Putting a Home Energy Assessment into ActionPublished on: July 11, 2014
Reports show that investing in energy saving home improvements can produce a return of about 16 percent annually after allowing for the expense of the improvements. As a homeowner, you naturally want to lower your energy costs and reap this kind of return on your investment, but it can be a challenge knowing where to begin. Furnace and air conditioning replacements are perhaps the most common energy saving home improvements, but there are more options available. A home energy assessment is the first move in determining which energy-saving home improvements will best serve your needs and produce the gains you are looking.
Benefits of a Home Energy Assessment
A home energy assessment pinpoints areas of inefficiency and waste in your home’s building envelope. Simply put, the building envelope is what separates the conditioned indoor environment from the outdoor environment. Identifying and correcting these problem areas yields a number of benefits:
- Lower energy costs
- Improved indoor air quality
- Greater comfort
- Reduced carbon footprint
- Improved marketability and resale value of your home
What is Included in an Energy Assessment?
An energy assessment covers three main areas: analyzing your past energy usage, evaluating your home’s energy efficiency and delivering a prioritized list of recommended actions. By reviewing your utility bills, you can identify and understand spikes in your energy consumption. Previous bills also can serve as a comparison to calculate the success of implementing your home energy conservation campaign. Included in the review is a discussion of lifestyle demands and preferences such as hot water usage and lighting needs.
Assessing Your Home’s Energy Efficiency
Properly evaluating your home’s energy efficiency is a critical component of a home energy audit. Some parts of the energy audit you can complete yourself, such as checking for air leaks around windows and doors; other parts, such as inspection of your home’s air ducts, require the services of a professional. Audits may include:
- Heating and air conditioning equipment
- Doors and windows
- Insulation levels
- Shaded and sunny areas
- Square footage of your home
- Blower door test
- Measure effectiveness of principal energy-using appliances
Putting Your Home Energy Assessment into Action
Once a professional contractor completes your home energy assessment, you will receive a written report detailing the results and recommendations. Armed with this information, you will have a blueprint for your home energy assessment action plan. This comprehensive report will include:
- Estimated costs
- Potential savings
- Manufacturer rebates, tax credits and utility company incentives for which you may qualify
Having this information does no good, however, if you are not totally committed to putting your energy assessment plan into action. Your air conditioning contractor should work with you to prioritize recommendations and then create a timetable to implement the action plan based on your concerns, budget and schedule.
Finding a Contractor
Whether your home energy assessment recommendations include air conditioning replacement, programmable controls or solar options, energy conservation is uncomplicated when you work with skilled professionals. Just use our convenient search tool to find an expert in your area and get started on your home energy assessment.