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Home Energy Audit
Jamais Cascio, 28 Apr 05

How much energy does your home consume? You can use tools like the Kill-a-Watt to check specific appliances, but that won't help you figure out if the aluminum windows, uninsulated water heater or aging dishwasher should be your first choice of replacement. Fortunately, the Lawrence Berkeley Labs has a useful tool online: the Home Energy Saver.

The HES is a website with a multiplicity of questions about your home's energy status. You can rely on averages or get extremely granular, as desired. The more detail you can give, the more accurate the results will be.

Each page of the audit gives you a session ID#, with the encouragement to write the number down. I'd second that encouragement -- there are so many questions that a browser crash, forcing you to re-enter all the answers, is more likely to make you give up in frustration. I know of which I speak...

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One thing to keep in mind is that many appliances these days still draw power when they are supposedly 'off'. This may not be calculated by the tool.

The draw might be the digital clock on the range, or perhaps it's to keep them 'warm' so that they turn on quickly.

Although only a few watts per appliance, if you add up the number of applicances in the average home that are drawing power while 'off', it can really add up. Imagine then applying that to all the homes in the country...

Posted by: Erik Ehlert on 29 Apr 05



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