Utility bills easily get out of control. There are many ways for this to happen. Buildings in the United States use about 68% of the nations electricity. According to the EPA, if you break it down, residential buildings use 37%, commercial buildings use 35% and industrial buildings use 28%. Most would guess that commercial or industrial buildings use more. The fact is that there are more residential buildings, which means there is more opportunity to save energy and money. This is a great opportunity to lower your utility bills.
Common energy consumption problems:
- leaving lights on in rooms that are not being used. Consider motion lights in the garage and outdoors.
- Using incandescent bulbs verses LED or CFL units. Incandescent bulbs are heat sources with a byproduct of light.
- Using old appliances. ENERGY STAR appliances use much less energy and last longer. An appliance with an ENERGY STAR label can produce energy savings of 10% to 40% compared to a similar appliance without the label.
- Not using a programmable thermostat. These can save you up to $180 per year, if properly set up.
- Inadequate weather stripping on doors, windows and attic hatches.
- Inadequate or missing insulation.
- Old leaky windows and doors.
- Leaving devices that use standby power plugged in at all times. CLICK HERE for a solution to this problem.
- Not using “smart” power strips in your home office and entertainment system. See recent BLOG POST!
- Not changing your furnace filter regularly. Dirty filters will make the furnace work harder.
- Duct work not sealed with mastic or metal tape. A typical home has 20% of the air that moves through the duct system lost through leaks, holes and poor connections.
- Not utilizing window shades during the hot afternoons in the summer.
- See blog post on changing habits to save energy.
Many of these can be fixed by you, the homeowner. However, there are many problems that can only be found by an building forensics company such as GreenEdge. We use advanced diagnostic equipment to identify areas of concern. If you seal up your home to be as energy efficient as possible you need to make sure its still getting enough ventilation. Your furnace and water heater are appliances that use a considerable amount of energy going toward your utility bill.
We proudly serve Grand Rapids, Holland, Zeeland, Caledonia, Byron Center, Grandville, Rockford, Ada, Kentwood, Hudsonville, Comstock Park, Sparta, Wyoming and Grand Haven in West Michigan. This would include but not limited to Kent, Ottawa, Allegan and Muskegon Counties.