Happy New Year! This is the time of year when we often resolve to make changes of all types. Here’s an idea for you. Instead of focusing on the typical resolutions, such as losing weight and exercising more, why not resolve to make your home more energy efficient? And with winter in full swing, this is a good time to think about making energy-efficiency improvements to your home. Your thermostat is in full heating mode and generally, winter heating requirements cause us to spend more money than we do for cooling. This is because the laws of nature dictate how heat behaves on Earth. As a reminder, heat moves to cool.
On a cold winter day, the heat generated by a heating source is moving through building materials, cracks around doors and windows, unsealed holes created by electrical and plumbing penetrations and improperly installed and inadequate insulation. Furthermore, winter usually doles out a larger temperature difference between the indoor thermostat setting and the outdoor temperature. The greater the temperature difference, the more energy is required to maintain the desired temperature inside your home.
To be clear, not all homes are energy inefficient. So how does one know whether or not his/her manufactured or standard built home is energy efficient? Here is a simple way to do it, based on your average monthly utility usage. Simply multiply the square footage of your home by 10 cents. For instance, a 1,500-square-foot home multiplied by 10 cents (.10) equals $150.00. A 2,000-square-foot home multiplied by 10 (.10) cents equals $200. And so on.
Next, calculate your total electric bills for a one-year period. If you heat with natural gas or propane, be sure to add those bills into the total. Next, divide the total by 12 months to establish the monthly average. If your monthly average exceeds the square-footage multiplied by 10 cents (.10) calculation, you most likely have an opportunity to make some energy efficiency improvements.
Tennessee’s electric cooperatives can help identify and offer solutions for high bills and comfort issues. Contact your local cooperative or visit our efficiency archives for many energy savings ideas and solutions.
In the meantime, stay warm and start working on your energy efficiency resolution!
Bret Curry is the residential energy manager for Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corporation.