Why Energy-Audits are the Best Investment
A professional auditor will also:
~Test the efficiency of your heating and cooling units – heating and cooling units are often improperly sized and/or are old and not maintained.
~Test for gas leaks – they are not always detected by sense of smell
~Detect mold and moisture – mold is a common problem in basements with old, cracked foundations not properly insulated
~Test the ducts for leakiness – 30% of the air can escape through improperly sealed ducts. A duct blaster will locate the leakiest ducts in the house.
~Determine if the combustion appliances are vented properly – flue tests are performed to make sure that gas appliances are properly vented to the outside
Once the auditor completes the testing at your home they will prepare a diagnostic report. The report will contain recommended upgrades, estimated payback and annual savings.
Upgrades in order of most cost effective are:
~Heating & Cooling units
Feel Better at Home
By upgrading the insulation, sealing your ducts and eliminating gas leaks, your home will be more comfortable for the entire family. Energy audit recommendations upgrade your home’s:
- Comfort Proper sizing of heating and cooling units will ensure your home remains comfortable year-round. Air sealing will reduce drafts, moisture, and aid in temperature consistency throughout the home.
- Air Quality Duct sealing will help reduce the amount of dust in the house. Reduction of mold and dust will improve your family’s health.
- Sound Quality Energy efficient appliances run quieter than standard appliances.
- Ambiance Efficient lighting systems provide a better ambiance in the home.
Upgrades like these will lead to increases in productivity and clarity. For many, these benefits will outweigh the value of savings in cash!!!
Improve the Environment
Implementing energy efficiency in your home will reduce the amount of pollution added to the atmosphere. Choosing energy efficient products is one of the smartest ways you can help prevent greenhouse gas emissions. Americans, with the help of ENERGY STAR, saved enough energy in one year alone to avoid greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to those from 23 million cars — all while saving $12 billion on their utility bills. Additionally, the savings in energy can be used to invest in green energy produced from clean sources such as solar panels and geothermal, thereby reducing the greenhouse gases even further.
Time to Save Gas
The US consumes almost 9 million barrels of gasoline daily, estimated at 44% of total global daily gasoline consumption. According to the Alliance to Save Energy, at today’s gas prices ($2.25 per gallon), US households driving SUVs can expect to spend $2,860 on fuel in one year, while households driving hybrid-electric vehicles will spend between $800 and $1,580 per year on gas. Also, going easy on the gas pedal can save 30% on gas. Fueleconomy.gov has gas mileage estimates and other information for cars from the current model year back to 1984. Selecting which vehicle to purchase is the most important fuel economy decision you’ll make. The difference between a car that gets 20 MPG and one that gets 30 MPG amounts to $563 per year (assuming 15,000 miles of driving annually and a fuel cost of $2.30). That’s $2,813 extra in fuel costs over five years!
Soon, electric vehicles will be more widely available, including plug-in hybrids that enjoy the best of both worlds. Until that time, enjoy a home energy audit today and take advantage of the rebates available.
Things To Do In the Meantime
~Set thermostats no higher than 68 degrees in winter and no lower than 78 in summer. Turn your heat down at night or when you’re not home. Each degree in winter can increase heating costs by 3%. In summer, each degree raises cooling costs by 6%. Savings: $325-500/yr
~Lower the temperature on your hot water heater to between 110 and 120 degrees. To have it any hotter is a waste of energy. Savings: $20-40/yr
~Cut back on use of the clothes dryer. It’s a big energy drain, and also sucks heated air out of your house in winter. Use a clothes line whenever possible. Savings: $25-50/yr
~Do full loads of laundry. A typical full load uses 21 gallons of water. A small load uses 14 gallons. Several small loads use much more water than one or two large loads. Savings: $25-$125/yr
~Run the dishwasher only when full. Let dishes air-dry instead of heat-dry. Savings: $35-55/yr
~Fix running toilets or leaking faucets promptly. They can use more than 8,000 gallons of water a year.Savings: $25-125/yr
~Use warm or cold water for washing clothes, always rinse in cold water. Savings: $50/yr
Efficiency investments save consumers money, increase consumer comfort, reduce air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, and enhance economic competitiveness, as well as promoting energy reliability and security. In California an aggressive campaign reduced electricity use by 7% in just one year, and thus helped avoid further shortages.
Leia Sims is a CEM, certified energy auditor with the Building Performance Institute as a Building Analyst, Heating Specialist, Shell Specialist, and Multifamily Building Analyst. Her company, Bright Alternatives, provides energy consulting, auditing and presentations. for more information contact [email protected]