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Surprises (and savings) in our latest report on energy

Consumer Reports News: September 06, 2011 06:08 AM

Did you know that the electronic devices in your home might be costing you as much to power as your kitchen appliances, if not more? Or that putting the right material on your roof could lower your cooling costs by as much as 20 percent? Those are just two of the surprising findings from our latest report on energy efficiency in the October 2011 issue of Consumer Reports, available on newsstands and online today.

The report looks at what's new, what works, and what to think about for five energy-intensive areas of your home: appliances, electronics, heating and cooling, energy management, and envelope (i.e. your roof, windows, and doors). If your household is like the national average, you'll pay about $2,200 this year in total home energy costs. Following our advice could significantly reduce that expense. For example, simply insulating the attic, sealing and insulating leaky duct work, and eliminating air leaks with a combination of caulk, foam board, expandable sealant, and weather stripping could lower your annual energy bills by around $500.

Electronics are another potential source of savings. If you have a set-top box that's used with a high-definition digital video recorder, the system as a whole might be consuming more electricity than your refrigerator. Upgrading to a set-top box that meets Energy Star's 3.0 specifications (effective September 1) will bring that consumption down.

For more ways to save, read the full report, which includes our latest lightbulb Ratings, as well as our first-ever review of a residential wind turbine. And beyond the October 2011 report, many of our product Ratings include energy consumption data, which will help you find the most energy-efficient (and top-performing) refrigerator, washing machine, dishwasher, TV, and more.

Daniel DiClerico

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