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LizzieWeakley posted a blog entry in Lizzie Weakley's Green BlogIn the past few years, there have been advances in energy efficiency that make investing in efficient appliances and upgrades more cost-effective. The basic principles that help homeowners save energy have been known for a long time, but it is only recently that energy efficient tech has become cheap enough to make the investment worthwhile. This article will discuss some of the best ways to save energy in the home and discuss the recent advances that have made it worthwhile to upgrade the home. Appliances The Energy Star standard is more than just a way to point out which brands save energy- it provides detailed information about how much energy an appliance is expected to consume during use. Having an energy efficient refrigerator can save quite a lot of money because the fridge needs to run constantly, so it is always using electricity. Other good candidates for an efficiency upgrade are the air conditioner and light bulbs. Heat Leakage The single biggest energy loss comes from heating up the house in the winter and cooling it in the summer. Part of the problem is that heat is leaking out in the winter and in during the summer through cracks and gaps in the house's construction. One of the best ways to counteract this effect is with upgraded door and window frames. Frames without good sealing are prime zones for heat leakage, and closing them up can save a lot in heating and cooling costs. For example, Gilkey Windows can install heat-efficient windows as an upgrade to older frames that have gaps or poor sealing material. Smart-Home Systems A smart home is a system of appliances that are networked together with computer hardware and software. You can control this system by setting up preferences and instructions about when to turn appliances on and off. This can save money by, for example, reducing temperature controls when everyone is asleep or away from the house, and then turning the controls back on when people are about to wake up or return home. That combines comfort with efficient use of the appliances for energy savings that don't need to sacrifice ease of use. Once you are familiar with the basic principles of energy efficiency, it becomes easy to find places to upgrade your home and save money. It takes an up-front investment in a more efficient improvement, but in the long run the energy savings pay off.