A home energy audit helps Reno residents determine where their utility energy dollars are going, helps you zero in on energy hogs, and offers help in determining how to lower your energy costs. Our local purveyor of home electricity and gas, NV Energy
, offers their free, online Home Energy Audit as a program customers can do themselves. I've done it for my home and can tell you it worked well in helping me understand where the money goes. That's nice, of course, but it delves deeper and provides practical suggestions on reducing costs and making your home a more efficient user of expensive energy. You'll also find information about numerous programs designed to reward you for upgrades and repairs that cut your home's energy consumption.
Note: The online NV Energy Home Energy Audit is only available to customers in Nevada. It is not available to customers on the California side of Lake Tahoe. Nevada customers must create an account on the NV Energy website to access the Home Energy Audit section.
What is a Home Energy Audit?
An energy audit creates an accounting of energy use, including appliances, lighting, heating and cooling, and the structure itself. A home energy audit tool, such as the one from NV Energy, lets you factor in all the energy using aspects of living in a house and provides data that enables you to make informed decisions on repairs and upgrades, appliances to purchase, and ways to manage how lighting and other energy consuming features are deployed and used. While some suggested changes will cost money up front, the goal is to cut energy use and save money over time.
Doing a Home Energy Audit with NV Energy
Log in to your account, then click the Energy Audit link in the left menu. The system will then give you a choice of topics you can work through to learn about no- and low-cost ways to save energy and money, things you might consider buying, usage tips, and things you could do but aren't cost-effective. The recommendations are tailored to you according to the information you entered while registering and the answers you provide to questions in each section - weatherization, heating, cooling, hot water, kitchen, lighting, pool/spa (if you have either), other (if you added any). For example, my heating section recommended lowering the thermostat setting and avoiding heating unoccupied areas. It also said I might replace my heating system and install a heat pump, but indicated that neither of these was cost-justified right now. With hot water and laundry, it recommended I install low-flow shower heads, put an insulating blanket on the water heater, and insulate the hot water pipes. I found this exercise to be quite enlightening. I especially liked the many cheap, free, and easy-to-do suggestions I can use to put a noticeable dent in my utility bills.
Figure Your Carbon Footprint
The Carbon Footprint Calculator
is an interesting tool to approximately determine just how heavily you weigh on the environment, CO2
speaking. The calculator takes you through a series of steps to find out about your living arrangements, asking about your dwelling, energy and water use, vehicle(s), and recycling habits. It then gives you a selection of items you might add to your carbon reduction plan, like using compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs)
, fixing air leaks, and installing solar panels. The ones you select are factored in with the rest of the calculations and you are then presented with a total of your carbon footprint expressed in tons of CO2
per year. I tried this out and it isn't as complicated as it sounds in writing. The national average is 24.4 tons of CO2
per year and my household came in at 19.9 tons. You do not need to be an NV Energy customer and registered on the site to use the Carbon Footprint Calculator.
Save More - Energy Efficiency Rebates
There are a bunch of money-saving programs
available to help with the costs associated with making your home more energy efficient. Here are some northern Nevada customers can access through NV Energy...
Source: NV Energy