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Although there are very-positive sounding people out there and even software that computes money saved automatically, the fact is that money saved by energy-efficiency improvements can never be anything but an educated guess.
Think about it: We have all seen these ads:
Replace your windows with Low-E windows (or triple-pane, etc..) and save 30%-to-35% on your electricity bills.
Install a high SEER HVAC system and save up to 35% on your electricity bills.
Add insulation to your attic and save 25%-to-35% on your utility bills.
Add insulation to your walls and save up to 15% on your air-conditioning and heating bills.
Insulate your hot water tank and save 10%-20% on your water heating bills.
Add it up! If you add or replace all of the above in your home, surely the utility companies will owe you money each month.
How much money you save by completing any one item to add energy efficiency to your home or building depends on many things including how many energy-efficient repairs or additions you have made in the past and how your family or coworkers practice energy conservation.
For example, having children (or adults) stand in front of an open refrigerator or freezer deciding what to eat next is expensive, no matter what kind of windows or insulation you have. It also affects the percentage of electricity you spend on refrigeration.
Plus there is a difference in your total utility bills and the money that is spent on hot water, on air-conditioning, on heating, on computing, on refrigeration, on lighting, on watching television, and the list goes on. Changing from incandescent light bulbs to compact fluorescent light bulbs saves energy and money but it does not save as much energy and money as adding spray-foam insulation to your attic or adding a solar hot water system..
An expectation of an energy audit is that the home or business owner will receive a list of repair and/or additions to the building and an amount of money that can be saved from each one, including a return on investment..
Unfortunately, there is no real way to compute the amount of money saved, although there are educated guesses and even software that makes educated guesses sound good..
Last, but not least, the amount of money you save will depend upon the source of your home power. For example, if you have an all-electric home, heating hot water will be a larger percentage of your electricity bill--see graphs below. Thus, if you replace your hot water system with solar hot water, you will save a larger percentage of your utility bills and a larger amount of actual money than if you replace a gas hot water heater with solar hot water. Click here or on either graph below for more information.
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