We just got done receiving a home energy audit from Tom Nolz with the Neighborhood Energy Connection. Tom was full of information about how to improve our home's efficiency. We were excited and proud to be told that we are currently in the top 5-10% for our minimal energy use. But we also know there's always room for improvement.
Tom's biggest task was to complete a blower test. He sealed a big blower into our front door and then essentially sucked all the air out of the house. Then he and Nate walked around to literally feel all the spots where air can get into the house from openings in our home. Our furnace had hot air being sucked in like a wind tunnel. In addition, our patio door is warped and a strong breeze made its way through the cracks in this door. This might be a replacement we'll take care of in the near future.
Tom suggested that we do regular, annual tune ups on our furnace, but it probably wouldn't be the greenest option to replace it because our heating use is so low.
I would highly recommend getting an energy audit done on your home. Tom was extremely knowledgeable. He was very positive and supportive, and he provided realistic suggestions that we could handle making. He didn't make us feel bad about the giant leaks in our patio door and furnace; he just helped us to see how we could realistically make these problems better. When he suggested a swinging patio door and I said I wasn't interested, he was able to provide another option that would still be an improvement on our current situation (a wood frame sliding door will be less likely to warp than a vinyl frame door).
All you need to do to get started is contact your energy company (We just called Xcel Energy).
Let us know if you get some new ideas for efficiency after your audit!
|A picture of the Blower Door Test. This man is not Tom :)|