It’s February and as we head into the new year, now is a great time to assess your energy usage. Identifying and addressing areas of energy inefficiency in your home can help you control your energy spend and save money!
Measuring your carbon footprint
A good first step in assessing your energy usage is measuring your carbon footprint. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has a Greenhouse Gases Equivalencies Calculator that allows you to calculate your own carbon footprint and create a strategy to decrease it! Using the calculator is simple, requires only a few pieces of information, and presents examples of how reducing your greenhouse gas emissions impacts the environment and could help you save.
Assessing your energy usage
Now that you understand your carbon footprint, it’s time to assess your energy usage and efficiency. One of the best ways to assess the energy efficiency of your home is with a home energy audit. An audit can be done by a professional for the most complete evaluation or you can complete a do-it-yourself audit without the extra cost.
A home energy audit is a thorough, room-by-room examination of your home, pinpointing energy inefficiencies and providing an illustration of your home’s energy use. Although a DIY audit is not as thorough as a professional home energy assessment, it can help you identify areas that need addressed. Making upgrades based on the results can not only save you money, but also help keep your home more comfortable all year long. For those of you who want to try this on your own, here are a few tips to get you started:
DIY Energy Audit Assessment Tips:
Make a list – When walking through your home, keep a checklist of what you have inspected and what needs to be fixed.
Look for air leaks – Check for indoor and outdoor leaks, such as gaps around windows, doors, trim, baseboard, recessed light fixtures, ceiling junctures, electrical outlets, fireplace dampers and plumbing fixtures. Most air leaks are an easy fix with caulk and weather-stripping. Be sure to think about ventilation when sealing leaks. Learn more about ventilation here.
Check your insulation – If your home has insufficient insulation, heat loss through the ceiling and walls could be significant.
Review your lighting – When doing your walk-through, note the types of light bulbs in your home. Consider replacing inefficient bulbs with energy-saving LEDs or compact fluorescent lamps. Lighting accounts for about 10% of your electric bill, so small changes can make a big impact.
Consider your electronics and appliances – How you use appliances and devices, and the types you have, significantly impacts your energy use. You can estimate the use of your appliances here once you examine them. A few ideas for increasing energy efficiency in this area are:
Adjusting settings or using the item less often
Unplugging electronics when not in use
Upgrading to new, energy efficient products
Assess heating and cooling equipment – HVAC equipment should be inspected annually or as suggested by the manufacturer. Check the filters and replace them at the recommended cadence and have a professional clean your equipment once a year.
Determine what should or can be upgraded – Now that you’ve completed your assessment and prioritized what issues may need to be addressed, determine what should and can be done to increase the energy efficiency of your home.
Where can I find energy-efficient products?
AEP Energy Reward Store is our one-stop online marketplace filled with a variety of products that can help you assess and control your energy usage, such as smart programmable thermostats and smart sensor power strips. Reward Store also offers water-saving devices and many other energy-saving items that can help make your home more energy-efficient while saving you time and money.
You can earn Reward Dollars to use in Reward Store by enrolling in an AEP Energy price plan. One month after your enrollment date, you will start earning Reward Dollars to use toward your purchases in Reward Store. Simply collect Reward Dollars each month, shop AEP Energy Reward Store products and redeem your Reward Dollars instantly at checkout.
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