from your solar system. Contact:   Patrick Griebel (505)822-9200  5811 Carmen NE,   Albuquerque, NM 87113- E-mail: jobrien@310solar.com

Try out the very cool Black and Decker Interactive Power House. You may want to get the power monitor or thermal leak detector for yourself and get a jump on your energy efficiency.

A Do-it-Yourself Energy Audit by the Department of Energy

An Energy Audit for Kids of all ages (meant as a learning experience)

Audit Info...

While not critical, starting with an Energy Audit...is always very informative and provides additional motivation. We, of course, thought that an energy audit would tell us how our home needed to be altered to be more energy efficient. We were considering a very expensive solar system (more on that later) and leaky door replacement. What we found out was...that WE had the power to significantly decrease the energy we consumed by small little changes in the way we lived. Whoa, what a concept.

We first contacted local energy expert, Alan Zelicoff, M.D. Alan has a great online book, "Saving Energy without Derision" that started us on our energy saving journey. Dr. Zelicoff has made it his mission to help save energy by writing and doing energy audits. Before he came out, we provided him information on our PNM bills for the last couple of years. Al analyzed our solar bid and encouraged us to consider this option by showing us the wonderful payback for the system based on PNM and tax incentives. However, he also analyzed our ENERGY USAGE and had many suggestions that would provide instant savings and reduce the size of the solar system needed.

Online Energy Audits ...

We found most online energy audit software programs way too difficult and time-consuming (had to know the wattages for all appliances, computers, etc.). There are hand held tools to measure the output of your electrical devices like Kill-a-Watt or Cent-a-meter, but these were also more work than we wanted to do. It was just much easier to try the energy saving tips and check our progress by looking at our PNM bill (KWhs & Therms).

Rebates/Tax Credits ...

PNM Tax Rebate Program offers rebates on many energy efficient items like programmable thermostats, water heater wraps, insulation, low-flow shower heads, sealing air leaks and more. As always, keep your receipts and read the details first.

Federal Energy Tax Credits are available for insulation, water heaters, furnaces, storm doors, solar water heaters, Energy Star Air Conditioners, heat-reducing metal roofs and more. "A tax credit can provide significant savings. It reduces the amount of income tax you have to pay. Unlike a deduction, which reduces the amount of income subject to tax, a tax credit directly reduces the tax itself."

Other Resources ....

ACEEE - American Council for An Energy Efficient Economy offers a Consumer Guide to Energy Efficiency

Environment New Mexico - An organization dedicated to the promise of a new energy future. Great publication: The Road to a New Energy Future

U.S. Department of Energy offers a publication called, "Energy Savers, Tips on Saving Energy & Money in the Home".

Home Energy Tips and More Energy Tips

EnergySmart Assistance Program - NMMFA's EnergySmart Program provides limited assistance to low income homeowners to improve the energy efficiency of their homes thus reducing their utility costs. To be eligible homeowners must have incomes relative to family size at or below 150% of federal poverty guidelines but due to the scarcity of resources, priority is given to the lowest income households.

NM Energy$avers Program for Single-family -MFA's Energy$avers Program was created in October 2007 to facilitate the distribution of one million dollars appropriated by Governor Bill Richardson and the New Mexico State Legislature during its 2007 legislative session for the purpose of funding energy efficiency improvements for low-to-moderate income households around the state. The purpose of the Energy$avers Program is to provide below-market interest rate loans for energy efficiency improvements, including alternative energy upgrades, to new single-family and multi-family housing development projects and to projects involving the acquisition and rehabilitation of existing rental and for-sale housing throughout the state.