The average U.S. residential energy bill is $2,060 per year, according to Energy Star; however, there are many actions homeowners can take to increase the energy-efficiency of their homes and decrease their monthly energy bills. A home energy audit is a great way to start because it determines where and how much energy is used in a home.
Home Energy Savings and why it’s important
Energy efficiency is the practice of minimizing energy use while still fulfilling the energy need. Using less energy in your home is good for both the environment and your wallet. Taking the appropriate efficiency measures can help you use less energy and protect the environment from air pollution caused by harmful fossil fuels.
With the cost of energy at an all-time high, it’s more important than ever to find ways to reduce your energy consumption.
Why is an Energy Audit important for my home?
Energy audits don’t just look at energy use, waste, and consumption, they also make recommendations for low-cost, high-return repairs, including which problem areas to prioritize and the approximate costs of repairs.
Here are some tips to keep your house cool during summer months and your electricity bill low.
- Get a home energy score audit - Energy auditors will pinpoint exactly where you're wasting energy and offer you expert advice on how to save energy and reduce your energy bills. Energy auditors have a trained eye and professional tools to spot energy-sucking areas of the home the average homeowner may not notice.
- Replace old light bulbs with LED light bulbs – One simple and easy way to reduce your energy bill is to switch to energy-efficient light bulbs, such as LEDs. Incandescent light bulbs use heat instead of light to release most of their energy, which increases their consumption. In addition, LED bulbs tend to last ten times longer than incandescent bulbs and can be fitted for your lifestyle, as they have unique features including dimmable and multicolor lights.
- Upgrade to energy-efficient appliances - When purchasing an energy-efficient appliance, look for with the ENERGY STAR label, a federal guarantee that the appliance will consume less energy while in use and on standby than standard models. On average, ENERGY STAR washers consume 25% less energy and 45% less water than conventional ones, and ENERGY STAR refrigerators use 9% less energy.
- Seal air leaks around windows and doors - When it comes to energy use, windows can be a true ally or a serious enemy to your home’s energy efficiency. For instance, if your windows are old and have single-pane glass, you could be losing a lot of air from inside your home, which could add up to 25 to 30 percent of your air conditioning costs. Whereas new, Energy Star-rated windows may be expensive up front, but they can result in significant savings over time because they prevent your cold or hot air from escaping. If you're not able to invest in new windows, you could still increase your home’s efficiency by weatherizing or repairing windows.
- Make use of natural sunlight - Lighting accounts for a significant amount of energy use. Utilizing natural light is a smart way to reduce your energy consumption while still having light in your home. You can also keep note of the weather conditions in your area and adjust your windows and curtains to help heat or cool your home. Sunlight is free, thus helping you save money and energy, and there’s nothing quite like some fresh sunlight to brighten up your home!
Use a programmable thermostat to regulate temperatures automatically - Smart thermostats are devices that can be programmed to turn on or off, reducing heating and cooling during times when you're asleep or away from home. It's estimated that this will save homeowners on average up to $180 per year!
Unplug electronics when not in use - We often don’t pay attention to whether our devices are plugged in or not; however, appliances that are plugged in but not in use still consume energy. Unplug appliances when they are not in use to decrease energy usage around the house. You can also use a power strip with an on/off switch to make it easier to decrease electricity use by powering off multiple electronics at once.
Use smart power strips – Electronics that are plugged in but not in use are referred to as “phantom loads” because even though they are not actively using energy, they are still sucking energy. In fact, household electronics use up to 75% of their energy when switched off, which can increase your energy bill by $200 a year. Smart power strips stop phantom loads by cutting off the electricity to electronics while they are not in use. They can also be programmed to turn off at a specific time or after a predetermined amount of inactivity.
Check Your Home Insulation to Save Energy - Poor insulation can make it harder for your HVAC unit to keep your home properly heated or cooled. This not only results in more energy usage and higher electric bills, but also increases the wear and tear on your HVAC unit. Consider having an Infrared Thermography Scan by a trained professional to check for issues with your home’s insulation. Identifying and mitigating these issues early can help lower your energy bills and extend the life of your HVAC unit!
What is a Home Energy Score?
In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy developed the Home Energy Score Program, which is designed to give homeowners, buyers, and renters insight into their home’s energy efficiency so they can make improvements to reduce energy waste and cut costs.
To determine your home energy score, a trained home energy score assessor goes through a checklist of energy-related assets, including your HVAC, doors and windows, attic, basement and crawlspace. Based on their findings, they can compile a complete home energy report. There are three parts to this report: the energy score, an estimation of energy use and costs, and ways you can improve energy efficiency.
How Does a Home Energy Score Help Me?
The energy-saving recommendations provided in your home energy report can help you save an estimated $100-$600 per year. Additionally, home sellers who add a Home Energy Score to their Pre-listing Inspection can take proactive steps to improve home efficiency and help increase the value of their home.
What Do Home Energy Score Numbers Mean?
Homes are graded on their energy performance using a scale from 1 to 10. A score of 10 indicates excellent energy efficiency, while a 1 reflects a lack in energy efficiency.
This score is also based on total home energy use, not energy use per square foot. As a result, larger homes that require more energy generally score lower on the home energy scale. This does not mean that those homes are not energy efficient, but they may have to take additional steps to score higher.
Homes that score a 1 use more energy than 85% of other U.S. homes. On the flip side, a score of 10 is reserved for homes that use less energy than 90% of other homes.
With so many ways to increase the energy efficiency in your home, saving energy and reducing your electric bill has never been easier! To check the condition of your new, prospective or current home, click here to find a WIN Home Inspection expert near you. You can also contact us at (800) 309-6753 or email firstname.lastname@example.org and one of our experts will contact you promptly.