A main reason Maryland homeowners get an energy audit done is because they keep getting the letter from BGE saying that they are using more energy than their neighbors. They don't understand why this keeps happening to them. They swear that they turn off lights, set the thermostat right and they have new windows and doors.
They want to get to the bottom of it once and for all...
Here is What You Need to Know
1. BGE Home Energy Report Program
We all get them. We all stopped looking at them. But, every once in a while it pops up in an email and you see your score. It's never good. You ask yourself - what else can I do? You are energy conscious. You consistently review your energy usage habits.
It does not add up.
Here is the thing about the Energy Report Program. That is exactly what it is - a program. There is an element of psychology. Nobody wants to get beat by their neighbor and they know that. And, it works. It moves the needle. People turn off more lights, upgrade appliances to ENERGY STAR and set thermostats up or down a notch or two. It saves energy so it works.
Everyone always wants to know if there is any validity to the report and the answer is yes. Although some information gets left out such as how many people live in the home and what are their daily habits (retired vs. work all day) the report does provide a small window into where you stand when it comes to energy usage compared to others.
2. The Value of a BGE Home Energy Audit
To make a house energy efficient you've got to tighten your building's shell and usually the first thing that comes to mind for most is windows and doors.
But, energy consultants know there are many other places that need attention due to physics and pressure inside your home.
Uncontrolled air leakage occurs when air moves through gaps or openings in walls, floors, ceilings, duct work, doors or windows and is often a major source of energy loss in homes.
When reviewing information from an energy audit, the story becomes much clearer in terms of where we must look to be more efficient and it is not because the lights are on too much. Also of interest, windows and doors account for very little overall leakage when tested.
The green portion of the pie chart is the baseload. Baseload refers to everyday stuff like lights, computers, fridge, etc. Most impactful is the refrigerator so if you are already using ENERGY STAR then there might not be too much more room to save. Efficient light bulbs will help too.
Next, look at the red and light purple. Those show the heating and cooling costs. This is where an energy audit and HVAC are joined (and really should be married at this point).
Consider the most important thing to understand when it comes to making an impact on heating and cooling usage/ costs:
You can put the world's best HVAC system into a leaky house and get zero results.
In other words, don't put the cart before the horse. Sealing up holes, gaps and cracks around the "shell" of a home is a great way to really move the needle and will make any age HVAC system more efficient.Maybe you don't need to replace the HVAC quite yet - a BGE energy audit can guide you with an unbiased energy usage review.
The secret to saving energy is knowing where to seal up your house. Doing only the obvious things - like replacing windows or a furnace - won't cut it.
Get a BGE energy audit and learn about the ways in which you can passively save energy and money and live in a more comfortable home. It makes a lot of sense and having an auditor walk you through to learn more about your house is empowering. It will set you on the best pathway to save energy in places you might not have thought about otherwise.
Do you have something going on around the house?
Not sure if an energy audit would be able to solve it for you?
Ask Me! I'll let you know if it is something that is included in the service.
Written by Eric Gans I have over 1000 energy audits under my belt in Maryland. I like to take my personal experiences with each of my audit customers and try to get the things that concern them out into the world so others can make good home improvement decisions - in the right order - according to their needs.
Let us know how you are doing on your BGE energy report.