Energy-Efficient Home Improvements
By investing in home improvements, you can save money over the long term and contribute to Hawai‘i's energy goals. Here are the areas where changes you make can have the greatest impact on your energy bill and the planet.
Passive Solar Design
Consider employing passive solar design features, including overhangs, windows with reflective coatings, and reflective coatings on your exterior walls and roof to help keep your home comfortably cool. Learn more about passive solar design through the Hawai‘i Homeowner's Guide to Energy, Comfort, and Value (PDF 632 KB).
When you're in the market for new appliances, be sure to buy energy-efficient appliances to reduce your electric bills and your carbon footprint. Look for the ENERGY STAR label when buying new home appliances and products. ENERGY STAR products meet strict efficiency guidelines set by DOE and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Hawaii Appliance Rebate Programs
By installing appliances that carry the ENERGY STAR label, most Hawai'i households can save nearly $80 per year on energy costs, depending on the appliances and their usage.
The Public Utilities Commission has an appliance rebate program managed by the Science Applications International Corporation's Hawaii Energy program. For more information, Oahu, Big Island, Maui, Moloka‘i, and Lana‘i residents can contact Hawaii Energy at 808-537-5577.
Kauai Island Utility Cooperative also has an appliance rebate program. For more information, contact Ray Mierta at 808-246-8280.
- ENERGY STAR labeled hot water heaters came on the market in January 2009.
- ENERGY STAR solar hot water heaters are a cost-efficient, energy-saving choice for Hawai‘i homes.
- ENERGY STAR labeled refrigerators use at least 15% less energy than required by federal standards.
- Central air-conditioners that bear the ENERGY STAR label may be 25% more efficient than standard models. ENERGYSTAR qualified room air-conditioners are also available.
- ENERGY STAR clothes washers use less than 50% of the energy used by standard washers.
- Estimate how much energy your appliances use using a formula provided by DOE.
- Find ENERGY STAR-qualified appliances.
- Find out where to buy ENERGY STAR products.
Efficient Swimming Pool Heating
Heating a swimming pool can consume a lot of energy and add up to high heating bills. You can improve your pool's energy efficiency when you follow these tips from DOE:
- Install a high-efficiency or solar pool heater.
- Use a pool cover.
- Manage the water temperature.
- Install a smaller, energy-efficient pump and/or operate it less.
Solar Water Heating
A solar water heater can reduce your electricity bill by 35%, and with tax breaks and utility rebates, you can recoup your initial costs in two years or less—and continue to for years. Learn more about financial incentives:
- ENERGY STAR provides information on federal tax credits for solar water heating.
- DSIRE (Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency) provides information on Hawai‘i utility rebates for solar heating.
Consider applying for a "green" loan or home equity loan to install solar panels (also called photovoltaics). Over time, the system can pay for itself through energy savings, profits from selling extra electricity to the utility (called net metering), tax credits, and real estate appreciation.