Did you know that the typical U.S. family spends about $2,200 a year on their home’s energy bills?
Unfortunately, a large portion of that energy is wasted. And each year, electricity generated by fossil fuels for a single home puts more carbon dioxide into the air than two average cars. The good news is that there is a lot you can do to save energy and money at home.
The key to achieving these savings in your home is a whole-home energy-efficiency plan. To take a whole-house approach, view your home as an energy system with interdependent parts. For example, your heating system is not just a furnace-it’s a heat-delivery system that starts at the furnace and delivers heat throughout your home using a network of ducts. Even a top-of-the-line, energy-efficient furnace will waste a lot of fuel if the ducts, walls, attic, windows and doors are not properly sealed and insulated. Taking a whole-house approach to saving energy ensures that the dollars you invest to save energy are spent wisely.
Energy-efficient improvements not only make your home more comfortable, they can yield long? term financial rewards. Reduced utility bills more than make up for the higher price of energy? efficient appliances and improvements over their lifetimes. In addition, your home could bring in a higher price when you sell.
STEPS YOU CAN TAKE
The first step to taking a whole-house energy-efficiency approach is to find out which parts of your house use the most energy. A home energy inspection will pinpoint those areas and provide the most effective measures for cutting your energy costs. You can conduct a simple home energy inspection yourself, contact your local utility, or call an InterNACHI-Certified Energy Inspector for a more comprehensive assessment.
Once you assign priorities to your energy needs, you can form a whole-house efficiency plan. Your plan will provide you with a strategy for making smart purchases and home improvements that maximize energy efficiency and save the most money.
Another option is to get the advice of a professional. A professional contractor can analyze how well your home’s energy systems work together and compare the analysis to your utility bills. He or she will use a variety of equipment, such as blower doors, infrared cameras, and surface thermometers to find leaks and drafts. After gathering information about your home, the contractor or auditor will give you a list of recommendations for cost-effective energy improvements and enhanced comfort and safety. A reputable contractor can also calculate the return on your investment in high-efficiency equipment compared with standard equipment.
Be sure to hire an InterNACHI-Certified Home Energy Inspector, who abides by a Code of Ethics that prevents him or her from working on the property they inspect and, without exception, does not allow conflicts of interest to exist.
To find a Home Energy Inspector, visit www.nachi.org/go/find.