If you’re like most people you’re probably looking for a way to save money and help the environment at the same time. By taking a look at your own home and performing these four simple audit steps there’s a good chance you will accomplish both!
1. Identify Air Leaks. Statistics indicate that up to 30% of energy efficiency is lost due to drafts or air leaks that come from some very unsuspecting places like switch plates and electrical outlets. Most of us know to look at the major culprits like window and door seals, but a thorough inspection would also include looking at attic hatches, gaps around electrical outlets, seals around baseboards, and even exterior locations such as where chimneys meet the roofline.
2. Appliance Use. Make sure your refrigerator (or freezer) is not located near your stove, dishwasher, windows with exposure to the hot sun, or heat vents. Also, make sure the temperature of your water heater is set to no more than 120 degrees, even though some units come pre-set at 140 degrees. Also make sure you wrap your water heater in colder months with an insulating jacket that should cost no more than $20 but has the potential to save 220 pounds of gas and 1100 pounds of CO2 for an electric water heater.
3. Cooking Ideas. Your microwave uses an average of 75% less energy than a conventional oven. Also, if you are cooking on your stove top, try to use pots and pans that are sized no smaller than the size of the burner you’ll be using since using anything smaller just wastes energy. Also, just as a microwave uses less energy than a conventional oven, a toaster oven conserves wasted energy as well. Unless you really need a full-size oven for that small casserole, pop it into the toaster oven instead!
4. Insulation Helps. It is recommended that US homes have between R-22 and R-49 insulation in the attic and other exterior spaces such as walls and crawl spaces. A lot of older homes do not meet these guidelines, and by making certain that your home adheres to these standards you could reduce your heating and cooling costs by up to 25%. That’s like putting money in the bank!