Save 50% On Utility Bills With This Energy Analysis Tool

Winter is a comin’, which means higher heating costs for much of the country, so you should try out the energy audit tool at Home Energy Saver, a government site which uses advanced simulations to find out cost-effective ways to cut down your utility bills. According to their potential savings calculator, we’re talking 50% off here.

First, you give it your zip code, and it pulls up some initial information on your house based on your geographic area. You can then go with those estimates or enter in more details for a more accurate analysis. The tool then calculates your home’s energy consumption and potential energy-saving ideas. You can even choose a specific payback period and they will only give you recommendations that will be profitable within that period.

You can then see how your energy costs break down into six categories: heating, cooling, water heating, major appliances, lighting, and small appliances. The site gives great detail. For example, here is the part of the analysis for their recommendation that I install a programmable thermostat, again specific to my house:

Economic Benefits
Estimated Annual Bill Savings: $41
Estimated Lifetime Energy Cost Savings: $615
Upgrade Cost: $70
Return on Investment: 58%
Upgrade pays for itself in: 2 years

Note: Our calculations (bill savings and cost-effectiveness) assume that the heating-season set-point is decreased 4? F during the day (9 am to 5 pm) and at night (11 am to 7 pm), while the cooling-season set-point is increased 3? F during those same periods. Larger set-point adjustments can provide dditional bill savings.

Unfortunately, since we are only going to remain at our current house for less than a year, the only thing that might be worth the cost is flourescent lights, if we remember to take them with us when we move :)

Comments

  1. The link to model your own house dosnt work.

  2. The link for “your home” information wasn’t working when I checked it out. Do you happen to know the direct URL for that info?

  3. I’ve read a handful of these idea guides.

    The problems I have with them are:

    1) We already replaced the furnace (3 yrs, 94% eff), programmable thermostat (with furnace), the windows (3 yrs), and switched to gas H2O (

  4. I’ve read a handful of these idea guides.

    The problems I have with them are:

    1) We already replaced the furnace (3 yrs, 94% eff), programmable thermostat (with furnace), the windows (3 yrs), and switched to gas H2O ( less than 1 yr).

    2) The family HATES light quality from CFL’s.

    There’s gotta be more we can do other than wear more layers and turn the thermostat down more. The ideas that are left in the energy guides are seal ducts, add insulation, and buy new appliances (to replace the ones that still work fine). Our existing appliances aren’t like burnt orange or avacado, so they’re not too terribly old. There must be a magic energy-saving bullet out there for MY situation too.

    Another good source is at EnergyStar.gov. They offer the Home Energy Yardstick (link) so you can compare your usage to typical homes in your area. You need either yearly or monthly utility numbers (units used and bill amount), but it goes fast otherwise. Included utilities are electric, gas, propane, heating oil, and kerosene. We came out at around 59% and it made the same suggestions as usual (new furnace, gas H2O heater, programmable thermostat, etc).

  5. Gavin Peters says:

    This “I’ll only be here for a year” thinking has always upset me! Why don’t these improvements get priced into the house? If house A has $20/mo lower energy payments than house B, isn’t that the same as having a $20/mo lower mortgage, or maybe $2500-$3200 in value on the house?

    I guess it’s like the used car market: there’s a risk premium associated with possible dishonesty or something, so people can’t price all these things in? I just don’t get it.

    Of course, I spend $400/mo on energy in the winter for a 1300 square foot apartment, so maybe it’s just sour grapes on my part. I pay the energy bills, my landlord is responsible for providing the fridge, repairing the windows, etc…. So, he saves money, and but the extra expense I incur is more than what he saved; wealth is destroyed. Argh!

  6. Just use the ‘Home Energy Saver’ if the “your home” link doesn’t work, and type in your zip code.

    I’ve always imagined that if I lived somewhere cold and bought my own place, I’d stick so much insulation in it that I could be sponsored by Igloo :)

    I agree Gavin, I hate the idea of all this waste. That’s why I’d recycle cans even back when there was no deposit. But I’m certainly not springing for a new gas furnace!

  7. Gavin Peters says:

    Well, one “benefit” of paying my own utilities is that at least I get the benefit of energy saving appliances. In Toronto, I had a front loading washer, which saves a ton of $$, in a condo with unmetered electricity and hot water. So, that was my gift to the condo association…

    Here in Boston at least, I got one of the same make and model, and I get to pocket the savings in hot water and electricity. Yay!

  8. It’s snowing here right now. Makes me wish I could wrap the house in R-97 (made up number) insulation. We’ve got some when we moved the house, but it’s still rather poorly insulated for as new as it is. Now I’ve got to purge the clutter to get the insulation in while spending time with my family too.

    What I need are good tips on how to save money on utilities with what I’ve got rather than throwing more money at it.

  9. If you have extra insulation and an older water heater, you could wrap it around the water heater…

  10. I have purchased the flourescent lights while the light is o.k. the two problems I have noticed is that they take some time to warm up, which is frustrating, no instant on. Second, they seem to not last as long as is claimed on the package. Last set I bought I wrote the date on the base of the bulb with a sharpie and the longest lasted a year, the shortest a couple of months. My normal light bulbs last a couple of months easy.

  11. CF die an early death if you have kids like mine who turn the lights on and off repetatively. They are energy savers if you can use them in places that are almost constantly on (Kitchen/living room).

    As for light quality, have you tried the ‘full spectrum’ ‘natural light’ ones? They are a bit more expensive, but the light is much better and for some reason they seem to be lasting longer (I put them in the Kitchen/Living room, so maybe it’s the lack of going on/off).

    One thing if you do put in CF, be aware if you have lighted switches in your house, the light switches need to pass a bit of electricity in order to stay lit. This will cause a flickering of the florecent fixtures. Yes, I know that lighted fixtures burn electricity, but when you have an elderly person in the house that has a hard time seeing, they are worth it.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] MyMoneyBlog featured information regarding a very nice tool that can help you find ways to save money on your utility bills. After entering my information I found a few items I could use to save a little extra money. We already have many energy efficient appliances, but by changing a few things it could be worthwhile. First, you give it your zip code, and it pulls up some initial information on your house based on your geographic area. You can then go with those estimates or enter in more details for a more accurate analysis. The tool then calculates your home?s energy consumption and potential energy-saving ideas. You can even choose a specific payback period and they will only give you recommendations that will be profitable within that period. [...]

  2. [...] In addition to the Home Energy Analysis tool previously posted, here are some more no-cost and low-cost tips for saving energy from the Alliance to Save Energy. I’ve highlighted the ones that I personally should follow up on before it gets really chilly. [...]

  3. Money, Matter, and More Musings » Interesting Posts Of The Week says:

    [...] Save 50% On Utility Bills With This Energy Analysis Tool [...]

  4. Home Energy Tool: Save Money On Utility Bills - Credit Cave says:

    [...] I first picked this up over at My Money Blog.? Basically winter is an expensive time to run any household, especially if you live in a country / area where winter means cold temperatures and high oil prices.? While there are plenty of ways to save money from simply by opening your curtains during the day to let the sun heat up a room and closing them at night to keep heat in to? keeping windows and doors closed, these will not keep you toasty for the entire winter.? No, the only way that’s going to happen is by heating the house with oil fired central heating, gas or a stove. [...]

  5. [...] (typeof(addthis_share) == "undefined"){ addthis_share = [];}In addition to the Home Energy Analysis tool previously posted, here are some more no-cost and low-cost tips for saving energy from the Alliance [...]

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