Taming the Energy Tiger

Winter weather will soon start spiking heating costs for many chapter houses. With energy costs at an all time high, better control of heating costs is essential.
In older housing, poor insulation and HVAC equipment is often the budgetary enemy. In new facilities built to conserve energy, the culprit is residents who leave doors ajar and windows wide open. (But that issue is for another article.)
Fortunately, many states offer energy conservation assistance in the form of loans or rebates to help old housing more become energy efficient. To qualify for these incentives, an energy audit is done on the chapter house to determine where the building needs help. An energy audit is usually arranged through
your local power, gas or oil provider. The audit will provide a priority list to determine needed upgrades and cost. Most energy upgrades pay for themselves in a only a few years so upgrading is more of an investment than an expense. If your state offers energy audits, loans and rebates, investigate the options
Here is a handy checklist of things to look for if you are in the self help mode:
• Check doors for proper weatherstripping. Add where needed.
• Supplement single pane windows with storm windows or replace them with thermopane windows.
• Close vents in storage areas and other rooms that do not require heat.
• Service the boiler, furnace, or heat pump to assure efficiency. Heating equipment in poor operation use more fuel and work harder. Replace air filters several times a year. If the heating or cooling equipment is old and inefficient, investigate modern replacements. The cost is often paid back in a few years by
the energy cost savings.
• Use less hot water by installing low flow shower heads. Set the hot water heater at 120 degrees.
• Set daytime temperature at 68-70 degrees and 62-66 degrees at night. Set temperature no lower than 55 degrees during cold winter conditions to avoid pipes freezing.
• Install a humidistat that automatically controls the shower area ventilation fan based on humidity. Once humidity is removed, it shuts off so that excess heated and cooled air isn’t being unnecessarily exhausted as well.
• Keep all exterior doors and windows closed during extreme weather. Install automatic closers on doors
to help the process.
Begin the energy conservation process when weather is moderate so that you can enjoy the savings when costs begin to ratchet up. Tame that energy tiger.