You probably know how many miles per gallon your auto gets, so what about your home? Automobile MPG ratings have been a part of the car-buying decision process for years and interest in MPG ratings rises along with fuel prices.
Buildings account for 40% of all energy consumed in the United States and American homes account for about half that amount.
The AlabamaWISE program connects homeowners with certified home energy professionals who specialize in identifying where your home guzzles energy because, unlike cars, we want homes to last forever.
US auto mileage efficiency bottomed out during the first energy crisis. That’s when we started learning how to make homes efficient too.
Regular home maintenance and improvement should include a comprehensive energy assessment to identify where Home Performance with Energy Star will maximize your home energy mileage.
Here is a quick overview of how car mileage efficiency and home energy efficiency has changed over time.
What does a home MPG label look like? Participating AlabamaWISE home improvement contractors are certified by the Building Performance Institute or RESNET to perform diagnostic testing and visual inspection of your home’s energy-related systems, including insulation, windows, air leakage, duct leakage, heating and air condition system, and carbon monoxide safety. They also input 12 months of utility bills.
The resulting Energy Performance Score is an MPG rating for your home in units of Kilowatt Hours (KWH) per year. The score for an actual home in Huntsville, shown at right, was 43,000 KWH per year.
The label compares your existing home energy performance to similar homes in Alabama and the potential improvement for your home based on selected home improvement measures. For this home, the energy analyst identified energy-related improvements that could reduce annual electric bills by more than half, to 19,000 KWH per year.
– Brian Brainerd