Dow Chemical recently announced their green investments have saved 1.8 quadrillion British Thermal Units of energy since 1994. Although they spent nearly $2 billion to achieve these savings, they have cut nearly $9 billion in energy costs from their balance sheet for a whopping $7 billion return on investment.
Yes, that’s billion. With a “B.”
While those are clearly impressive numbers, they’re difficult for me to comprehend. When I think of saving energy, I’m more concerned about turning off the basement lights, checking my thermostat or changing furnace filters.
Another concern I have? The unknown.
As an employee at a utility, I have a pretty good idea of the obvious things that are wasting energy in my home. But what about the things I can’t see?
Turns out, I’m not the only one with those concerns.
Lightly Treading, Inc., located in Denver, is one of several partner companies that conduct home energy audits for Xcel Energy. When asked about some of the most common questions and concerns from customers inquiring about a home energy audit, Lightly Treading auditor Shelby Massey notes that customers also are wary about the “unknowns” in their home.
“Many homeowners don’t know what to expect with a home energy audit,” says Massey. “Some are skeptical, others are more concerned about comfort. But after they receive our report and better understand their situation, the response is nearly always positive.”
Fortunately, Lightly Treading has taken some of the mystery out of the audit process by incorporating diagnostic equipment including blower doors and infrared cameras.
Blower doors are large fans used to determine where air leaks exist in the home. Homeowners can literally feel the air leaks in their home. Analyzing hot and cold spots in the various rooms of your home captured by the infrared camera can help identify potential energy issues hiding behind the bricks and drywall. These tools will help target where energy is escaping and prioritize energy improvements.
With these and other technological advances, the home audit process isn’t as frightening as it sounds. And in addition to finding answers to the unknown, most homeowners typically find they actually save energy and money – and are more comfortable than they were before the audit.
With spring (finally!) here, you may want to consider gearing up for the summer heat with a home energy audit. Thankfully, you won’t have to spend $2 billion to start seeing savings.
Article by Tim Laughlin, appearing courtesy Xcel Energy Blog.