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Reduce Your Energy Bills

November 28, 2012

A whole home energy audit can improve your home's energy efficiency in both summer and winter, and reduce your overall energy bills.

The whole-house systems approach looks at the entire house as an energy system with interdependent parts. Like a human body, when one part functions poorly it affects the performance of the entire system. For instance, the benefits of an energy-efficient air conditioner are lessened when a duct system leaks, windows don’t close tightly, the attic is uninsulated, and humid summer breezes are drifting in under the door.

Overview

Though every situation is unique, the best general approach includes the following steps in roughly this order:

 

StepSystem ComponentStrategyImpact
1Doors, windows,
walls, floor, and ceiling
Weatherize and seal any holes
or gaps in building envelope
Improves air barrier
by reducing air leakage
2Heating / air conditioning
(HVAC) ductwork
Seal and insulate ductworkImproves air barrier by
reducing air leakage
3Attic insulationImprove / replace to R-value
recommended for your area
Improves thermal barrier
by increasing insulation function
4WindowsReplace single-pane metal framed
windows with doublepaned low-E
wood or vinyl framed alternatives
Improves air and thermal
barriers by reducing air leakage and reducing solar heat gain
5Heating / air conditioning
(HVAC) system
Service existing HVAC system and
/or upgrade to properly sized SEER
14 or higher HVAC system
Improves heating and
cooling efficiency
6Water heaterReplace old inefficient model with
modern ENERGY STAR alternative
Reduces water heater
energy consumption
7LightingReplace high wattage bulbs (such as
incandescent and halogen) with low
wattage alternatives of comparable
lumen value (such as compact fluorescent and LED)
Reduces lighting energy
consumption and unnecessary
heat load to indoor spaces
8Ceiling fansInstall ENERGY STAR ceiling fans
in commonly occupied rooms
Reduces load on HVAC
system by improving
occupant comfort
9AppliancesReplace old inefficient models with
modern ENERGY STAR alternatives
Reduces appliance
energy consumption

source: Virginia Cooperative Extension Program

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