Watching the utility bills climb this summer? Ready to take control of your energy use? A home energy audit is a good first step towards figuring out how you use energy in your home, and prioritizing where you can start saving. Some utility companies offer auditing services; there are also private contractors that will do this for you (and you may be able to write their fees off on your taxes).
You don’t necessarily need to bring in a professional to conduct an audit, though… with a little knowledge and planning, you can do it yourself. David S. Findley’s Do-It-Yourself Home Energy Audits (affiliate link) aims to provide that knowledge, and help with the planning. A volume in McGraw-Hill’s “Green Guru Guides” series, Findley’s book walks you through the process of auditing your energy (and water) use, and helps you determine what steps you can take immediately, which ones might require some additional thought and planning, and when it’s time to call in a contractor.
More energy saving tips?
That was my initial reaction to the book (I think I just happened to open it to the list of 140 tips spread throughout the book), and so I was a little hesitant to start it at first. After all, you can find tips on home energy savings pretty easily these days, and it will only cost you a little time.
Once I dug into the book, though, I realized Findley has done much more that just provide tips; rather, he creates a system for approaching a home energy audit that almost anyone could follow. He encourages user to start off with an assessment of current energy use, attack the “low-hanging fruit” of low- or no-cost options, and then prioritize changes and upgrades that will require some investment. Throughout the book, he provides explanations of home energy systems and appliances. He even goes into the environmental costs of excessive energy use with a section on greenhouse gases and climate change.
The DIY home energy audit: no green consciousness required
While Findley does address environmental impacts, I liked this book because I think that, overall, it takes a really practical approach to lowering energy usage (and saving money). As such, it could appeal to those who don’t otherwise consider themselves “green” (and don’t want to…). Whether you believe that human activity is responsible for climate change or not, you probably do want to cut costs at home… and this book is full of ways to do just that.
I did find the book’s organization a little jumbled at times: the placement of tips throughout chapters, for instance, breaks things up a little too much at times. Fortunately, there’s a separate table of contents for tips, and the book’s ninth chapter lays out information on energy measurement and units. If you wanted to use this book simply as a source for action items, it’s pretty easy to do.
Overall, though, I think this is a useful book… especially if you’re new to the notion of using energy more efficiently in the home. Even those of us with some knowledge can benefit from this book, though, especially in terms of planning and prioritizing.
Read Do-It-Yourself Energy Audits? Done your own assessment of your home’s energy use? What do you think someone needs to know before taking on this task?
Please note: McGraw-Hill sent us a free review copy of this book.