Features of a Sustainable Home

Use the navigation arrows below to view graphics highlighting interior and yard diagrams. 

sustainable home diagram
sustainable home diagram
sustainable home diagram

Efficient Lighting

Install energy-efficient LED light bulbs. Generally, LED bulbs are 90% efficient, CFL bulbs 85% efficient, while incandescent bulbs are only 10% efficient. Keep and eye out for an ENERGY STAR seal which means the product meets strict energy efficiency guidelines set by the US Environmental Protection Agency. Go to the ENERGY STAR website to find efficient light bulbs, determine your cost savings, and find rebates. 

Residential homes can also conduct a Home Energy Squad visit in coordination with Xcel Energy and Center for Energy and Environment which will change out all of your light bulbs to LED bulbs.


Weatherization could include air sealing, exterior wall and attic insulation, moisture control, and ventilation. Conduct a Home Energy Squad visit to determine what weatherization measures can be taken on your home. At the audit, a blower door test will be performed to determine any air leaks and an inspection of home insulation will be completed to determine if any improvements can be made. Learn more about weatherization here

Off-Peak Electric Meter 

If you are a high-energy user during the off-peak times then an off-peak meter might be a good choice for you. The off-peak times are 10:00 pm to 6:30 am. You would pay a lower rate during off-peak times and a higher rate during peak times. Learn more at Xcel Energy

Air Source Heat Pump (ASHP)

ASHPs can save MN homeowners 30%-55% on home heating costs and can operate efficiently to as low as -20° F and can now operate with dual heat sources. More information on ASHPs can be found here. Rebates and incentives are also available now to transition to ASHPs which can be found here.

Heat Recovery Ventilation 

Energy recovery ventilation systems provide a controlled way of ventilating a home while minimizing energy loss. Heat recovery ventilators (HRVs) or energy recovery ventilation (ERV) systems transfer heat or coolness from stale exhaust air to fresh intake air. Both types include a heat exchanger. This balanced ventilation solution removes excess moisture, odors, and contaminants while conserving energy and enhancing comfort. More information on energy recovery ventilation systems can be found here.

Heat Pump Water Heater (HPWH) 

HPWHs are similar to Air Source Heat Pumps where the system uses electricity to move heat from outdoor air into indoor water. HPWHs use electricity to move heat from one place to another instead of generating heat directly. These are efficient systems compared to the traditional water heaters. More information on HPWHs can be found here and here.

Low-Flow Water Fixtures 

These fixtures installed on your faucets and showerheads can reduce your water consumption and save on your water bill. Look for WaterSense labels when purchasing new faucets, showerheads, and even toilets that meet the EAP criteria. Making the transition to WaterSense fixtures can save the average family 700 gallons of water per year. More information can be found on the EPA website

Install Ceiling Fans

Ceiling fans can reduce the need to heat your home to save money and energy. Fans cool people, not rooms, so fans should ideally be installed 7-9 feet from the floor and 10-12 inches below the ceiling. If you purchase a new fan, ensure that the fan has earned the ENERGY STAR ® rating. Find more information on the benefits of ceiling fans and how to purchase an efficient fan here

Smart Thermostat 

A smart thermostat allows a homeowner to set a heating/cooling schedule and the system can be controlled by your phone for convenience. Even if you go on vacation you can set a specific schedule for that period of time. This allows homeowners to increase heating/cooling efficiency and to save on energy costs. During a Home Energy Squad visit a smart thermostat can be installed for free or at a reduced rate. Schedule a Home Energy Squad visit here

Electric & Energy Star Appliances

Installing new equipment that is electric and efficient like ENERGY STAR products can save on energy costs, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and improve indoor air quality. You can find a list of ENERGY STAR products here