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As our country recovers from
a deep recession, this is a good
time for us to rethink how we
use natural resources and look
for ways to conserve energy and
save money.
One of the best ways home-
owners can do this is by having
a home energy audit. It's a way
you can keep more money in
your pocket every month and
help the environment.
What is a home energy audit?
It is a comprehensive review of
your home's systems, from fur-
naces and air conditioning units
to light bulbs, water faucets and
the insulation in your walls and
attic.
When we perform a home en-
ergy audit, we look at the entire
building envelop of the home,
including exterior walls, roof-
lines and foundation.
Having an effective building
envelop is the best way to cut
the amount of heated or cooled
air escaping from your home and
save energy. In doing so, you
also do your part to help cut air
pollution and greenhouse gases
generated by coal-fired electric
plants.
With global climate change
becoming a growing concern,
people are more aware of how
their actions affect the world
around them. Many consum-
ers are looking more closely at
products and services that can
save the "green" in their wallets
and benefit the planet.
Inadequately insulated homes
and buildings account for an
estimated 75 percent of green-
house gases in the atmosphere.
When those leaks are sealed and
buildings are brought up to De-
partment of Energy standards,
it can reduce greenhouse gas-
es tremendously, making for a
healthier environment.
A comprehensive home ener-
gy audit typically costs between
$250 and $350. The average cost
of fully insulating a home is un-
der $2,000. Now, thanks to an
increase in the federal tax credit
for energy-efficiency improve-
ments, you can take up to $1,500
of those costs off your taxes. The
amounts vary according to each
homeowner's finances, so you
should consult your
accountant or attorney
for specific advice.
So let's say that you
spend $1,500 in ener-
gy-efficiency improve-
ments. Not only can
you take that amount
off your taxes, but you
could save 20 to 25
percent off your month-
ly power bill too.
Many homeowners
today are choosing to use eco-
friendly cellulose insulation in
both new homes and energy-
efficiency retrofits. Because it
is made of 85 percent recycled
newsprint, it helps keep trash
out of landfills and trees grow-
ing in the forests. It is also more
effective than similar products
that require a huge amount of
energy in manufacturing.
There are other benefits of
energy-efficiency improvements,
too. Some homeowners can get
specially discounted mortgages
for energy-efficient homes and
improvements. We are working
to develop relationships with
real estate agents and firms to
educate them on the benefits
available to homeowners.
What should you look for in
a home energy auditing firm?
First, find a company that can
help you obtain the ENERGY
STAR
®
label for your home or
business. All ENERGY STAR
®
-
certified homes receive a rate
discount from power companies
and generally have additional
resale value.
ENERGY STAR
®
is a joint pro-
gram of the U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency and the U.S.
Department of Energy that aims
to save money and
protect the environ-
ment through ener-
gy efficient products
and practices. With
the help of ENERGY
STAR
®
, Americans
saved enough ener-
gy in 2007 to avoid
greenhouse gas emis-
sions equivalent to
those from 27 million
cars and saved $16
billion on their utility bills in
the process.
An energy audit firm with cer-
tified energy raters analyzes the
efficiency of a home or building
with the ENERGY STAR
®
Energy
Performance Rating System to
identify improvement oppor-
tunities. Professional energy au-
ditors use the rating system to
set efficiency goals for existing
buildings. They are also trained
to use the ENERGY STAR
®
New
Building Design Guidance to
achieve goals for buildings de-
signed to earn the ENERGY
STAR
®
rating.
Using these tools, qualified
Declare Your Energy Independence
with A Home Energy Audit
by John Meeks
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Earth Day 2011 ­ Do Your Part
The world's largest FREE environmental fair and
Earth Day Celebration ­ More than 350 exhibitors
with Earth-friendly causes, products and services
eHome ­ Living sustainably · Solar Energy
Children's Earth Parade at 10:30 · Special Children's Area
Energy-efficient Vehicles · Food · Entertainment
EarthFair is produced entirely by 400+ volunteers...
We need YOU! To volunteer, or for more info:
www.EarthDayWeb.org
Awareness Magazine - EarthWorks' EarthFair 2011
4w x 3-1/4h
Celebrate Earth Day!
E
arth
F
air
2011
Sunday, April 17, 2011
10 am ­ 5 pm · Balboa Park, San Diego
firms are able to justify projects
financially, prioritize opportuni-
ties and establish plans to reach
efficiency goals. The Energy
Performance Rating System also
enables them to document and
communicate project successes
and identify structures eligible
for the ENERGY STAR
®
Label.
Homeowners considering an
energy audit may also want to
seek firms affiliated with Build-
ing Performance Institute. BPI is
an industry leader in building
science. BPI affiliates are autho-
rized to train green collar work-
ers in the science of building
energy efficiency.
Thanks to science, tax credits
and the new emphasis on green
building, it's a great time to save
money and help the planet. As
Americans, let's all do our part
for energy independence.
John Meeks is a home energy ex-
pert and analyst with more than 30
years' construction experience. his
company, Apple blossom Insulators, is
trained and recognized by the Depart-
ment of Energy and the Environmental
Protection Agency as Service Partner
Providers. headquartered in Concord,
NC, the company trains green collar
workers as an affiliate of the building
Performance. For more information,
email: John@abinsulators.com
Never doubt that a small
group of thoughtful
committed people can
change the world.
Indeed, it is the only
thing that ever has.
-- Margaret Mead