A Home Energy Audit Can Help You Go Green and Save Green
“Going green” is an inescapable buzz-phrase these days, and we’re all looking for ways to reduce our impact on the environment. And in today’s economic climate, “saving green” — ie. cash — is just as important. When it comes to energy usage and savings in your home, “waste not, want not” should be your mantra. Thus, it’s imperative that you become aware of those items, areas and behaviors that are causing you to needlessly waste energy.
The key to becoming aware of your energy usage is to perform an energy audit or assessment of your home to help you figure out how much you’re using and where you can make changes to become more energy efficient. An energy audit will also identify areas that could be costing you money and pin-point things you can do to help you save on utility costs.
You can conduct a simple do-it-yourself energy audit or hire a professional for a more thorough inspection. Both options should give you a comprehensive picture of your energy consumption and provide solutions for saving money and improving efficiency.
If you choose to do your own energy audit, the government-sponsored Energy Star program has a fantastic tool called the Home Energy Yardstick. You’ll need to collect your utility bills from the past 12 months and know your home’s primary energy source (e.g. gas, electricity, oil, propane) You’ll also need to know the square footage of your house and the year it was built. If you can’t locate bills from the past year, you can request a 12 month utility summary from your energy provider. The website will help you calculate and compare your home’s energy efficiency with similar homes in your area and around the country. It will also give you tips for making improvements. The best part is it only takes about five minutes to complete.
Professional energy auditors use a variety of equipment to perform tests on all different aspects of energy efficiency and can give you very specific recommendations for implementing changes. Some of the tests a professional auditor might run include using blower doors that check for leaks and drafts, and infrared cameras that can detect problems with insulation. Some utility companies offer incentives or special discounts for customers who participate. To locate a professional energy auditor near you, ask for a referral from your utility company, search your local yellow pages under ‘Energy’ or use Energy Star’s partner locator.
If you live in Delaware, Pennsylvania or Maryland, your local utility company has many online tools that can help you perform a home energy audit:
Some of the most common recommendations that result from energy audits are really simple changes you can make almost immediately that can have a significant impact on your home’s energy consumption.
- Inspect lamps and light fixtures. Consider using traditional bulbs with lower wattage or switching to compact florescent bulbs. These last longer than regular light bulbs and can save more than 3% on your electric bill.
- Take a look at your heating and cooling equipment regularly. Look for problem areas, replace filters often, repair tears in ductwork right away, and have units professionally cleaned at least once a year. It’s also a good idea to thoroughly insulate pipes that pass exposed through unheated places.
- In older homes, inspect insulation levels in basements, attics and walls.Check for any signs of deterioration, animal activity, gapping, or moisture accumulation. Damaged or insufficient insulation can increase your energy usage and cost you money.
Horizon Can Help You With Your Energy Audit Needs!
Contact Horizon Services to schedule a FREE, no-obligation In-Home Energy Analysis and Consultation. An experienced Horizon Comfort Advisor will come to your home to discuss with you your energy-saving needs. He/she will inspect and measure your home, assess your current heating and air conditioning system (including ductwork) and review heating and cooling options that will use energy more efficiently and can save up to 35% off your utility bills!