As a homeowner, you would like your living space to be comfortable and inviting.
But you also want those amenities or features to be affordable in the long run. It involves looking for ways to improve the indoor ambiance, adding more insulation, and lowering the energy bills.
One useful tool that can keep your utility bills down is the Home Energy Score.
A Home Energy Score is a rating of 1-10, given to your home’s energy usage, and if the rating is higher, the more efficient a household is. Even prospective buyers and renters can use this credible information and decide on cost-effective solutions for their requirements.
Similar to a vehicle’s miles-per-gallon (MPG) rating, this score lets you compare a home’s expected energy consumption and its cost. It helps you improve the energy efficiency of your home and minimize wastage.
In the U.S., the Home Energy Score for an average home size is five. Anything lower than that indicates a serious need to adjust your energy consumption. The Home Energy Score also provides apt recommendations to help you get annual cost savings.
However, these modifications don’t need to be very expensive. Even owners of old homes can make their buildings more energy-efficient with easy-to-do upgrades. Some examples of these improvements can be adding more attic insulation and shifting to LED lighting options.
You get your home’s energy efficiency rating based on its foundation, windows, insulation, HVAC systems, and water heating estimates. The residents’ behaviors, appliances’ operating conditions, and fuel type are also taken into account. Furthermore, two houses in different locations and climates, with the same size, structural elements, occupants, and energy needs may get dissimilar ratings.
Just as you compare the fuel efficiency of different cars before purchasing one, knowing a Home Energy Score of a building helps you decide whether it is wise to make that investment.
When you have a low rating, your home’s interior comfort and indoor air quality decrease, and monthly costs rise. Per the U.S. Census, people pay almost $2.500 in additional bills.
Arming yourself with this scoring tool makes you a smart energy consumer.
If you plan to buy or rent, ask the homeowner to provide the home’s rating. Those who recently moved in can still use the tool and learn your home’s overall score.
Get unbiased guidance through the smart energy modeling software and make the needed upgrades to improve the score. With a better Home Energy Score, you have more chances of qualifying for a higher mortgage amount and flexible financing options.
Only a handful of organizations are Home Energy Score Partners of the Department of Energy. Locate the Home Energy Score Assessors serving in your Zip code or contact the state energy office. Another way is to reach out to DOE nation Partners who appoint an inspector to evaluate your home.
Even if you get an impressive “10” on the card, it doesn’t mean that your home is far from flaws. There is still scope for improvement, such as trying renewable energy investments.
Here are some common energy-saving measures you can try irrespective of the rating:
Get a Smart Thermostat
Regulating the indoor temperature manually may be tedious, making you forget sometimes. It leads to high electricity bills and energy wastage.
Besides, not every room in the house has the same heating requirements. With a smart thermostat, you can set different settings for various areas of the home.
Programmable thermostats also allow you to optimize comfort when you are home and automatically drop the temperature at night or when you are on vacation. Thus, they conserve energy and save you from receiving alarmingly high monthly bills.
The most common aspect of high energy use is your home lighting system. You may still be using the old, traditional type of incandescent bulbs to brighten up the spaces—almost 90% of the energy they use is emitted as heat.
You can have greater savings with CFLs and halogen bulbs, which use less energy than standard bulbs, but LEDs are the best options available in the market.
LED lights last the longest and are much cooler since they convert power into light than heat energy. They also don’t drain much electricity if you leave them on by mistake.
No matter the size of your electronics, appliances, and tools – these machines contribute to a considerable amount of your energy bills.
Ovens, toasters, coffee makers, refrigerators, laundry machines, clothes dryers, and dishwashers use excess electricity when over or underloaded. If there is no capacity optimization, their lifespan can decrease. They can incur repairs with voltage fluctuations, brownouts, or blackouts.
But when your home uses ENERGY STAR-certified appliances, you conserve a lot of power, save the environment, and keep money in your wallet. Even small devices like TVs and laptops that come with an ENERGY STAR label can better your Home Energy Score.
To supply hot water for your needs, the water heater runs continuously and accounts for about 10% of the total energy consumption.
You can use solar water heaters or reduce the temperature setting on your current appliance to 120 degrees. Also, consider buying a tankless heater, which doesn’t store hot water but warms it up on-demand. So, it consumes less electricity while in standby.
You can decrease its burden by using an electric shower or rinsing the dirty dishes before putting them in the dishwasher. Other things to try are insulating the hot water pipes to prevent heat loss, raise the temperature rapidly, and retain more heat for more duration.
Regardless of your home’s score, you can improve its efficiency and performance by regulating your energy spending. Pick an electricity plan that gives you the most flexibility to do that, such as a prepaid energy plan or free nights and weekends electricity plan from Acacia Energy.