How to Calculate Savings from Energy Improvements
Aaron Vander Meulen zeroes in on a key question in this week’s Q&A Spotlight: After making energy related improvements at home, is there any way of knowing exactly how much lower heating and cooling costs will be?
His parents have replaced their furnace with a new model running at 95% efficiency, and while they are seeing lower energy bills Meulen sees more questions. Wouldn’t a definitive answer on energy use rely on the heating degree days of a particular year, or how a gas water heater might affect energy consumption?
Meulen gets two points of view at GreenBuildingAdvisor’s Q&A forum. One side argues that while it’s possible to get a pretty good idea of how much energy can be saved, there are too many variables to make iron clad guarantees. The other side thinks the variables shouldn’t be significant.
Just as interesting is the question of whether contractors who make energy retrofits to houses should be predicting energy use after improvements, or telling homeowners how long it will take to recoup the cost of the upgrades.
Will our new 95% AFUE furnace save us any money? Evaluating insulation upgrades and HVAC systems may be a matter of comparing apples to oranges.