Mother Earth Living

Is Your Home Energy Efficient?

Take our quiz and find out how to make your home more efficient this winter.
By Natural Home Staff
November/December 2002
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1. When was the last time you changed your furnace or central AC filter?

• a. Last month
• b. Last year
• c. Don’t have one
• d. Am I supposed to change it?

2. Do you have a thermostat and, if so, is it...

• a. Programmable—automatically adjusts your home’s temperature setting when you’re asleep or at home?
• b. Non-programmable?
• c. Don’t have a thermostat

3. Does your home suffer from any of the following?

• a. None of the following
• b. Drafty windows, rooms, and/ or cold floors
• c. Pollutants such as dust, pollen, and mold
• d. Moisture on the windows; mildew and damp basements
• e. Two to three of the above

4. Have you added extra insulation to your attic?

• a. Yes
• b. No

5. Is your home’s air conditioner more than ten years old?

• a. Don’t have an air conditioner
• b. No
• c. Yes
• d. Don’t know

6. The average household spends $1,300 a year on energy bills. Do you typically spend more, the same, or less?

• a. Less
• b. About the same
• c. More

7. At any given time, how many lights on average are on in your home?

• a. One to four
• b. About five
• c. Seven or more

8. How many light bulbs in your home are compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) or have earned the Energy Star?

• a. 75% or more
• b. About half
• c. 25% to 50%
• d. I thought fluorescents were for grocery stores!

9. How old is your refrigerator?

• a. About one year old
• b. Two to five years old
• c. Five to ten years old
• d. I have no idea—it came with the place

10. Place a dollar bill in your refrigerator door and close it. Now try to pull it out. What happens?

• a. It won’t give back your dollar
• b. It puts up a bit of a fight but pulls free
• c. Slips right out

11. Is your clothes washer energy or water efficient?

• a. Yes
• b. No
• c. I don’t know

12. Does your dishwasher have any energy efficient options such as no-heat drying?

• a. Yes
• b. I wash my dishes by hand
• c. No

13. Do you have any double-paned or energy efficient windows in your home and, if so, how many?

• a. 75% or more
• b. 25% to 50%
• c. Less than 25%
• d. I don’t have any

14. Did you know that TVs, VCRs, and other electronics products actually consume energy when in the “off” mode?

• a. Yes
• b. No

If you scored mostly “a”s, you are ENERGY SAVVY

Way to go! Homeowners like you know that keeping your home running at peak efficiency means more than making sure the trash is taken out or the dishes get done. You see the link between energy efficiency, environmental health, and, quite possibly, lower utility bills. Whether you are remodeling or just want to make a small change, choosing products, systems, and appliances that save energy will help you keep doing your part to make our environment cleaner for future generations.

If you scored mostly “a”s and “b”s, you are ON THE RIGHT TRACK

You know some ways to help your home be more energy efficient but may be intimidated by larger projects or unsure about the return on investment. Or your home may be newer with many efficient appliances and products—you just need a little help to look for other ways to maximize your home’s energy performance. Many common household problems, such as drafty rooms and cold floors, are indicators of energy inefficiencies within the home.

If you scored mostly “c”s, “d”s, and “e”s, HELP IS ON THE WAY

You have probably noticed some real “energy drains” in your home but don’t know how easy it can be to improve your home’s energy performance and save money on utility bills. Simple changes like switching from incandescent light bulbs to energy-saving CFLs or adding proper insulation can really add up to significant energy savings. When buying new products and appliances for your home, look for the Energy Star, which indicates products that have met stringent standards for energy efficiency. You can find the Energy Star on products ranging from refrigerators and clothes washers to ceiling fans and home entertainment systems—making it easy to save money and help protect the environment. ANSWER KEY ON PAGE 77

—From the Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star Program, (888) 782-7937, To learn more about how your home rates, visit their online Home Improvement Toolbox.

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