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Prioritize Your Green Renovation: Conduct a Home Energy Audit

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Insulation
Is your home's insulation doing its job? Some homes—especially older homes—may be lacking, resulting in significant heat loss. Where to find it:

  • Unconditioned attic space
  • Exterior walls (unscrew a fuse or outlet or make an inconspicuous probe from the interior, but turn the power off first)
  • Unconditioned basement or crawl space

Check to see if your insulation is dirty, moldy or otherwise worse for the wear. Measure it to determine if it's adequate for your particular climate. Insulation has a limited shelf life, so it may be time to install a new layer.

Heating and Cooling Equipment
As the biggest energy user in your home, your heating and cooling system deserves special attention. Take the time to inspect the following elements for dirt, general wear and tear as well as age:

  • Filters (you should be changing them every couple months)
  • Exterior and interior air conditioning coils
  • Ducts and vents

The same goes for other appliances in your home such as kitchen equipment: are they Energy Star-rated?

Lighting
Inspecting light bulbs is one of the easier tasks in a home energy audit. Determine what types of bulbs you are burning; incancesdents are the most common, but they use the most energy. Check the wattage of bulbs. If they use 100 watts or more, you may be over-lighting the space.

 

Overwhelmed? Download a checklist from websites such as the US Department of Energy or try a web-based auditor to help get you started. Dailygreen.com also has an excellent checklist for keeping track of your findings. Click here to download the PDF.

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