5 High-Tech Summer Energy-Efficiency Boosts for Your Home
Install a solar water heater
Cost: $10,000 to $12,000
You can take advantage of the summer sun by installing a solar water thermal heater on your rooftop to heat water for free.
These units basically pipe water onto your home's roof where the sun heats it, then transfers water to an indoor water tank for later use.
"A solar thermal water-heating system will give you free hot water all summer long -- and most of the winter, too," Sachs says.
The only downside is its hefty cost -- around $10,000 and up, according to Complete Home Evaluation Services.
Sachs concedes that at that price, installing a solar water heater is "not likely to be quickly cost effective."
Add photovoltaic electricity
Cost: $14,000 and up
The sunlight baking so much of the country this summer contains more than enough energy to meet many homeowners' needs -- if they install photovoltaic roof panels to turn it into electricity.
These systems are expensive, but Sachs says you can cut costs significantly by installing photovoltaic panels that produce enough electricity for most but not all of your power consumption.
"Trying to meet your home's entire electric load with solar power instead of relying on your local utility for the last little bit can easily double the cost of a system," he says. "You might only have a couple of hundred hours a year when you use the maximum amount of air conditioning. But if you decide to size your