BRATTLEBORO -- As temperatures begin to drop and more homeowners dial up their thermostats, it’s important to guard against potential areas of the home where energy may be lost, resulting in higher utility bills.
The U.S. Department of Energy celebrates Energy Awareness Month each October, making it an ideal time for homeowners to make their home more comfortable while improving its energy efficiency.
First things first -- conduct an energy audit. Home energy audits are an important first step, as they help locate areas where changes are most needed to conserve energy. The audit should be conducted by a professional that is certified through the Residential Energy Services Network (ResNet). You can search for a ResNet certified energy auditor in your area at www.resnet.us.
Next, look downward. The concrete slab of a home can leak heated air, making it a major culprit in higher winter heating bills for many homeowners.
Let your house soak up the sun. Photovoltaic roofs can generate electricity by harnessing solar energy from the sun’s rays.
Install insulated siding. One of the best ways to impede the loss of heated air through exterior walls -- and reduce home heating and cooling costs -- is to install housewrap along with insulated siding.
Maximize your home’s insulation to create cozier living spaces. Insufficient insulation in unheated garages, basements and attics during the winter months can allow heat to escape, resulting in extra costs on monthly energy bills (not to mention chilly living spaces).
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the average homeowner can save as much as 30 percent on energy bills simply by having the right amount of insulation. So make sure your house is outfitted for the cold -- add insulation products where needed.
Overwhelmed? Start small. For those who can’t undertake large projects at the moment, you can still find small ways to save energy in your house. Turn off all lights when not in a room, replace furnace filters and turn off and unplug all appliances and electronics when not in use. Establishing small new habits can have a big impact in terms of your home’s comfort and sustainability.