The first step to taking a whole-house energy efficiency approach is to find out which parts of your house use the most energy. A home energy audit will show you where these are and suggest the most effective measures for reducing your energy costs. You can conduct a simple home energy audit yourself, you can contact your local utility, or you can call an independent energy auditor for a more comprehensive examination.
Study your family’s lighting needs and use patterns, paying special attention to high-use areas such as the living room, kitchen, and exterior lighting. Look for ways to use daylighting, reduce the time the lights are on, and replace incandescent bulbs and fixtures with compact or standard fluorescent lamps.
After you have identified places where your home is losing energy, assign priorities to your energy needs by asking yourself a few important questions:
Another option is to get the advice of a professional. Many utilities conduct energy audits for free or for a nominal charge. For a fee, a professional contractor will analyze how your home’s energy systems work together as a system and compare the analysis against your utility bills. He or she will use a variety of equipment such as blower doors, infrared cameras, and surface thermometers to find inefficiencies that cannot be detected by a visual inspection. Finally, they will give you a list of recommendations for cost-effective energy improvements and enhanced comfort and safety. A good contractor will also calculate the return on your investment in high efficiency equipment vs. standard equipment.
For more information about home energy audits, contact:
Owens Corning Customer Service Hotline, (800) GET-PINK (800-438-7465)