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SH Bookshelf: Setting goals to save energy

Homeowners who are serious about reducing energy costs can turn to two books that provide real-world, hands-on advice and practical solutions. "The Homeowner’s Handbook to Energy Efficiency," by John Krigger and Chris Dorsi, starts by advocating the development of a plan for your home and explains how to analyze your energy consumption, calculate your energy costs, schedule a home energy audit and set goals. It then delves right to the heart of the matter, tackling such topics as water heating, lighting and appliances, heating and cooling, landscaping, insulation, and windows and doors. It also includes a chapter on how to find and seal air leaks, and takes a look at solar-photovoltaic systems as well as new home basics. The bottom line, the authors explain, is that all homes can be improved. (Saturn Resource Management; $24.95)

Now in its 10th printing, "Consumer Guide to Home Energy Savings," by Jennifer Thorne Amann, Alex Wilson and Katie Ackerly, starts with a "Home Energy Checklist of Actions" that can guide you today, this week, this month and this year to reduce your home’s energy consumption. It then devotes chapters to the building envelope, ventilation, heating and cooling systems, water heating, cooking, lighting and home electronics, among other topics, explaining in clear, practical terms how to reduce energy use in each area. Along the way, handy charts explain how to select a new heating and cooling system and detail the energy costs of a typical water heater and home office equipment. (New Society Publishers; $18.95)