Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Detailed Home Energy Analysis Report

Here is your Home Energy Analysis Report designed to help you save energy and money. This report was prepared especially for your home. The figures on energy costs and savings are based on the information you provided. The savings opportunities included in this report can help you save money on your utility bills. Please keep in mind that all figures in this report are estimates.

This report contains the following information:

  • A summary of typical annual energy costs of appliances like yours
  • An estimate of how much homes similar to yours spend on energy on a monthly basis
  • Specific energy saving opportunities for your home
Appliance Energy Use
The typical annual energy costs of appliances like yours in your area are shown in the following chart. The actual cost to operate these appliances in your home will differ from the numbers given on this chart.

Monthly Home Energy ProfileEnergy costs vary month to month because of variations in the weather as well as how you use the appliances in your home. The following chart shows how costs vary on a monthly basis for homes similar to yours.

Ways to Save

This section of the report contains practical energy savings opportunities for all of the energy using systems in your home. For each of the ways to save, the report includes a description of the savings opportunity, a cost estimate, and an estimate of the energy and cost savings. There is also an estimate of the potential reduction in carbon dioxide emissions as well as water savings where appropriate.
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Ways to Save for Cooling

Replace your central air conditioner

Central air conditioners have shown significant efficiency improvements over the past several years. This means that replacing an older system will save money. However, due to the high cost of installing a new system, replacement is not always the most cost-effective option. With the other improvements suggested, you should be able to reduce your cooling costs significantly. And, with proper maintenance, even an older system can provide several years of useful service. However, if your air conditioner is showing signs of deterioration or your cooling bill is high, you might find replacement an appealing option.

Central air conditioners are rated according to their seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER). A higher SEER means greater efficiency, and a 10% increase in SEER translates into roughly 10% savings. The national efficiency standard for new central air conditioners requires a minimum SEER of 10, and a rating of 13 represents a very efficient unit. In older units, SEERs as low as 6 are common.

Central air conditioners are sized in tons (1 ton = 12,000 Btu’s per hour). It is important that your system be properly sized for your house. An air conditioner that is too large will perform far below its rated efficiency, and will actually be less comfortable. A qualified air conditioning technician should do detailed energy load calculations in order to specify the proper equipment.

When buying a new central air conditioner, look for the ENERGY STAR label. The ENERGY STAR label ensures that your air conditioner is among the most efficient in its class. This not only saves energy but helps the environment as well.

Implementation Cost:$1,469-2,448Annual CO2 Savings:2,734 lbs
Annual Cost Savings:$161-268Annual Water Savings:0 gallons

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Ways to Save for Hot Water

Install efficient aerators on your sinks

Efficient faucet heads, sometimes called faucet aerators , work just like efficient showerheads to reduce the water flow in the bathroom and kitchen sink. While the water temperature will feel the same, it will take longer to fill the sink or to fill pots for washing. Faucet aerators can be found in any building supply store and are relatively easy to install.

The cost and savings shown are based on replacing all of the faucet heads in your home.

Implementation Cost:$6-10Annual CO2 Savings:34 lbs
Annual Cost Savings:$2-4Annual Water Savings:226 gallons

Take shorter showers

Naturally, taking shorter showers really saves money. Most people are reluctant to get out of the shower, particularly on a cold and dreary winter morning when faced with a long day of work. However, we think you should be aware of what those extra minutes in the shower are costing you.

The savings shown reflect reducing your showers to 7 minutes.

Implementation Cost:$0Annual CO2 Savings:313 lbs
Annual Cost Savings:$25-42Annual Water Savings:3,465 gallons

Maintain your water heater regularly

Regularly scheduled maintenance of your hot water heater will not only save energy but will also extend the life of the system. You should have a service professional inspect your water heater every two years or as often as recommended by the manufacturer.

Perhaps the best thing that you can do for your water heater is to drain the tank once a year. Sediment forms in the bottom of the tank, reducing the heat transfer to the water. By draining water from the bottom of the tank, the sediment is eliminated. There should be a drain valve near the bottom of the tank. Open this valve and let about five gallons of water (or enough so that the water runs clear) run into a bucket. Close the valve and you are all set.

