Energy Stars Home Energy and Comfort Analysis Will Reveal Ways to
Reduce Energy Bills
Reduce Outside Noise
Better Indoor Air Quality
Understanding Energy Savings and the Efficiency Rating of Heating and Cooling
According to a recent Department of Energy report, heating and cooling systems make up about 48% of the energy used in the average US home. With a colder winter or hotter summer, it wouldn’t be a surprise if that number was higher. Products like a gas furnace can offer an efficiency rating of 97% annual fuel utilization efficiency (AFUE). An AFUE of 90% means that 90% of the energy in the fuel becomes heat for the home and the other 10% escapes up the chimney and elsewhere.
While there isn’t much we can do about how cold or hot the weather gets outside, you can prepare your house to perform at its peak efficiency.
What to Expect During Your Energy Stars Home Energy Audit
A good energy audit reveals where you are losing energy/comfort and gives your home contractor a solid foundation to build a plan. An oversized system will turn on and off more often and this takes more energy to run. Our step by step process finds all the ways your home is wasting energy and losing comfort. Then we provide a customized plan to fix these solutions. Other things Energy Stars inspects during home analysis includes:
Examining current insulation levels in your home
Inspecting current A/C, furnace, or heat pump settings
Blower door testing to check ventilation in home and help locate air leaks
Getting a history of the home including age and type of building materials used
Inspection ductwork system’s return and airflow capacities and design
Energy Efficiency Standards for Furnaces
You can identify and compare a system's efficiency by not only its AFUE but also by the equipment features. At first thought, you might presume a bigger unit will heat and cool your home better.
Old, low-efficiency heating systems:
- Natural draft that creates a flow of combustion gases
- Continuous pilot light
- Heavy heat exchanger
- 56% to 70% AFUE.
Mid-efficiency heating systems:
- Exhaust fan controls the flow of combustion air and combustion gases more precisely
- Electronic ignition (no pilot light)
- Compact size and lighter weight to reduce cycling losses
- Small-diameter flue pipe
- 80% to 83% AFUE.
High-efficiency heating systems:
- Condensing flue gases in a second heat exchanger for extra efficiency
- Sealed combustion
- 90% to 98.5% AFUE.
Energy Efficiency Standards for Air Conditioners
You can reduce air conditioning energy use by 20-50 percent by switching to high-efﬁciency air conditioners and taking other actions to lower your home cooling costs. Similar to how a refrigerator works, air conditioners transfer heat from a home’s interior to the warm outside environment. 6 percentage of the average household's energy use that goes to space cooling.
Room - Old, low-efficiency:
- Provides spot cooling
- Life span: 10-15 years
- Inexpensive way to cool a room or an addition to your home.
- Improper installation can result in signiﬁcant air leakage by as much as 10 percent.
- If you don't currently have an air conditioner, a room unit can provide cooling to select spaces.
Central - Mid-efficiency:
- Circulates cool air through a home using a system of ducts and registers
- Life span: 15-20 years
- Quiet, convenient to operate and more efﬁcient than window units.
- Can be expensive to install if you don’t have ductwork already.
- It will provide the most even cooling throughout the home and can be a cost-effective option.
Ductless, Mini-Split - High-efficiency:
- Mounted on a wall, a ductless, mini-split air conditioner provides zoned cooling without the ductwork.
- Life span: 12-15 years
- Easy to install and avoids energy loss associated with ductwork.
- Highly efﬁcient, work in all climate zones and can be an affordable alternative to installing a ducted system.
Other Energy Efficiency Product Upgrades and Energy Efficiency Improvements
We can help you improve your home in other ways after an in home energy efficiency audit. These energy efficiency upgrades can offer your home major efficiency improvements as well:
- Install and set a programmable thermostat -- it could help you save up to 10 percent on heating and cooling costs a year.
- Insulate your attic and walls, and seal cracks and openings to prevent warm air from leaking into your home.
- Insulate and seal ducts -- air loss through ducts accounts for about 30 percent of a cooling system’s energy consumption.
- Installing bathroom fan that vents to the atmosphere to use when you are taking a shower or bath.
- Installing a range hood fan that vents to the atmosphere to use when cooking -- this helps remove heat and humidity from your home.