Residential buildings are responsible for about 21% of the energy used in the United States. A lot of that energy is spent heating and cooling your house. And even worse, a whole lot of that energy is spent heating and cooling your backyard and front porch, through leaks and holes in your building envelope.
There's understandably a lot of excitement about photovoltaics, solar water heaters, geothermal heat pumps and other sources of renewable energy for the home. We all want to be self-sufficient. It's part of our national psyche. And, particularly for the environmentally motivated among us, the desire to reduce our dependence on traditional energy sources is strong. But when looking at potential energy upgrades for your home, you should keep in mind a few important considerations:
Your utility bill may be shocking, but it offers few helpful details: it doesn't tell you when your energy use peaks, doesn't explain how best to reduce power consumption, and doesn't tell you how your home is spending your money.
Home Performance is a philosophy and a science based on the premise that homes should be safe, healthy, comfortable, durable, and efficient. After all, homes — probably the biggest investment most of us will ever make — are one of the few things we purchase that don't come with an instruction manual. Is a home comfortable? Reasonably energy efficient? Safe and healthy? These are all considerations that a homeowner will either take for granted (we would assume, after all, that the air inside a home wouldn't be a potential health hazard), or simply neglect.