Implementation Cost:$0Annual CO2 Savings:46 lbs
Annual Cost Savings:$3-4Annual Water Savings:0 gallons

Install heat traps on your water heater

Heat traps are a type of one-way valve that can be installed on both the hot and cold water lines on your water heater. The purpose of heat traps is to reduce the heat loss from your water heater by "trapping" heat before it escapes. New, efficient water heaters often have this feature, but older models generally do not. As you can see from the savings, you can generally recover the cost of heat traps over several years.

Implementation Cost:$45-75Annual CO2 Savings:169 lbs
Annual Cost Savings:$10-17Annual Water Savings:0 gallons

Insulate hot water pipes if not already done

If the pipes that supply hot water throughout your house are hot to the touch, then heat is being lost. By insulating hot water pipes you can reduce this loss. Since most of the water pipes in your house are behind walls and under floors, you won't be able to get to all of them. Start at the water heater and insulate all of the accessible pipe. Also, feel the pipe where cold water enters the water heater. If it feels warm, then you should also insulate that pipe as well.

Implementation Cost:$11-19Annual CO2 Savings:52 lbs
Annual Cost Savings:$3-5Annual Water Savings:0 gallons

Wash full loads of dishes when possible

Your dishwasher consumes the same amount of energy regardless of how many dishes are being washed. Therefore, running full loads reduces energy consumption by reducing the total number of loads washed.

The savings shown are based on reducing your number of loads by about 10%.

CAUTION: Be careful not to overload your dishwasher; dishes probably will not clean completely. Check the owner's manual for proper loading guidelines.

Implementation Cost:$0Annual CO2 Savings:62 lbs
Annual Cost Savings:$4-7Annual Water Savings:397 gallons

Air dry dishes

You will save energy by turning off the drying heater and letting your dishes air dry. It will take longer, but the dishes will dry just as well. Your dishwasher might have a switch to turn off the drying heater. If not, you can manually turn it off by stopping the dishwasher after the rinse cycle is finished.

To reduce drying time, open the dishwasher and drain off any water that is pooled on top of dishes.

Implementation Cost:$0Annual CO2 Savings:38 lbs
Annual Cost Savings:$2-4Annual Water Savings:0 gallons

Avoid over drying clothes

Not only does over drying waste energy, it can also damage your clothes. Occasionally check the dryer as the load nears completion and remove clothes as soon as they are dry. By conscientiously checking the dryer, you may find that you can reduce energy use by up to 15%.

When purchasing a new dryer, get one with an automatic shut-off to prevent it from running longer than necessary.

Implementation Cost:$0Annual CO2 Savings:63 lbs
Annual Cost Savings:$4-6Annual Water Savings:0 gallons

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Ways to Save for Lighting

Use Compact Fluorescent bulbs in recessed fixtures

Compact fluorescent bulbs typically save 65 - 70% over incandescent bulbs while providing the same light output. Compact fluorescents cost more than incandescent bulbs, but they last 10 times longer, so the increased cost is offset by the savings in replacement bulbs as well as the energy savings.

Compact fluorescent bulbs are now covered as part of the ENERGY STAR program. The ENERGY STAR label is your assurance that the product is among the most energy efficient in its class.

Implementation Cost:$36-44Annual CO2 Savings:227 lbs
Annual Cost Savings:$16-20Annual Water Savings:0 gallons

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Ways to Save for Heating

Install a programmable thermostat

You are already very energy conscious in that you keep your thermostat below the 68 degrees F that is recommended by most energy guides. However, we thought you still might be interested in seeing the savings possible from lowering your thermostat even more. The savings shown represent pushing your thermostat settings down by just 1 degree F.

Purchasing a programmable thermostat, at a cost of between $60-$100, can help you consistently lower your thermostat settings. Also called clock thermostats or set-back thermostats, these devices automatically change the temperature for you. For example, you can program a lower temperature overnight and then have it warm up 30 minutes or so before you get up so you awake to a warm house. Most models allow multiple changes per day and enable you to program different settings for Saturdays and Sundays as well.

Implementation Cost:$60-100Annual CO2 Savings:978 lbs
Annual Cost Savings:$57-95Annual Water Savings:0 gallons

Avoid heating unoccupied areas

You can control the temperature of different areas of your house; by blocking off a vent you lower the temperature of that area and reduce energy use. This is particularly effective if you have rooms that are used minimally, such as a spare bedroom that need not be kept as warm as the rest of the house.

