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Home energy resource guide

Homeowners who want to cut their energy bills have a lot of options — and a lot of important decisions to make. Fortunately, you can turn to a wide range of energy-related resources for assistance. The following organizations, companies and institutions can provide the information you need to make the right choices.

Saving Starts @ Home
Visit this colorful and comprehensive website to get the inside story on saving energy. Just click the various rooms on an interactive illustration of a typical home to view ways to reduce energy costs by making simple improvements to your attic, kitchen, living room, utility room and garage. For instance, move your refrigerator away from the stove or dishwasher; or plant a tree, which will shade your home and keep it cooler in the summer.

Your Home
To dig a little deeper, visit this useful page, which serves as a focal point for accessing the Department of Energy’s many online tools and resources. Find out how to determine your home’s energy use, access the do-it-yourself Home Energy Saver audit tool, research home heating fuels, learn how to save energy with home improvements and much more.

Energy Right
A program of the Tennessee Valley Authority, or TVA, the nation’s largest public power company, the Energy Right site provides access to all sorts of online tools and data, including an energy calculator, energy comparison tool and online energy library. You can also find out how to read your electric meter, access an online home energy audit program and learn about heat pumps and energy-efficient water heaters.

BuildingGreen fuel cost calculator
Can you save money by switching to another fuel? You can find out on BuildingGreen’s interactive site, which enables you to easily compare the costs of different fuels. To get started, just select a fuel, enter your local price and select your home’s heater and distribution system.

Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency
This valuable online database provides a state-by-state listing of state, local, utility and federal incentives designed to promote the use of renewable energy. By clicking your state on the site’s interactive map, you can find out what types of rebates or incentives are offered where you live. A few minutes spent here could save you thousands on a renewable-energy installation.

Consumer Guide to Home Energy Savings
Start with the Home Energy Checklist, which suggests simple tasks you can perform today, this week, this month and this year to save energy. You can also read up on energy-efficient appliances, find out how to choose a contractor and learn about recycling and disposing of appliances.

National Solar Tour
Want to find out firsthand how solar energy works? By joining a solar tour in your area, you can visit solar homes, speak with other homeowners, talk to experts, learn about energy-efficiency strategies and methods, and get the details about costs. Thousands of homes and buildings nationwide will participate in the open-to-the-public tour, which takes place on Oct. 5. Other related tours are scheduled from September to November. On the American Solar Energy Society’s (ASES) website, you can also learn more about solar energy options in your area.

How big is your carbon footprint? You can find out at Terrapass by calculating the carbon footprint for your home, car or air travel. A seller of carbon credits, Terrapass also explains how carbon offsets work and details the various projects its carbon credits support. In addition, you can find out about gadgets you can use to measure and monitor your home’s energy use and your carbon footprint.

If you’ve been thinking of switching to green energy, check out the options on this site. Depending on where you live, you can choose from a number of options that will enable you to purchase energy from renewable sources or offset your non-renewable energy use with renewable-energy credits. You can also calculate your home’s carbon footprint.

Net Metering Programs by State
Wondering if your state has a net metering program, which would enable you to sell excess power you generate with a wind or solar energy system back to your utility? Check the comprehensive maps on this site (for both solar and wind power).