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Home Energy Audits Can Save Money & Help the Environment

Posted Jan 23 2009 3:50pm
One person's carbon footprint will come from a variety of sources -- the car they drive, the food they eat, those flights to San Diego to see Grandma Jimi, and the home they live in. For most of these activities the way to reduce your carbon footprint is relatively simple. You can drive less and carpool more, you can eat less red meat (which has a significant carbon impact ), you can offset your flight to see your loved one- but how do you save energy at home?

Most of us know the big things that use energy in our homes like dishwashers, clothes dryers, and water heaters. But replacing those things with efficient Energy Star-rated appliances can sometimes be pricey. So what else can we do? Get a home energy audit.

A home energy audit is when a trained professional comes to your home to inspect everything in your house that uses or drains energy. They will not only check your appliances, but they will also check the cracks in your doors and windows, holes in your walls, insulation in your attic, and your basement's foundation.

A staff writer for the Washington Post, Jura Koncius, recently received an energy audit for free from the DC government ( ed. note: check to see if your municipality does this as it can save you hundreds ) and said: "I was shocked at how little I knew about my own home, where most problems centered on the basement and the attic."

Jura certainly found problems in her attic and basement but also with her water heater and even in the small holes drilled in her wall for the cable chord.

She also did some research to find the most common problems revealed from an energy audit:

1. Air leaks occurring around the house through electrical outlets; plumbing, heating and cooling pipes; and wall cavities. Solution: sealing or caulking.

2. Leaky windows or doors. Solution: sealing or weatherstripping.

3. Improper maintenance of furnaces, boilers and water heaters. Solution: Maintain according to manufacturer's instructions and have them routinely serviced by a professional.

4. Lack of adequate attic insulation. Solution: Install batt or precut insulation or have insulation blown in by a professional.

5. Air leakage from the attic access door. Solution: Have the door properly fitted and insulated.

Check out the article and if a home energy audit is right for you, get one as soon as you can. Saving energy keeps money in your pocket and CO2 out of the atmosphere. Remember to always reduce what you can, and offset what you can't.
Carbonfund.org makes it easy and affordable for any individual or business to reduce and offset their carbon footprint. www.carbonfund.org
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