Source: 2005 Building Energy Data Book, Table 4.2.1

The first step to taking a wholehouse energy efficiency approach is to find out which parts of
your house use the most energy. A home energy audit will pinpoint those areas and suggest
the most effective measures for cutting your energy costs. You can conduct a simple home
energy audit yourself, you can contact your local utility, or you can call an independent
energy auditor for a more comprehensive examination. For more information about home
energy audits, including free tools and calculators, visit the Consumer's Guide or the
Residential Energy Services Network (RESNET) consumer page.
Energy Auditing Tips
  • Check the insulation levels in your attic, exterior and basement walls, ceilings, floors,
    and crawl spaces. Visit the Consumer's Guide for instructions on checking your
    insulation levels.
  • Check for holes or cracks around your walls, ceilings, windows, doors, light and
    plumbing fixtures, switches, and electrical outlets that can leak air into or out of your
  • Check for open fireplace dampers.
  • Make sure your appliances and heating and cooling systems are properly maintained.
    Check your owner's manuals for the recommended maintenance.
  • Study your family's lighting needs and use patterns, paying special attention to high-use
    areas such as the living room, kitchen, and outside lighting. Look for ways to use
    lighting controls—like occupancy sensors, dimmers, or timers—to reduce lighting
    energy use, and replace standard (also called incandescent) light bulbs and fixtures with
    compact or standard fluorescent lamps.

Formulating Your Plan
After you have identified where your home is losing energy, assign priorities by asking
yourself a few important questions:
  • How much money do you spend on energy?
  • Where are your greatest energy losses?
  • How long will it take for an investment in energy efficiency to pay for itself in energy
    cost savings?
  • Do the energy saving measures provide additional benefits that are important to you (for
    example, increased comfort from installing double-paned, efficient windows)?
  • How long do you plan to own your current home?
  • Can you do the job yourself or will you need to hire a contractor?
  • What is your budget and how much time do you have to spend on maintenance and

Once you assign priorities to your energy needs, you can form a whole house efficiency plan.
Your plan will provide you with a strategy for making smart purchases and home
improvements that maximize energy efficiency and save the most money. Another option is to
get the advice of a professional. Many utilities conduct energy audits for free or for a small
charge. For a fee, a professional contractor will analyze how well your home's energy
systems work together and compare the analysis to your utility bills. He or she will use a
variety of equipment such as blower doors, infrared cameras, and surface thermometers to
find leaks and drafts. After gathering information about your home, the contractor or auditor
will give you a list of recommendations for cost-effective energy improvements and
enhanced comfort and safety. A good contractor will also calculate the return on your
investment in high-efficiency equipment compared with standard equipment.

Heat Loss from a House
A picture is this case, lost heating dollars. This thermal photograph shows heat
leaking from a house during those expensive winter heating months. The white, yellow, and
red colors show heat escaping. The red represents the area of the greatest heat loss.

Federal Tax Credits for Energy Efficiency     
On February 17, 2009, President Obama signed the "Stimulus Bill" (The American Recovery
and Reinvestment Act of 2009) that made significant changes to the energy efficiency tax
credits. These changes apply to products " placed in service" in 2009. The highlights are:
The tax credits that were previously effective for 2009, have been extended to 2010 as well.
The tax credit has been raised from 10% to 30%.
The tax credits that were for a specific dollar amount (ex $300 for a CAC), have been
converted to 30% of the cost.
The maximum credit has been raised from $500 to $1,500 total for the two year period
(2009-2010). However, some improvements such as geothermal heat pumps, solar water
heaters, and solar panels are not subject to the $1,500 maximum.
The $200 cap on windows has been removed, but the requirements for windows (after June
1, 2009) has been increased significantly. Not all ENERGY STAR qualified windows will
qualify after June 1, 2009.
Installation costs ARE COVERED for: HVAC (Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning)
systems, Biomass Stoves,
Water Heaters (including solar), Solar Panels, Geothermal Heat Pumps, Wind Energy
Systems, & Fuel Cells.
The tax credit for HVAC, biomass stoves, and non-solar water heaters is 30% of the total
cost (product + installation) up to $1,500. The law specifies installation costs include:
"expenditures for labor costs properly allocable to the onsite preparation, assembly, or
original installation of the property."
The tax credit for solar water heaters, solar panels, geothermal heat pumps, wind energy
systems, and fuel cells* is 30% of the total cost (product + installation), with no upper limit.
The law specifies installation costs include: "labor costs properly allocable to the onsite
preparation, assembly, or original installation of the property and for piping or wiring to
interconnect such property to the home."
Installation costs are NOT covered by the tax credit for: Windows, Doors, Insulation, &
The tax credit for windows, doors, insulation and roofs is for 30% of the cost of materials
only, up to $1,500.  Read this FAQ on separating out the cost of installation for these
Learn more at:

Thank you and feel free to contact me if you have any questions regarding this matter.
Energy Saving Information