Condo Blues: March 2008

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

How to Conduct a DIY Home Energy Audit

It started innocently enough when I saw the gas bill on the kitchen table and opened the envelope. We used 108 CCF (centum cubic feet) of natural gas last month for heating and hot water?! We’re two people in a new build, 1500 square foot, freestanding condominium (looks like a house, acts like a condo.) We don’t crank the heat up to tropical heat levels in winter or set the air conditioning to polar cold in summer. We have a programmable thermostat; surely, it is supposed to protect us from high heating bills?

It’s not as if we can’t afford to pay the gas bill, we can. But honestly, if I’m going to pay for something that is in the hundreds of dollars I’d much rather buy a Nelson bubble lamp than something that’s here today and gone tomorrow like heat. Yes, I know heating is important and that you can die without it during the winter. However I wanted to know what was going on with the higher utility bills when our home is supposed to be energy efficient. I decided to conduct a home energy audit.

Unlike some areas of the United States, my local gas and electric companies do not offer free home energy audits to their customers. After much digging on the customer unfriendly Columbia Gas Website, I found a link to the Energy Star Website that allowed me to conduct my own DIY home energy audit using their Home Energy Yardstick . Best of all this service is free. I like free. Free is good.

How to Do a Free Home Energy Audit