Completing a Home Energy Audit: 5 Easy Steps to Reducing Energy Consumption

There are many benefits to completing a home energy audit, including saving money, conserving natural resources, and lowering one’s carbon footprint. Many people complete these audits, but not everyone does them well. In this article, I’ll teach you how to perform a complete and thorough energy audit that will empower you to take control of your energy resources.

Step 1: Gaining Knowledge

The first thing you need to do is gain some knowledge, knowledge about your current and past energy consumption figures. Luckily, this information is easy to get, just take a look at your electricity bills. Your monthly energy usage in kilowatts is listed on every bill. To perform a proper energy audit, you will need to know your monthly energy consumption for each of the last 12 months. This is very important, as you use far less energy in the spring and fall than you do in the summer and winter. If you haven’t kept your bills for each of the last 12 months, it’s okay. Contact your power company, and they will give you the information.

Step 2: Setting Goals

Goals unmade are goals unmet. You must make concrete energy conservation goals if you want your home energy audit to be useful. Also, you must write these goals down. Your goals can be very simple. For example, you can say, “We will use 10% less energy in the next 12 months as we did in the previous 12 months.” Then you can monitor your progress on a monthly basis by comparing last year’s monthly electricity bills with the ones you will get at the end of each coming month.

If you find that your goals are easy to reach, you can adjust them to make them more challenging. If you are not meeting your goals, you can make adjustments to your lifestyle that will help you conserve more energy. The power of setting goals and developing a system to check one’s progress cannot be underestimated. Do not skip this step.

Step 3: Become the Leader

It’s best to let your family come up with ways to conserve energy. This will give them a sense of ownership and importance and will increase motivation. That being said, you’ll need to get things started. Use this list of ideas to help you.

  • unplug appliances when not in use
  • switch to energy-efficient light bulbs
  • use insulation tape to seal drafty doors and windows
  • use extra blankets in the winter (instead of running heaters all night)
  • don’t heat rooms that nobody is in
  • turn off lights when not in use (this is obvious but few actually do it)
  • turn your computers off when not in use
  • spend more time outdoors and less time staring at the TV
  • don’t use appliances you don’t need (like extra refrigerators)

Remember, you don’t want to use these ideas to tell your family what to do. Instead, use them to spur creative thinking. Suggest ideas and then ask your family members to build on them. You’ll be surprised at how one simple idea can lead to many other creative solutions.

Step 4: Making Your Plan

Since this is a household project, you’ll need to make sure that everyone is on board. Your family members must see the value in meeting your goals; otherwise, they will not be motivated to meet them. If you are doing this to save money, explain to them what you’ll be able to do with the cash you save. If you want to protect the environment, show your kids how a clean and healthy planet directly benefits them.

With everyone on board, sit down and start brainstorming. Make the project fun. Get some snacks. Set up a healthy competition to see who can come up with the most creative energy-saving ideas. Keeping things positive in this way will keep the ideas flowing and motivate your family members to do more. If you don’t do this, if you sit the family down and tell them that it’s time to start “sacrificing,” you’ll be disappointed with the development of your plan. Work over several sessions until you finalize a plan that will allow you to accomplish your stated goals.

Step 5: Put Your Plan into Action

First, take your list of energy-saving ideas and turn them into action statements. For example, “We will unplug appliances immediately after using them.” Next, type these action statements up, print them out, and tape them to the refrigerator door where everyone will see them. On another page, make a chart with two columns. On the top of this page write down your energy reduction goal. Form it as an action statement. For example, “We will reduce energy consumption by 10%. Then, in the left column, list your past energy consumption figures by month. Leave the right column blank.

Now follow the energy reduction plan that you and your family have created. After a month, when you get your energy bill, compare it to the bill for the same month of the previous year. Then, in the blank column on your chart, write down your energy reduction results as a percentage. Do this for each month that passes.

Over time, you’ll notice that your home energy audit has empowered you to take full control of your energy resources. The results will be lower monthly energy bills, an increased appreciation for the energy you do use, and a sense of satisfaction brought about by the realization that you have learned to live happily while consuming less.



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