We are heading into that time of year when we are talking about inversions, air quality, and health. Kevin Emerson from Utah Clean Energy, a UCAIR partner, joined Good Things Utah to show us some simple and fast smart home energy improvements anyone can make their home more energy efficient and help improve the quality of our air indoors and out.
Yes, we all know that poor air quality is unhealthy for everyone and while Utah is making progress with our air quality, we can still do better. Kevin Emerson brought a few things that everyone can do to show UCAIR about air quality.
Here are some simple fixes you can make to help reduce energy use:
- Furnace Filters – New furnace filters help your furnace run more efficiently and can help protect indoor air quality. Look for high performance filters with pleats to catch more junk from the air and change them every three months.
- Sealing air leaks – An often-overlooked place to save energy and money is by sealing air leaks. Sources of possible air leaks can be around windows and doors, and plumbing, ducting or wiring that runs through the exterior walls of your home. These can be inexpensively sealed with weather striping, expanding sealing foam, or caulk.
- Smart Thermostat – Smart thermostats make it easy to conserve both natural gas and electricity by using less energy when you’re away from home and overnight, and you can even control the temperature from your phone or computer.
- Insulate Your Attic – Just like putting on a jacket to keep your body warm in the winter, increasing the amount of insulation in your attic is key to staying warm, saving energy, and reducing emissions. Aim for R-30 to R-40 insulation.
- Lastly, though this is really the best place to start, you can request an In-Home Energy Plan from Dominion Energy’s ThermWise incentive program – an expert from ThermWise will visit your house for just $25 and give you a customized plan to start saving energy.
How do the simple and smart improvements people make to their homes make such a big impact in the quality of our air?
When we think of air quality we usually think of pollution from vehicles or industry. But in fact, around 40% of the emissions on a red air quality day come from “area source” emissions, which include restaurants, dry cleaners, landscaping equipment, commercial buildings and our homes. When we burn natural gas at home, nitrogen oxide is released, which is part of what creates the “particulates” that we see on red air quality days.
Making simple changes to be more energy efficient can make big changes to our air quality – most of these tips can be done in one afternoon!
To learn more about how you can help improve Utah’s air, visit UCAIR.org.
This story contains sponsored content.