- Written by Lea Hanson Lea Hanson
Simple changes create big changes on your bills
If you feel you need to replace your water heater but don’t know if it is worth it, are considering new energy-efficient windows or upgrading your appliances to use less water, take a step back and think first about how your home uses energy. A home energy audit is not only the first step to saving energy and money, it will help you make informed decisions about the efficient upgrades you are considering.
Sometimes called an energy assessment, a home energy audit helps you learn how you use energy, determine where it’s being wasted, and will help you prioritize your efficiency upgrades. Making energy efficiency upgrades identified in a home energy audit can save 5-30 percent on your monthly energy bill while also ensuring the health and safety of your house. A professionally performed assessment will illuminate problems that may, when corrected, save you significant amounts of money over time.
Professional energy assessments generally go into great detail to assess your home's energy use. During a professional energy audit, an energy auditor analyzes your energy bills, completes visual, health and safety inspections, and may use special equipment—such as a blower door and an infrared camera—to detect sources of energy loss. The standard audit takes around two hours; additional time is often needed to conduct blower and infrared tests.
A blower door test measures the amount of leakage in a home by measuring the amount of air needed to keep your home at an elevated ideal pressure. An infrared test consists of a thorough visual inspection of a home, including the basement, attic, and other nooks and crannies, with an infrared camera or another infrared assessment device. It essentially takes the guesswork out of pinpointing the drafty and leaky spots within your home.
Remember, the home energy audit is only the first step to cutting your energy bills. Making the recommended energy efficiency upgrades is what leads to energy savings. Luckily, for residents of Northern Colorado, a number of city-supported rebate programs can also put dollars back into your pockets. The municipalities of Fort Collins, Greeley, and Loveland all offer an array of rebate programs that provide direct reward for your intentional actions of reducing the energy and water resources you are using in your home.
Depending on the community in which you reside, rebates are available for those who replace windows, seal air ducts, add insulation, and install more efficient appliances, furnaces, and air conditioning systems.
Home Efficiency Audits and Rebate Programs
Greeley (water efficiency audits only): www.greeleygov.com/services/ws/conservation/water-audits
Due to the arid climate and fairly regular state of drought we experience in northern Colorado, water audits are especially important to the environment in addition to offering a break to your water bill. All homes could benefit from a water audit, but homes more than 20 years old will typically see the most savings. Water audits include the assessment of high-water-use appliances, showerheads and aerators, as well as irrigation systems.
Get More Information on Conservation Rebates