Are you losing yet? Maintaining your energy diet

RBC I The Northwest Colorado Energy Diet Challenge checklist has three sections of action items you can implement to your home to save on energy usage and on energy costs. The previous four articles have talked about the nice and easy actions to accomplish. So now that you have attempted a few easy items, we turn our focus to a couple of actions that are a bit more complex but will make significant savings in your energy usage.
The intermediate section has nine actions of which seven are self-explanatory. We’ll focus on the remaining two actions.
n Install and activate a programmable thermostat
The primary function of programmable thermostats is to lower the house temperature when you don’t need it. Nighttime and when you are away from home are two times that a programmable thermostat is best used. When you effectively control home temperatures, an estimated cost savings is approximately $180/year. This cost is recovered after the first year of using a programmable thermostat, a payback that is indeed attractive.
Any quick website search for programmable thermostats will result in so much detail (upwards of 30 brands) that you could become quite confused and frustrated. We recommend three considerations before you select the right thermostat for your home. First select a brand and control capabilities for the function required, second, consider the thermostat location for best temperature control, and third, be sure have a qualified person install the thermostat correctly.
To help you in this decision, we recommend perusing the following websites before a thermostat purchase. Also, Google “home programmable thermostats.”
www.amazon.com/gp/top-rated/hi/2054378011 Good and concise overview of many thermostats as assessed by the user owners. The author does not comment on the ratings or the savings, take the data as direction for selection only.
www.consumerreports.org/cro/thermostats.htm Thirty thermostats are reviewed in the basic consumers report format.
n Schedule a low cost home energy audit
A professional audit of your home energy efficiency is suggested for those homeowners serious about achieving the optimal energy savings and home comfort. Even though you can assume where your home is wasting heating and cooling, an energy audit will define the largest energy waste areas. And the audit will help you prioritize. Why waste time on window sealing when the leaks at your fireplace chimney and/or entry doors could exceed the leaks in all the windows combined? Find out where your problems are, act on the leaks and thermal losses and then realize savings. You can find businesses that perform home energy audits by asking heating and cooling companies in your local community, looking in the Yellow Pages, or a specific web search for your local area. Also, check out these websites:
energy.gov/home-energy-audits Federal government website providing a place to start and links to other resources.
www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=home_improvement.hm_improvement_audits A second federal government website which is based on the Energy Star Program. Provides a link to finding an Energy Star Home Energy Rater so the homeowner can trust the rating.
Next week we’ll delve into the advanced actions items of the diet challenge checklist. Take the plunge and save today.
The Northwest Colorado Energy Diet Challenge Checklist can be found in your local library, city hall, courthouse or chamber or at YampaValleyDataPartners.com.