Finding savings potential is the life of an Energy Auditor. The fun part is simple: no two homes are exactly the same and finding power savings potential in each home is golden. Looking for areas where energy efficiency can be increased and electric waste can be stopped becomes an energy auditors hunt for gold. Every home has energy efficiency potential, whether the home was constructed in 1911 or one hundreds years later.
The trouble is, we all can not be trained energy auditors: we all can not run around our homes with a blower door and a smoke puffer. To most of us, a duct blaster would do us about as much good as a gold pan and metal detector.
The potential for saving electricity is usually found in areas of a home where something is missing. A n energy auditor looks for missing components of home power efficiency. Across the country, typical homes use as much as two times the energy as is necessary to maintain comfort and convenience. This unnecessary power use costs about 45 billion annually.
Are your power bills heading north and growing like a redwood? Well, you are simply doing your part in covering that 45 billion. Little here and a little there, we do our best to help pay for the countries energy waste. The missing insulation, air sealing, and lack of efficient heating and cooling systems drives the waste that costs us all so much.
Fortunately, we do not need to continue to pay a share of the countries waste, we can choose to look for the potential savings in our home and let the neighbors pay the waste bill.
The do-it-yourself energy auditor with a desire for lower power bills has a better chance of finding energy savings than the average prospector with a gold dredge. If looking for energy waste is not your thing, but you would like to save energy and lower your power bill, contact you power provider and inquire about their program for providing free home energy audits. You will be surprised how much your power provider would like to have you save energy.
Use the Retrofit to Increase Energy Efficiency:
A retrofit is a change or addition to a home, or the homes heating system, that increases conservation. Retrofits can be the result of a homeowner that is sick of energy waste and high power bills or retrofits can be part of a weatherization program. Across the country – State and County weatherization programs set a great example for saving energy.
The weatherization programs are often utility sponsored and households that take part save about 23% on heating cost and 26% on cooling. All income level households can find some level of weatherization program that will assist them in conservation retrofits by contacting their power provider.
Residential weatherization programs use four main strategies to reach potential energy efficiency.
Retrofits to the building shell:
Studies in home electrical and gas waste point to holes in the building shell as a huge contributor to energy waste. Energy Auditors have learned that air leakage can vary greatly from home to home and energy savings come primarily from plugging large leaks.
Improved insulation products and installation methods have made retrofit insulation projects increasingly effective in maintaining an efficient thermal barrier. Insulation, air sealing, and heating duct sealing are cost effective by paying for themselves in energy savings in just a few years.
The continued development of improved window glass, coatings, and window frame stability have made window retrofits increasingly more energy efficient.
Old residential heating, cooling, and water heating systems perform inefficiently. New testing equipment and maintenance techniques can improve the energy efficiency of existing equipment and delivery systems. The energy auditor with a duct blaster can test your heating and cooling delivery system and provide accurate data on the efficiency of the system.
Improve Mechanical Equipment:
The efficiency of heating, cooling, and water heating equipment improved from 30% to 60% from 1973 to 1993. Equipment manufactures have continued to make improvements and today, gas furnaces have reached 95% efficient. Heat pumps and heat pump water heaters have made great strides and challenge natural gas in efficiency.
The Energy Star program has regulated appliance efficiency until the standard household appliances are more energy efficient than ever before. The refrigerator, dishwasher, and clothes washer operate on just 50% of the energy that was needed 20 years ago.
Central to any retrofit weatherization program is household education. Occupant awareness of power saving equipment and methods is central to maximizing savings. The price of power may rise and fall, but our determination to increase household conservation and get the most out of our efficient equipment and appliances must not be a factor of the cost of energy. We all can see the dollar sign on a power bill, but successful household conservation requires a lifestyle adjustment.
Along with providing weatherization and home energy audit services, your power provider has likely developed a strong energy education program. In some cases, an Energy Educator can visit your home and provide a professional presentation and offer informational literature.
Join the energy auditors and the weatherization programs and look for the energy efficient potential of your home. Don’t just live in your home and pay the electric and gas bill, look for your homes energy efficiency potential like a gold prospector would look for a pot of gold. Chances are, you’ll find more gold in your house than Gabby and his donkey can find in yellow bottom creek.