Save 20% on utility bills:  Home Performance with Energy Star

January 25, 2018

Save 20% on utility bills:  Home Performance with Energy Star

A Comprehensive Approach to Home Improvement

Want to make improvements to your home to lower your energy bills or fix comfort problems?  You should learn about Home Performance with Energy Star.

“Home Performance with Energy Star is a ‘comprehensive, whole-house approach to improving energy efficiency and comfort at home, while helping to protect the environment and fight global warming.’ 

Rather than focusing on one single problem, like an old heating or cooling system, not enough insulation in the attic or leaky windows, Home Performance with Energy Star looks at how the improvements throughout your home can work together to give you the best results.

Homeowners who make improvements though Home Performance with Energy Star find that their utility bills are lower and that their homes are much more comfortable.

 Plus, most states have programs to allow you to take advantage of a Home Performance with Energy Star Evaluation at low or no cost:  Find a Home Performance with Energy Star program in your area

 The Evaluation

Home Performance with Energy Star starts with an interview with you, the homeowner, to help your contractor understand the concerns you have about your home’s performance:  things like high energy bills, cold floors in your kitchen, or an upstairs bedroom that is too warm in the summer.  After the interview, the contractor will evaluate your home to determine where the improvements are needed. They will inspect your home, inside and out, including the heating, the cooling equipment, duct systems and even lighting and appliances.  Your contractor will also inspect your attic, basement or crawlspace if you have one, and may run diagnostic tests such as a blower door or duct blaster, or use an infrared camera to find the trouble spots.  Your contractor may also review your utility bills to compare them to similar homes in your area.

COMMON RECOMMENDATIONS

Air Sealing and Adding Insulation

 
Did you know if you added up all the small holes in a typical home, it would be liking leaving a window open 24 hours a day, all year long? 
That’s a huge waste of energy and money. 
 
(image source: http://www.rbcinsulation.com/)
Sealing air leaks and adding insulation where it’s needed are critical first steps to improving the energy efficiency of your home.  If your home has an attic or a basement, the biggest air leaks are usually hidden there. 

In the attic, you may not have enough insulation, or you may have air leaks around pipes or chimneys, or around recessed lighting.  Your contractor may recommend sealing these and adding more insulation. 

In the basement, leaks are commonly found along the edge of the house where the basement walls meet the floor above.  We also find leaks around doors, windows and pipes. Your contractor may recommend sealing these leaks with caulk or expanding foam.  They may also recommend insulating the basement walls.  If your home has a crawlspace, leaks can draw in cold air in the winter and humid air in the summer, making your home less comfortable all year round.  Here, your contractor may recommend lining the floor with plastic to keep the dampness out and sealing and insulating the crawlspace walls.

 (image source: http://www.comfy-home.com )

Heating and Cooling

If your heating and cooling system is more than 10-years old, your contractor may recommend that you replace the equipment with models that have earned the government’s Energy Star.  Installed correctly, these high-efficiency units can save up to 10% on your annual utility bills.  You can get additional savings by installing and using an Energy-Star qualified programmable thermostat.  Used correctly, it can save you up to $180 a year on your heating and cooling costs.

Ducts
If your home has forced-air heating or central cooling, ducts move air from those systems to the rooms throughout your home. If your ducts have gaps, leaks or tears, you may notice that some rooms are never comfortable, no matter where you set the thermostat.  That’s because they’re not getting the right amount of heated or cooled air.  Sealing leaks, making sure ducts are straight and properly connected and insulating where needed, will improve your home’s comfort and energy efficiency.
 (image source: https://willardductcleaning.com/)
Lighting and Appliances
Energy used for lighting and appliances accounts for nearly half your utility bill. So there’s a big opportunity to get savings by installing energy-efficient models that have earned the government’s Energy Star.  The Energy Star label can be found on more than more than 50 different types of products for your home, including refrigerators, dishwashers, clothes washers and home electronics, as well as lighting fixtures and compact fluorescent bulbs.  Buying products with this mark means you’re doing your part to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions.  Once energy-efficiency improvements have been made to your home, your contractor may recommend other measures, like installing solar panels, or a solar hot-water system.
Your contractor will work with you and your family to determine the best improvements for your home.

GETTING THE WORK DONE

After the evaluation, the contractor will prepare a detailed work proposal.  They can also show you how the recommended improvements can qualify for special financing or other incentives, where available.  Once you decide which improvements to make, your Home Performance contractor will help you get the job done right.  When the work is completed, your contractor may run another set of tests to show the difference the improvements have made.  Local Home Performance with Energy Star sponsors also spot-check contractors work, so you can have added confidence that your job will be done correctly.

TYPICAL RESULTS

The comprehensive approach offered by Home Performance with Energy Star will make your home more comfortable and energy efficient. Depending on the improvements you choose, you can save 20% or more on your annual utility bill.  And because you’re using less energy, you’ll also be helping to protect the environment.
To find out more about Home Performance with Energy Star and other ways Energy Star can help you be more energy-efficient, EPA and the Department of Energy encourage you to visit them at www.energystar.gov.” (source: www.energystar.gov)

Find a Home Performance with Energy Star program in your area





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