Tips on improving your Home Energy Ratings
Home energy ratings whether it is BER or any other equivalent program as implemented in other parts of the world all delve in the deficiencies in a building to conserve valuable energy. These ratings are an indicator of your yearly energy consumption which advises the home owners where and what they have to improve in order to cut down their energy usage.
Energy usage in homes
Typically an average home uses energy for various applications as follows (as a percentage of the total usage):
• Space heating – 31 %
• Space Cooling – 12 %
• Water Heating – 12 %
• Lighting – 11 %
• Computer and Electronics – 9 %
• Appliances – 9 %
• Refrigeration – 8 %
• Others – 8 %
This gives you an indication as to where you have to look in order to reduce your energy bill. Mind you even a small portion of each of the high percentages amount to a significant amount. As you see the biggest consumption is by the comfort conditioning application.
If you are to reduce home energy usage…
The best approach is to consider your house as built up of several elements consuming energy .The above list gives an idea what these can be. These can further be subdivided. For example, the heating system is not just your boiler alone but incorporates all controls, ducting, plumbing, insulation etc. all of which constitute a few components of a home energy system. Any weak points here naturally will bear on your home energy ratings.
A whole house energy efficiency plan can be built up according to the above and will be the key to your home energy rating improvement efforts.
Carry out an energy audit by yourselves
Carrying out an energy audit is a professional’s specialty. How ever you yourselves can carry out a preliminary audit if your aim is only to reduce your home energy consumption and reduce energy bills. Once you have identified your homes biggest energy gobblers you need to goo deeper and analyze why and where you are wasting any.
What to look for:
• Check the insulation levels of your attic, exterior and basement walls, ceilings floors, roofs and crawl spaces etc. Poor insulation and related issues will be responsible for substantial energy losses.
• Check for cracks or holes in the walls, ceilings, windows, doors, light plumbing and ventilation fixtures, electrical switches and outlets etc. through which air and moisture can move in and out.
• Check for open fire place dampers.
• Check whether your heating and cooling systems are regularly maintained. For example a dirt covered heat exchanger might consume more energy than when it is clean.
Following manufacturer’s maintenance instructions will help you a lot in this regard.
• Check whether your homes glass areas are of gas filled double glazing with reflective coating
and whether the frame is of perishable material which have now weakened
• Analyze your home’s lighting demand patterns and needs. Certain areas in your home such as living areas, kitchen, external lighting may consume energy unnecessarily. It’s best if modern controls such as dimmers, occupancy sensors, timers can be incorporated. The replacement of incandescent lamps with CFLs is highly recommended.
In the next article we will discuss how to formulate your home energy efficiency plan for improved home energy rating. Don’t miss it!
Thanks the Techstore Team