11/17/08

Conserving energy (and money) on Hatteras Island

Hatteras Island homeowners face a unique challenge in conserving energy, as during the summer months, when the air conditioners whir and every light in a rental home might be on, the island uses an exorbitant amount of electricity. Thankfully, there are steps you can take to minimize your energy consumption, and bolster your wallet to boot.

Go Green with your light bulbs: Purchasing conservation savvy light bulbs are not only an easy way to use less electricity, but are better for your budget as well. Many of these light bulbs last 3-5 years before they need to be changed, and are particularly perfect for high corridors and cathedral ceilings, where it might be tricky to replace light bulbs on a regular basis.

Check your doors and windows: Sometimes, air conditioners can work overtime trying to cool an area where the windows and doors are not doing their job keeping warm outside air out, and cool air inside. You can replace your windows with energy saving windows and doors, and by doing so, you may even enjoy savings beyond lower electric bills. For the past two years, there has been a tax deduction for purchasing new energy saving doors, windows, air conditioning systems and more. Visit www.irs.gov for details on these savings.

Use Energy Efficient Window Treatments: Your rental guests love an ocean or sound view, but this can sometimes cause your air conditioning unit to work harder than it has to, when the west side windows heat up in the afternoon, or the sun beats in the early morning. This “free solar heat” in the summer can be avoided by adding room darkening or insulated curtains and transparent window films.

Add guest friendly notes: Sometimes, while on vacation, visitors can forget the simple steps it might take to be conservation friendly because they are too busy just relaxing and having a good time. A simple note on a refrigerator or near an entrance that reads “Please help us save energy by keeping doors and windows closed while running the AC – Thank you!” might serve as a helpful reminder. It also helps to label your light switches to indicate which switch goes to which light, like “dining area” or “porch light.” This is not only extremely helpful to guests in an unfamiliar rental home, but will help keep guests from accidentally turning on a deck or outside light and leaving it on all day or night.

Recycle: Green guests will appreciate homes that offer recycling, and Hatteras Island offers its own opt-in recycling program for rental homeowners. The rates are reasonable, and in the end, you might just encourage those green guests to rent again next year. For more information, visit http://hatterasrecycle.com.

There are many easy steps everyone can do to make sure their rental home is using the least amount of energy possible in an area that consumes more than its fair share of energy in the busy summer season. And the best part about going green for island homeowners might not just be catering to a more enlightened clientele, but also enjoying that extra “green” in an unexpected spot – their wallets.

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