Energy Star is a government-sponsored website that helps homeowners reduce energy consumption. It features the Home Energy Yardstick, a program designed to compare your home to similar homes in your area in terms of energy efficiency, and then offer tailored suggestions to bring energy consumption down.

Here’s how it works:

On the homepage, you will need to enter information about your home, including its square footage, annual energy use, and fuel sources, along with your zip code and number of home occupants.

Once you enter that information, the program will formulate your score, and you can set a goal to reduce energy use by a specific percentage. In order to find out just how you can improve results, you’ll need to input the type of home systems (furnace, heat pump, central A/C, etc.) you use for the program to fine-tune the results.

Suggestions for improvement will include low-cost ideas, and projects that require a more significant investment, including:

  • Sealing air leaks and ductwork. These two factors can decrease the efficiency of a home by up to 30 percent, because leaks in the home’s exterior and the ducts allow conditioned air to escape through them.
  • Upgrading insulation throughout the home. The attic is usually a good location to begin with, as homes tend to lose the most energy through this space. Insulation is designed to prevent the movement of heat, so upgrading your home’s insulation to maximum efficiency levels will keep conditioned air inside your house.
  • Using a programmable thermostat. This allows you to program regular temperature setbacks to help avoid wasting energy by unnecessarily heating and cooling spaces when they are not in use.
  • Installing Energy Star-qualified HVAC systems. Though a larger investment initially, it’s an investment that will maximize energy savings and comfort over the long term.

The Energy Star Yardstick program includes detailed information and guides to go about upgrading your home’s efficiency. You can solicit the help of an HVAC professional to confirm the program’s results, or to conduct an independent energy evaluation of your home.
In the Greater Charlotte area, contact the area’s leading HVAC contractor, Acosta Heating & Cooling – a local family-owned company since 1972.