Better Home Efficiency—The Devil is in the Details

Posted by Bill Walter on April 08, 2013
Better Home Efficiency—The Devil is in the Details
When doing energy audits, do you tell your clients that 75% of appliance energy occurs when the appliance is turned off?


If you are a home performance professional then you will most likely look out for the same kinds of things when carrying out your energy audits. You'll probably look for things like air quality, temperature, boiler efficiency, and insulation. You'll use a range of diagnostic equipment and tools such as carbon monoxide detectors and blower doors, and you'll come up with a number of solutions to help your clients improve their efficiency and comfort.

If you want to do your job thoroughly and really help your clients and the environment, there are a number of ways you should be going beyond the call of duty. That means not just ticking boxes, but also offering consultation and advice to your clients to help them live in a greener way and to save them that extra bit of energy. When it comes to efficiency, the devil truly is in the details and it's by making lots of small changes to save energy that you can end up saving larger amounts. Here are some of the things to look out for when looking around a home, as well as ways you can help your clients. 

Other Systems

Boilers and furnaces are an obvious place to look when trying to improve a home's energy efficiency because they're so crucial to our comfort and because they use a lot of energy to run. However, there are many other systems in most homes and installations that will also use energy and almost all of these can be improved in terms of their efficiency to bring about huge cumulative savings.

An example of this is security cameras. These serve an important role in protecting the home but they will also contribute to your energy overheads. Fortunately there are a number of ways they can be made more efficient too. Like any technology, different models of CCTV camera will have different efficiency ratings but you can also save energy by using them in smarter ways—for instance by using motion sensors so that the cameras will only come on and start recording when there's actually something to record rather than leaving you with hours' worth of empty rooms.

Smart Gadgets and Installations

As well as looking at existing gadgets and helping your clients make the usual changes to their home, you should also think about where they could benefit from additional gadgets and installations specific to their lifestyles. For instance a household that uses a lot of smartphones, laptops, and tablets might benefit from something like a solar charger so that they can charge their devices outside rather than using their home’s main power source. Meanwhile you might suggest an app for your clients' phones so that they can monitor the amount of energy they're using, or you might recommend that they look into getting timers for their lighting so that they never accidentally leave the light on when they're not in, for example. Spend some time researching various green gadgets and installations so that you can recommend them where you think they would be useful.

Lifestyle Changes

If you want to help someone to improve their energy efficiency then fixing up their home is only part of the story—you also need to help them to manage their own energy consumption and to be more efficient wherever possible. There are numerous ways you can do this, but just passing on the basics can be enough to help your clients to start living in a more eco-conscious manner. Likewise you should also look for little tell-tale signs that particular advice might be useful. If you see a lot of mould around the house for instance, then perhaps try explaining the causes of mold and giving tips as to how they can prevent it (by removing air pockets from the rooms and keeping the windows open occasionally for example). Likewise if you notice they have a lot of electrical devices you might want to ensure that they are using them efficiently and not leaving them to charge overnight or on standby for example.

Go the extra mile and pick up on the little details when you do your energy audits and you will be able to do more for the environment and your clients.


Bill Walter owns a home improvement blog and provides valuable tips on home security. You can learn more about wireless home security systems here.

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