Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Hom Energy Inspection: Part Three

As you may recall from previous Blue Bungalow blog posts, we had a home energy inspection in late 2010, conducted by Tim Guillama of Beyond Energy, LLC. A house is inspected to determine how much conditioned air is typically cycled through in an hour. A draftier home will have a higher "air change rate" than a well-sealed home and, thus, higher heating and cooling bills. When our home was inspected this December, Tim determined that our air change rate was about 13.8 per hour.

Following the inspection, Tim suggested that we have our house and attic insulated. We couldn't afford to do it all at once, so we decided to start by sealing and insulating our attic and basement. We also had our old house exhaust fan replaced with a more energy efficient model. After we had this work done by Insulation Technologies in Milwaukee, Tim returned to our house and again conducted his blower door test to determine the air change rate. It improved from 13.8 changes per hour to about 10.

Our latest WE bill arrived one day after Tim's second inspection, on Tuesday, Jan. 12. The bad news is that gas prices are on the rise again, and this was reflected in our bill. The good news is that the amount of therms we used last month went down from last year, from 761 to 665 (the average temp was one degree warmer this year, which may account slightly for the decrease in therm usage – it went from 23 degrees F last year to 24 this year).

I'm also pleased that our overall energy usage is much lower than average, as evidenced by the following graphic provided by WE:

All in all I'm very happy that we're bringing our therm usage down as prices are rising. We'll still probably pay a great deal to heat our once-drafty old bungalow, but perhaps not as much as we might have.

Much of our home energy efficiency endeavors were made possible by our friend Mike Arney, who is quietly and ardently working to inspire Tosans to go green. He has helped us and he can help you, too: get involved with the new Green Neighbor program (the brain child of Mike Arney and John Bahr). Click on the Green Neighbor checklist to learn about measures you can take to make your home more energy efficient.

There are still several things, both large and small, that we'd like to do to reduce energy consumption in our household. I plan to write about them here – stay tuned.

What measures have you taken to green your home?

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