Home energy audit: finding new ways to be more efficient

A Westlake family of four is hoping to become a deeper shade of green as they monitor the energy usage in their home for two weeks.

Editors note: This is part of a series the Advocate is doing on the City of Red Deer’s environmental programs and initiatives for the future. We have asked the Stange family to conduct an environmental audit and will report on the results of that audit in two weeks.

A Westlake family of four is hoping to become a deeper shade of green as they monitor the energy usage in their home for two weeks.

Jennifer Stange says while her family — including husband Grant and daughters Eve, 11, and Claire, 13 — is environmentally conscious, there’s likely some room for improvement.

The Stanges moved into their home on Wishart Street about eight years ago, six months after the house was built.

Stange said they did not have a say in the building techniques and materials used so they have always wondered if they could do more to save energy.

In an effort to make their home more energy efficient, the Stanges will undertake a home energy audit over the next two weeks. The home audit kits are available through the Red Deer Public Library and Red Deer College.

In the kit is a Kill-A-Watt electricity usage monitor that measures the electricity used by various electronic devices. A mini infrared thermometer checks the temperature of surfaces, which helps identify places in the home that would benefit from increased weatherproofing and insulation.

A wireless energy monitor gives real-time information on energy consumption and cost for the entire household.

“It will be very interesting to see how much we use and if we could get that number down,” said Stange. “As I said, we try to be aware of those things anyway but it doesn’t hurt to have that awareness.”

Their most recent electricity bill indicated the family consumed 604 kilowatt hours at a cost of $105 on the monthly bill.

Stange said their usage is likely typical for a family of four. They installed energy efficient lighting in the most frequently used areas in their home, and they are careful to turn off lights and appliances when not in use.

Stange said they are interested in using the infrared thermometer to pinpoint drafts in the house.

“I have always been curious about that here because there are some rooms that are definitely cooler than other rooms,” she said. “So I would be curious to know where those spots are and how we could improve those.”

crhyno@bprda.wpengine.com