Similar to any procedure, seldom do people want to get a Home energy audit, however it is the best way to identify the problem and focus the remedy. North American homeowners need to join the rest of the developed world and make our homes more energy efficient.
4 reasons why we all don’t upgrade- which excuse do you use?
1. Cost analysis
For some reason we are trained to do a cost analysis on anything we do to our homes. Save yourself the time as the reality is that even with government programs and opportunity to reduce utility costs seldom does a cost analysis show a benefit.
- Let’s think differently about justifying some time and money to reduce the impact, inefficient homes have on the environment.
- Let’s think differently about how our European neighbours can use substantially less energy per square foot of living space than we do in North America.
2. Lipstick wins
We are a society focused on the look rather than the function. Fixing air leaks, buying energy efficient bulbs or appliances seldom get you praise from jealous friends.
- Let’s change perception and begin to brag about our home efficiency, compare your numbers to your friends.
- Look around your home and ask yourself;
- Do we NEED 20 plus pot lights in a room, all on one switch?
- Do we NEED plasma TV’s in every room of the house?
- Do we Need long hot showers every day?
- Do we Need long hot showers every day?
3. The great run around
If we want to increase the efficiency of our homes we often get a variety of opinions about the cure before knowing the illness.
- Call a contractor and he will say “insulate the basement walls”, call a heating contractor and he will say “replace the furnace”, call an insulation company and they will say “add insulation to the attic”! Which one do we listen to, which one will have the greatest impact on energy efficiency?
4. Pareto Principal
We all know the 80/20 rule or some version of it, house hold energy costs are a small fraction of our overall costs, therefore energy efficiency does not get the attention needed. We naturally look at the big items like how to reduce mortgage or save on taxes not how to save 15% on my energy costs when it is typically less than 10% of my household costs.
The change of season is the only time we consider improvements on home energy efficiency. Don’t worry, procrastinate a bit longer and soon the winter will be half way through and conveniently too late to make any improvement, or so you will tell yourself!
3 essential steps to successfully increasing the efficiency of your home!
1. Play the game!
Size doesn’t matter- The reality is that any effort to improve the energy efficiency of your home is a step in the right direction.
- Choose efficient light bulbs when they need to be replaced.
- Need a new appliance, make sure it is energy efficient by looking for the energy star rating or look for product ratings.
- Check and change your furnace filter on a regular basis.
- Clean the lint basket from your dryer.
- Un-plug battery chargers.
- Put outside lights on timers or switch to solar lights.
The little things will add up to large improvements, we all thank-you for anything you do!
Vampire hunting- Make searching for those money sucking phantom electrical devices. Remember that off doesn’t always mean off, look for;
- cell phones chargers,
- computer monitors,
- anything with a remote,
- coffee makers,
- microwaves clocks,
- stove clocks.
- Think about all the devices that run on batteries and have a recharging station, does the device shut off automatically when battery is charged?
A watt-hour meter is a great device that will cost you $20.00 to $50.00. the device plugs in between the appliance or widget and the receptacle. A great game with kids is to check every device in the house and record the cost per hour of use on a yellow sticky pad. Kids will understand which devices use the most energy.
2. Have a starting point!
You can’t figure out where your going until you find out where you are! A home energy assessment or audit is the best way to begin the adventure of getting your home as energy efficient as you can. The audit will identify challenges, let’s you prioritize your efforts and make the greatest impact. Implement a cost barrier between costly projects and non costly, try to knock out one large project per year, soon your home will be on its way to being energy efficient.
3. Key Performance Indicators
The challenge to making a good KPI is to make it consistently measurable. Get away from measuring the dollars “how much we spent on hydro” start talking about units. Units per square foot of living space is something you can track even if you add on an addition or move to a new home. You can compare units per square foot of your house against regional or national averages.
- Go here to see how you rate as compared with neighbors
- Register for a free account on quinju.com record your audit results, the actions taken and the results achieved all in one convenient place.
Related story from a subscriber;
Recently we decided to refinish hardwood floors in our 80-year-old-home. We didn’t want dust going throughout the house so we installed a large fan in one of the windows to pull dust out, worked great. At one point I bent down to pull a plug from an outside wall receptacle and felt cool air. I quickly realized that the fan was creating a negative pressure and air was being pulled in through weak spots in the house envelope. My curiosity on fire, I walked around my house with a wet hand looking for more leaks. I fixed some obvious areas but now scheduled a professional home energy audit to really understand where my homes energy efficiency rating is today.
Do you know what energy poverty is?What is energy poverty
In the developed world energy poverty is a term that refers to households who spend more than 10% of their income on electricity and heating fuel. A great national indicator, as it compares cost of modern living to income. If the rate of energy poverty is increasing than a challenge exists. The challenge may be reduction education, attitude to what we need to live or some other variable that needs to be identified before acted on. Learn more by reading this report.