February 11, 2022

Male homeowner with computer plans how to reduce his home energy bills

This month BPI relaunched our Home Quiz. It's one of the most important features on our site, and we want you to know about it!
A home can be pleasant or difficult to live in for many reasons. Although you may not notice it, your home's ability to maintain a stable temperature makes a huge difference to how much you enjoy living there. The Home Quiz helps you to understand how your home's energy issues may be affecting your quality of life--and your pocketbook.

A home that loses a lot of energy is expensive and often uncomfortable to be in. Rooms may be roasting in summer or chilly in winter. You may avoid drafty, unpleasant corners of the house. Maybe your heater or air conditioner runs all the time, but your home still isn't a comfortable temperature. You might change where you sleep when the season turns to be comfortable at night. You might even want to get out of the house to get relief from the unpleasant indoor conditions during hot or cold spells.

It can be hard to know where to begin, when you want to rein in energy bills and make a comfortable home. The Home Quiz will use the location, size, and age of your home to calculate its energy use. You can add info about the heating and water heating systems, and adjust values to reflect your actual monthly bills for even more accurate results.The Home Quiz is created and maintained by EDS Tech, a company that specializes in modeling software for contractors. It is a simplified version of a tool that energy auditors can use to evaluate a home's energy use.

The Quiz combines information you enter with publicly available regional data and sophisticated building science to make an assessment of your home. You'll get an estimate how much money you could save each year by making improvements.

Although the Home Quiz is much less detailed than an energy audit, it can give a idea of how much you could gain by making improvements. When I ran the Home Quiz on my older New England home, I learned that I could save over $1700 a year.

Even more impressive, the numbers it gave on my home were correct! The Quiz's first estimation of my heating and electricity bills was very close to my actuals, and I was able to adjust values for further accuracy. Then it broke out the savings by feature, to show which components of my house are probably the most wasteful.

Remember, the Home Quiz assumes that work will be done by a qualified installation technician. A certified home performance professional will perform a blower door test before and after the work is done to ensure that the retrofit will bring the expected benefits. If you use the Quiz for DYI planning you might see some savings, but probably not the same that trained professionals could achieve.

We hope you get a chance to try this fascinating tool. It can tell you a lot about where your heating and utility spending goes! More importantly, it will give good information about how to save money and enjoy a more comfortable home. You can find it here.
Author Kelly Carey, a white woman with pink blouse and hair in a bun

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