Some vents have a switch that closes the louvers. This is great if you want to open and close a vent every time you enter a room. There are also magnetic vent covers that you can find in some home improvement stores. One other option is to use duct tape. This works well if you want to close a vent for extended periods, but you might find it inconvenient if you use the room occasionally throughout the season.

Below you can see the impact of closing off one or more rooms in your home.

CAUTION: Never close off more than 25% of your vents at any given time; you could damage the heating system. Check the owner's manual for more specific information.

Implementation Cost:$0Annual CO2 Savings:692 lbs
Annual Cost Savings:$40-67Annual Water Savings:0 gallons

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Ways to Save for Food Storage

Turn off your basement refrigerator

Your second refrigerator consumes a significant amount of energy. Perhaps you can get all your food into one refrigerator and turn the other off permanently. Alternatively, if you only need the second unit on certain occasions, you can pull the plug and then plug it back in only when you need it; this won't hurt the refrigerator and can result in significant savings.

If you decide you do not need the refrigerator at all, there are likely several charities that will come and take the refrigerator from you at no cost.

The savings shown reflect turning the refrigerator off for six months. By eliminating this refrigerator and turning it off all year your savings would double.

Implementation Cost:$0Annual CO2 Savings:326 lbs
Annual Cost Savings:$19-32Annual Water Savings:0 gallons

Turn off the moisture control heater

Your refrigerator has a heater that prevents moisture from forming on the outside surface. Moisture forms only when the air inside your house is humid, but the heater operates all the time unless you turn it off. Humidity is likely to be a problem only in the summer, and this is typically the period when you need the heater running. However, your central air conditioning system actually helps to dry the air, so you shouldn't have any problems with moisture no matter what the season.

Not all refrigerators have a switch to operate the moisture control heater, so you might not be able to enact this measure. If you have one, it will be located in the fresh food compartment and labeled "moisture control switch" or "energy saving switch." Now for the tricky part. The label on your particular switch will determine how it controls the heater. That is, if the switch is labeled "moisture control," it should be turned to the "off" position, but if it's labeled "energy saver," the switch must be turned to "on."

If, after turning the heater off, you do notice moisture forming on the outside of the refrigerator, turn the heater back on until the weather becomes less humid.

Implementation Cost:$0Annual CO2 Savings:116 lbs
Annual Cost Savings:$7-11Annual Water Savings:0 gallons

Raise the temp. setting of your kitchen refrigerator

Refrigerators have a temperature control, which is usually located in the fresh food compartment. Most models have separate controls for the fresh food and frozen sections. The range on the knobs is typically 1 - 5 or A E; the higher setting generally makes it colder. By raising the temperature of your refrigerator you will save energy, but be careful because most foods stay fresh for shorter periods as the temperature rises. On the other hand, most foods also taste better when stored at warmer temperatures. The recommended range is 38-40 degrees F for the refrigerator and 0-5 degrees F for the freezer; typically these are near the middle of the temperature dials.

CAUTION: Foods keep fresh for shorter periods of time at higher temperatures. Most refrigerators are designed so that the entire range of temperature settings will preserve foods for an adequate period of time. However, be very careful to check foods for freshness before eating. If foods are not kept fresh as long as you would like, lower the storage temperature.

Implementation Cost:$0Annual CO2 Savings:39 lbs
Annual Cost Savings:$2-4Annual Water Savings:0 gallons

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Ways to Save for Weatherization

Control air leakage

Sealing windows and doors is a relatively inexpensive and easy task that can be done by the do-it-yourselfer. Both windows and doors can require caulk and weather stripping for adequate protection against the elements. If you feel a draft, that's a sign that additional weatherization is needed. You should also inspect the caulk and weather stripping around doors and windows and replace anything that is cracked or damaged.

Caulking: Caulking requires very few tools: a caulking gun, the tube of caulk, a rag, a nail, and a razor or knife are typically all that you will need. You will want to make sure that the caulk is suitable for exterior applications. It will say so right on the tube.

Weather stripping: There are several different types of weather stripping, each varying in durability and ease of installation. If you are concerned about aesthetics, note that some types of weather stripping are visible when installed, while others are not. Since there are many types of weather stripping, it is probably best just to ask at your local hardware or home building supply store.

