DIY Solar Energy Efficiency: How to Do a Home Energy Audit Posted on 15 Jul 09:00
Boosting your DIY solar energy efficiency is a great way to cut back on your power use and save even more money.
A home energy audit can help you understand your electricity consumption and identify areas where you can make improvements. You can easily do your own audit too, by simply following the steps below.
Review Your Electricity Bills to Determine Energy Consumption
Start by establishing a baseline of your average energy usage.
This will allow you to compare your usage after making efficiency improvements in your home or business. To accomplish this task, gather your past electricity bills. Try to go back at least two years if possible, so that you can compare changes from year to year.
You can identify trends in your energy usage over time by making a spreadsheet or chart. Note the amount of electricity used each month in kilowatt hours (kWH) and the cost per kWH charged by the utility company.
This will help you identify the times when your usage spiked (when your bills were highest) as well as illustrate any rate increases assessed by the power company.
Find Ways to Save Energy with a Web-Based Audit
Once you’ve identified how much electricity your DIY solar power system must produce with your current level of consumption, the next step is to find ways to reduce that consumption.
One of the easiest is to use Home Energy Saver (HES), an online tool developed by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.
To get started, simply enter your ZIP code. From there, you are guided through a series of questions, including the energy prices you pay in your area, your home’s design specifications and your appliances and equipment. You are then presented with a report that suggests efficiency upgrades and shows how much you can save.
According to HES, money invested in these upgrades can result in savings of 20 percent or more on annual electricity bills.
Check Your Home for More Ways to Boost DIY Solar Energy Efficiency
The last step in your DIY solar energy efficiency audit is to take a walk through your home to identify areas that could be upgraded.
Consider the recommendations offered by the HES home audit, but also take a deeper look yourself.
Check for air leaks around doors, windows and electrical outlets. Inspect and clean your heating and cooling systems, making sure to change filters and seal any leaks in the ducts. You also may want to replace certain light fixtures and appliances to reduce energy use.
Spend a little now on upgrades, and you can reap the rewards by spending less on your DIY solar power system — some experts say that every dollar you spend on energy efficiency can save you between $3 and $5 in electricity costs. If you participate in a net metering program with the power company, this translates to larger credits for you.
And perhaps even more important, your home will be more comfortable and pleasant to live in all year long.
Solar GOODs has everything you need to convert to clean and cost-effective photovoltaic energy. Using our system design tool, you can configure your solar kit or custom system in just a few minutes. In no time, you’ll be saving money and enjoying the energy independence that only DIY solar energy can provide.