18:00 PM

Whoa! How My Energy Efficiency Adventure Is Saving Us Money

Two years ago we decided to take steps to make our home more energy efficient. Partly, so I wouldn’t be hypocritical in telling our members what they should be doing, all the while disregarding my own advice, but also because I wanted to see if these tips and tools could actually yield some savings. It turns out, they do.

I started out using the online Home Energy Evaluation to evaluate our house and identify what I could do to start saving energy without doing much of anything. I began with the low-hanging fruit: unplugging the appliances and electronic devices when not in use, changing the temperature setting on my water heater, upgrading our lightbulbs to LEDs and actually using my programmable thermostat.

My Home Energy Evaluation showed I spend most of money heating my home in the winter, so I wondered what steps I could take to cut back on that expense and I reached out to Jackson EMC’s partner, Home Diagnostic Solutions, to have a complete Home Energy Evaluation. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that, for the most part, my house was in great shape.

Identifying the amount of air leakage a home has is an important step in an energy evaluation. My house did well, we lose 29 percent an hour.

“Ideally, a home would have around 35 percent natural air leakage every hour,” said Andy Butler, a building analyst for HDS. “We’ve tested a lot of houses that lose upward of 75 percent of their air every hour.”

We did, however, need to make some upgrades. We decided to follow the recommendations from our evaluation and add insulation to our attic, and install additional air vents and returns to insure our HVAC was working efficiently.

What happened to my bill? It went down.

My highest bills historically come in January. After holiday guests, Christmas lights and the beginning of cooler weather. Before our evaluation and efficiency steps, I paid $234 for a January bill. This year, my January bill was $161.26. We don’t save $73 every month, but we do save money and energy because of the easy and low-cost tips my friends at Jackson EMC told me about. I really didn’t do much. I even got a rebate for the insulation.

I know I could save more if I was willing to be cool in the winter or warm in the summer inside my house, or ready to unplug the extra refrigerator, but it’s still worth the cost to me.

To use the free personalized Home Energy Monitor, go to www.jacksonemc.com/monitor.

For more information about having a Home Energy Evaluation, go to www.jacksonemc.com/evaluation or call 770-822-3211.