If you’re committed to reducing your carbon footprint, then the best place to start is in your home. By reviewing and becoming more aware of your energy consumption, you can begin to change your behavior and make smarter choices which will reduce your energy bills and improve energy efficiency in your home.
It’s easy to conduct a do-it-yourself energy audit, following some basic steps to identify ways to improve energy efficiency. Once you’ve completed your audit, you’ll be in a position to make the necessary changes to reduce your carbon footprint and upgrade your property and appliances to improve energy efficiency.
Five step energy audit
Below is a simple five-step energy audit, to help you conduct your very own home energy audit.
Step 1 – Establish a baseline
The first step involves getting to know your utility bills. Just how much energy are you consuming? And how much are your monthly or quarterly bills? How does your energy consumption differ throughout the year? This information is vital – as it helps you to understand what’s happening in your home right now – and also allows you to track future changes and improvements in energy efficiency, once your audit is complete.
Step 2 – Stop the air escaping!
The next step involves working out if you have any parts of the house where energy may be escaping. If you regularly use heating or cooling systems, it’s possible that your heated or cooled air is escaping through doors, window frames, attic hatches, floorboards, fireplaces, walls and ceilings. Inspect your property thoroughly – incense sticks will show any areas where air is getting in or escaping. Once you’ve noted the problem areas, find the appropriate sealant products to block up the problem areas and reduce energy wastage.
Step 3 – Insulate!
It’s important to ensure that your home is adequately insulated. If you live in an older property, your current insulation products are unlikely to provide the level of insulation required to maximize your energy efficiency. Check levels of insulation in your loft and basement (if you have one). You should also determine whether your home has cavity wall insulation – another way to prevent energy leakage. Your pipes should also be properly insulated to prevent freezing during the winter.
Step 4 – Heating and cooling equipment
It is important to ensure that all heating and cooling equipment in your home is regularly serviced to ensure that it is operating efficiently. If your heating or cooling systems are more than 15 years old, it’s probably worth considering a full upgrade to a more energy-efficient model. Be sure to arrange an annual inspection from a professional – this also helps to ensure that any potential insurance claims can be validated.
Step 5 – Review your home appliances
The ‘Kill A Watt’ home appliance testing kit is a great way to review the individual appliances in your home in order to fully understand the different levels of energy consumption. Simply plug the testing kit into the appliance you wish to review and the Kill A Watt provides detailed information on energy use and how much it costs to run each appliance. In the case of your fridge and freezer, you may simply decide to turn the temperature dial down a notch or two, or defrost them to improve their efficiency. With other appliances, you may decide to proceed with an upgrade, or decrease the frequency of use.
This five step approach will help to get you started on the road to a more energy and cost-efficient home. Good luck!