Your Home's Efficiency
Where to Improve Your Home's Energy Efficiency
5 Ways Your Home Loses Heat
Whether it's summer or winter, energy moves through the walls, roof and cracks of your home. Either cool air conditioned air is lost to the outside during the summer or cold winter air is finding its way into your home during the winter.
Where does a home lose heat energy? Well you can generally categorize it into five areas:
• Floors and Below Grade Space
• Windows and Doors
• Infiltration (air leakage)
No, these are not all the same in terms of their contribution to heat loss. Heat is lost to infiltration and air loss by over 3 times the amount it is lost due to ceilings. These categories generally stack up this way in terms of % heat loss in a home:
• Infiltration / Air Leakage: 35%
• Windows and Doors: 18%-20%
• Floors and Below Grade Space: 15%-18%
• Walls: 12%-14%
• Ceilings: 10%
Hmmm... If you were to get ready for winter your inclination would be to buy insulation wouldn't it? Well it's not the best investment (although always a good thing). Reducing your air leaks around plumbing vents, wall electrical outlets and switches, recessed lights exposed to the attic, attic stairs, vertical plumbing stacks open in the basement and other culprits all allow heated air to be drawn from your home and escape out the roof or other openings.
Focus on buttoning up your home to air infiltration and leakage first including windows and doors, then focus on investing on insulation. Also, considering insulating the attic first. Although less heat is lost there than the walls, it is much less expensive to insulate the attic than the walls.
Do It Yourself Home Energy Audit
Here is a great source of information on doing an energy audit on your home and finding ways to improve the energy efficiency of your house. This comprehensive checklist provides you a way to evaluate your home and identify and prioritize potential energy efficiency upgrades.
- BTU: British Thermal Unit: One BTU is the amount of heat required to raise the temperature of one pound of water one degree Fahrenheit. A more practical definition would be: how much gas an appliance will use to produce heat or cooling. As a result, gas appliances are sized by a BTU rating. 100,000 BTU's equal 1 therm. For example, a 400,000 BTU heater, when in use, would use 4 therms of gas per hour. A 30,000 BTU range would use .3 therms per hour of use.
- CCF: Hundred of Cubic Feet: Method used for gas measurement. The quantity of gas at a temperature of sixty degrees Fahrenheit and a pressure of 14.73 pounds per square inch makes up one cubic foot.
- Billing Factor: An adjuster used to convert CCF into therms. It adjusts the amount of gas used to reflect the heat value of the gas at a given altitude. The heating value can vary from month to month; therefore, the billing factor is not always the same.
- Therm: A therm is approximately 100,000 BTUs. It is a standard unit of measurement. CCFs are converted to therms for purposes of billing.
Natural Gas Conversions
- 1 cubic foot = 1050 Btu
- Therm = 100,000 Btu
- Ccf = 100 cubic foot, or 1 therm
- Mcf = 1000 cubic feet = 10.20 therms
- MMcf = 1 million cubic feet
- Bcf = 1 billion cubic feet
- Decatherm (Dth) = 10 therms = 1 million Btu
- Mmbtu = 1 million btu = 10 therms
About gas rates and how bills are calculatedNatural gas rates are made up of two primary charges:
- Gas delivery service, which The Gas Company provides - the "delivery" (or "transmission") charge; and,
- The cost of the natural gas itself -- which is reflected in the "procurement" charge.
Many people believe that The Gas Company produces natural gas, but we don't. For our residential and smaller business customers, we buy natural gas from producers and marketers at the best possible prices on the open market.
The wholesale gas prices we pay are based on market supply and demand. They're not marked up by The Gas Company, and are shown on your monthly bill as the "commodity charge."
The Gas Company's delivery service charge covers the costs of transporting natural gas through our pipeline system. It is approved annually by the Public Utilities Commission and is not impacted by the price of natural gas.