The energy you put in your home, and the energy your home puts into you?
As crazy as it may seem, being a home owner isn’t a one-sided relationship. It may feel as such spending your Sundays cleaning the gutters or refinishing the hardwood floors, but have you ever stopped to consider the energy it takes your home to, well, to be a home?
The good news is, you don’t have to actually think that hard because the DOE (Department of Energy) has done a lot of that thinking and considering for you. They have a whole website as a free resource for all of your energy needs and ponderings, chalk-full of energy-saving tips, databases, and acronyms you’ll need to google. Don’t even know where you (your home) stands in the energy world? Maybe your home is putting wayyyyy more energy into you than you thought, which really means you are putting wayyyyy more money into your energy bill than you need to.
The DOE recommends every home owner get a home energy score. This is easier than the SATS and a good score can still offer up bragging rights at gatherings. To know your home’s energy score, you’ll need to call in a home energy score assessor, your assessor will do a brief walk-through of your home collecting energy data and using the home energy scoring tool to provide you with a score between 1 & 10. If you score a 10, you should brag to all your friends immediately and shame them into getting their own home energy score, because you are an energy angel among men and your friends should all follow in your small carbon footprints. If you score a 1, you probably should keep quiet and add insulation and caulking to your Christmas list this year.
We’ve already thrown in two acronyms, so lets break it down. What kind of things even equate to an energy efficient home?
- SEAL IT! One of the first, and simplest fixes, is to make sure your home is sealed so heat is not escaping causing your heating system to run overtime. This could be sealing around windows, cracks in walls and ceilings, and even the duct work in your home. Older homes especially are notorious for retiring their sealants. We know you are old and tired home, but there’s no social security for old houses, so you’re going to have to keep it together.
- UPGRADE YOUR HEATING & COOLING SYSTEMS! There is a reason why furnace history is not offered as an accredited degree, because it is simply not worth preserving, and the only thing furnace history teaches us about our past is empathy for all our shivering predecessors. So whats hot now? Solar panel heating, infloor radiant heat, and ductless mini splits. With a wee bit of research on what would work with your home and your budget, you can find the perfect system upgrade to keep you warm and cozy, from your toes to your hands nestled snug in your pockets with alllll that cash you’re saving on your energy bill.
- GLAZE UP YOUR WINDOWS! This is a bit of a misnomer, but its all to say, if you are living in a single-pane world, maybe its time to consider outing the charm of hand-forged glass for double or triple pane windows, ie. insulation! Also, pro tip, glaze = panes, so if you have a triple glazed window, you have three panes and are an energy-efficient angel. Go you!
- UPGRADE THE MACHINES! Take this in baby steps. Start with the light bulbs. Feel good about yourself and the difference you are making in the world. Take the next step and get some energy-efficient, low-flow toilets. Does your waste own you? NO, you own your waste! And you will flush accordingly. Things are flowing now, albeit low-flowing, but in the home energy score world, a low-flow, is a STRONG flow. What next? bring on those new energy-efficient appliances, with all the money you’re saving on your monthly bills, you hardly had to budget for the upgrade. Energy Star has curated a whole list of their energy-efficient appliances including a bio of just why they are so good. Your home is practically glowing green now! what else is there to do? At this point, the next logical step is to set up a bio diesel station in your backyard, join the DOE, and go vegan.
If you’re on the market for a home and still want to be an energy-efficient angel, look out for 4 & 5 star Built Green Homes. To be a bonus green-halo energy angel, land yourself a ZER (zero energy ready) home, basically the gold medal of home energy Olympics. This is all to say, its getting colder. Build Urban is sending warm wishes, but those wishes are more palpable in an energy efficient home. For the holidays this year, give a little TLC to your home, its not a one-sided relationship, so give a little energy back. Power on!