Until a few years ago, serious efforts to cut home energy consumption and waste were pursued by only a few builders, architects and homeowners. Energy was cheap, plentiful and resources seemed virtually infinite. Now, greatly inflated home fuel bills are a painfully constant reminder that the world’s fuel supplies are indeed limited, even with new discoveries and the us of tar sands in the U.S. and Canada.

Paying more for every type of fuel makes us aware that our disposable income is also finite and cannot be stretched to cover the inflationary spiral ahead of us. The increased costs of fuel have altered many people’s life­ styles. The Vermont homeowner who is now paying as much in energy costs as he or she does for the monthly mortgage payment (in some cases even more), has had to eliminate vacations altogether. The retired couple who moved to Florida on a fixed-income for the good life is now seriously strapped to make ends meet. And middle­ class working families are finding it difficult to maintain their standards of living.

While there are many houses out there today that have been constructed with se­rious energy conservation in mind, there are innumerable older homes that have had a retrofit here and a retrofit there, but overall they remain (or continue to be) energy sieves) A homeowner intent on retaining his or her disposable income to spend the way he or she desires can do so by reducing fuel bills.

Within this website are hundreds of ways to save big bucks on energy costs at home, while driving or getting a little recreation in.

The website is expressly for people living in homes, apartments and condos who want to reduce their energy bills imme­diately. It takes into consideration those who are contemplating the purchase of a new or older home, and is also written for the person contemplating building an addition or converting interior space (attic/basement/garage) into a room or rooms, desiring to maximize energy conservation from the start.

There is no one method of energy conservation; there are many. But where does one begin? You can start anywhere in your home. But the main point is to close off all energy leaks. Then you should change the thinking of family members who might inadvertently be wasting or misusing energy and thereby adding to the monthly bill.

You can begin plugging the energy leaks at home with more insulation. This is a key area and no homeowner can hope to substantially reduce fuel use without a careful and complete study of insulation in the home. We describe the virtues of every type of insulation: we tell you how to apply insulation to finished attics, basement walls, hard-to-get-at crawl spaces and others places; we tell you how to check a so-called “insulated” house to ensure the maximum amount is in place. If you live in a cold area, for instance, and snow melts as soon as it touches the roof, you have a serious energy leak that may be costing you the price of a new camera or a weekend vacation each year.

Doors and windows come next. Stand in front of an exterior door in your home. If you can see the light of day on top, at the sides, or at the bottom of the door, you are literally throwing away money. Multiply this by how many doors you have. For pennies in materials and half an hour’s work, the condition could be eliminated. As for windows, that view you like so much could be costing you a small fortune if the glass is not double-glazed or if storm windows are not added in the winter. Even if you do not want the expense of changing single-pane windows to double-glazed or the addition of aluminum storm windows, we can show you methods of producing storm windows for a fraction of the cost.

We show you how adding an inexpensive vestibule can cut heating loss through doors; details on weather strip­ping, caulking and many other items are also included.

A major area we are all getting socked is with air conditioning during the hot times of the year. We tell you key ways to keep that growing bill lower. You can get a tune-up for greater efficiency, get into better habits of using the system effectively. How humidifiers and dehumidifiers can help you cut overall costs. Heat pumps offer great savings in many climates, especially the latest models. There are also hot water heaters that are now the most efficient ever.

One area that is generally overlooked in older homes and even in some modern homes is ventilation (which can save a great deal on air­ conditioning and heating costs); lighting and appliances and how to maximize their use, especially today’s high tech light bulbs; fireplaces that don’t suck all of the heat out of the room, alternative heat sources, how to take advantage of the sun’s heat.

Some additional areas are energy conserva­tion in home additions and conversion of interior space and energy conservation for homes already built, with planning tips on building your own. Everyone must consider energy conservation during construction not only to save money but to all do our part to help fight against global climate change. This is covered from planning stages as to the best spot for a room addition or window placement on a converted garage, to the laying of a foundation or slab, on up to the shingles on the roof. For building new home or adding on to an existing struc­ture energy conservation features are crucial, but proper site planning is just as important. Proper placement of windows, trees, garage, etc., can save great amounts of energy.

Finally, no matter how well designed a house or addition or converted space is, anything less than 100 percent quality control during construction will result in loss of energy, and loss of money. Insulation, for instance, that is several inches thicker than in any other house in the area, is of no avail unless attached properly.

Buying a new house or an older unit? Checklists on buying an existing home will help you uncover any hid­den energy leaks. It is a “must” today to check last year’s energy bill with the seller. Chances are, the unit could be so poorly built that he or she is trying to sell it to get away from the high energy costs.