You also should look at the outlets in your home. On a windy day, place your hand close to the outlet. You might be surprised to feel a draft. If you do, plugs designed for capping unused outlets are available at most hardware stores. Also, foam gaskets are available for insulating behind the outlet cover.

Implementation Cost:$100-300Annual CO2 Savings:3,593 lbs
Annual Cost Savings:$211-351Annual Water Savings:0 gallons

Insulate your ducts

Your heating system uses a network of air ducts to distribute heat throughout your house. Air ducts that pass through unconditioned space will lose energy to the surroundings if they are not insulated. Insulating these ducts, if accessible, can minimize these losses and reduce your heating and cooling costs.

CAUTION: Once air ducts are insulated, it is difficult to check for and seal leaks. Make sure that all leaks are thoroughly sealed before insulating. Mastic is a durable alternative to duct tape and adheres well to dusty surfaces.

Implementation Cost:$150-250Annual CO2 Savings:360 lbs
Annual Cost Savings:$21-35Annual Water Savings:0 gallons

Improve insulation

Insulation is your home's first defense against heat loss. Below we will describe the fundamentals of three areas of insulation; attic, wall, and foundation. The savings shown represent what is required to bring your home up to the recommended level for your climate.

Attic Insulation: Adding attic insulation is generally the easiest and cheapest way to improve the insulation of your home. Fiberglass batts can be rolled out over existing insulation. To determine how much the batts will improve your insulation, check the package for the R-value of the fiberglass. R-value is a measure of insulating ability, and manufacturers are required to list the R-value on the packaging. The higher the R-value, the greater the insulating ability. While thicker batts generally provide more insulation, you want to look at R-value rather than thickness when comparing prices. A 3-1/2" thick batt can have an R-value of 11, 13, or even 15, depending on the material. Also note that attic venting is more important in an insulated attic to prevent moisture build-up.

The quality of installation is at least as important as the R value. It is important that the insulation is in contact with the wall board that comprises the ceiling. If there is a gap between the ceiling wall board and the insulation, much of the insulation value is lost. There should be no spaces between the insulation batts and the insulation should extend all the way to the eaves.

Wall Insulation: Wall insulation is another way to make your home more energy efficient. Two options for adding wall insulation are: blowing insulation into the wall cavity; or adding an exterior sheathing. Each of these is somewhat expensive, but blown-in insulation is generally preferable because of its lower cost and higher insulating value. Blown-in insulation requires a contractor to drill holes into the walls of the house, blow insulation into the walls, and then patch and paint. Adding an exterior sheathing means adding a layer of insulation to the wall surface and then building a new wall on top of the insulation. Although this option is more costly, it can often be incorporated into planned renovations.

Basement Insulation (for Cold Climates): Although it is often overlooked, an unheated basement can be the largest source of heat loss in an otherwise well-insulated home. Heat from your living space seeps down through the floor and into your cold basement. To reduce this heat loss, you can install batts of insulation in between the floor joists in your basement. The batts can be supported with wire or flexible metal rods pressure fitted between the joists.

CAUTION: When working with fiberglass, it is important to wear a respirator to avoid breathing any of the fibers.

Implementation Cost:$1,811-3,018Annual CO2 Savings:4,509 lbs
Annual Cost Savings:$264-440Annual Water Savings:0 gallons

Seal leaks in air ducts

As heating systems age, leaks can develop in the ducts. Many duct systems are leaky even when newly installed. These leaks can contribute tremendously to your energy bill. The first step in reducing air duct losses is to examine ductwork in areas where it is easily accessible, typically in the basement, attic, or crawlspace. Look for deteriorated duct tape and replace it as necessary (Silicone caulk or mastic are more durable alternatives to duct tape. High temperature vinyl tape is another option). Feel for air leaking at joints and seal these areas as well. Since there are large portions of ductwork that you cannot get to, you should consider having an HVAC professional inspect the system. You can have this done in conjunction with servicing of the system. If leaks are found they can often be closed with an aerosol-based sealant. (The aerosol is sprayed into the ducts with air so it emits no ozone-depleting fluorocarbons.)

Since you also have central air conditioning, sealing the ducts will also save on your cooling costs. The savings shown include the savings in air conditioning that you would realize by sealing your ducts.

Implementation Cost:$15-25Annual CO2 Savings:1,181 lbs
Annual Cost Savings:$109-181Annual Water Savings:0 gallons


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