As October ends, so does the presidential proclamation regarding National Energy Action Month. However, just because the month is over does not mean we must forget about energy until next year. Figures estimate that the average homeowner spends only 6 minutes per year thinking about their home’s energy use. During this short time homeowners also tend to overestimate the efficiency of their home. If you want to know for sure how efficient your home is, think about getting an energy audit. Home energy audits are a way for residents to gain a more empirical understanding of how their home is operating and where energy might be being wasted. You are paying to heat your home, and wasting energy is like wasting cash! Yet energy use is about more than saving on the electric bill – an efficient home is also safer and more comfortable.
If you are a technophile, you may have had your eyes on some flashy solar panels or sleek home battery technologies for some time now. Even if you are not an early adopter, you may have noticed the steady decline in solar prices and decided now is a good time to invest. However, as many parents used to say, ‘you have to eat your vegetables before you can have dessert’. In this case one must ensure that their home is well insulated and sealed for leaks before skipping to the dessert of personal photovoltaic panels. In many cases the simple payback time can be achieved in a faster period through energy-efficiency measures than investing in renewables. Additionally, during the winter months, the biggest source of energy consumption is space heating; space heating, in turn, is largely fueled by natural gas. Unless your home is heated by electricity, such as electric floorboards, photovoltaics will do nothing to reduce the amount natural gas that your home consumes. Finally, if you have the resources to target both energy-efficiency and renewable upgrades, homes that use less energy require fewer solar panels to supply that home bringing down costs and the amount of infrastructure needed.
The President of our country has called upon the citizens of the United States to use October as a time to work together to achieve greater energy security, a more robust economy, and a healthier environment for our children. However, just because October is over does not mean we should stop working towards these goals. As winter begins here in the Rockies, now is a good time to think about your home and how to make it more efficient.
Boulder County residents are fortunate to have a valuable resource called EnergySmart which offers discounted energy audits, free advising services and rebates for the work you complete. If you have questions or would like help along the way please contact EnergySmart at 303-544-1000! Or learn more at EnergySmartYES.com.