Home Energy House Call
Today we got our free home energy audit from Duke Energy. I didn’t exactly know what to expect, but I’m glad I took the time to do this for my home. I hope with a little work to make my home more energy efficient and save money while make steps for a healthier planet. The entire audit took about 45 mins, but that was mostly because Jonathan (the gentleman that came out to do the audit) and I started talking. He has an associate degree in architectural technology, and appreciated our funny little house, known in the neighborhood as the “tree house”. The good news is our house is in pretty good shape. Luckily it was built in the 1980s when insulation became a more standard practice in home construction. We have a few doors that need sweeps installed along the bottom and some weather striping around the edges to help with air leaks. Our appliances, central air units, heat pumps, and hot water tanks are pretty updated. We also have two-zoned heating that allows for heating the master bedroom separate from the rest of the house. I learned today that these are all good things. The only other place Jonathan recommended improvement was to seal all the basement air duct seams with foil tape.
As part of our free audit we received an Energy Efficiency Kit, which included 3 Compact fluorescent bulbs, some door weather striping, and several aerators for the sinks and showers. We also received an “Energy Savers booklet” from the U.S. department of Energy.
Even though we got pretty rave reviews on our report, I know there is still a lot of room for improvement. We plan to buy a programmable thermostat, so that we don’t have to hope we remember to turn down the heat/air when we leave for the day. I would also like to completely insulate our air ducts in the basement storage space, as 60% of the heated air can be lost in these unheated spaces. In addition I plan to look into getting an insulating “jacket” for the hot water heaters.
All in all, I highly recommend taking the time to get a home energy audit and making some small steps to improve the energy efficiency of your home. For the free energy audit from Duke the only requirements are that you are a Duke Energy customer, own your single-family home, have lived there at least four months and have an electric water heater and/or electric heat, or central air.
One other interesting program related to home energy savings is Block by Block run by The Winston-Salem Sustainability Resource Center. The Block by Block Program is an initiative to retrofit homes for energy efficiency one block at a time. The goal of the program is to create a series of “Green Blocks” that demonstrates the benefits of energy upgrades at the neighborhood level. Find more information here.