Keeping Up with the Joneses
By: Rebecca Hudson
Let’s face it. We’ve all done it. As much as you hate to admit it, you have compared yourself to your neighbors. Whether it was over who has the better television or who makes the best potato salad at the summer BBQ, we all have a little competitive streak inside of us. But have you ever gotten competitive over saving energy? Well, get your competitive juices flowing because EPA recently upgraded its Home Energy Yardstick, and now you can compete with your friends on a whole new level to see who can have the most energy efficient home.
The Yardstick is a free, online tool that allows homeowners to compare their home’s actual energy use to similar homes across the country to see how they measure up. To get started, all you’ll need is your home’s energy bills, square footage, number of people living in your home, and ZIP code. On the Yardstick scale, a home that scores a 10 is a top performer, an “average” home scores a 5, and one that scores below that has lots of room to improve.
EPA’s Yardstick tool was recently revamped and now graphs your monthly energy use to illustrate how it changes over the year — helping you to better pinpoint where you may have opportunities for improvement. It also now includes additional features like Green Button, a White House supported initiative to help homeowners easily access their utility data. If your utility participates, all you have to do is download your Green Button file from your utility’s website and upload it into the Yardstick tool.
So get started today and get your friends and family together to see who can get the lowest Yardstick scores. If your home does not score well, do not worry; ENERGY STAR has a wealth of tips, guidance, and tools to help you to improve your score and get yourself on the path to improving your home’s efficiency–and of course, beating your friends.
Rebecca Hudson works for EPA’s ENERGY STAR program and is focused on developing homeowner tools and supporting multifamily new construction stakeholders. She looks forward to having a friendly family competition for the best Yardstick score over the next year.
Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.
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