I'm a big fan of Energy Star, the joint program between the Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency. The combination of a well put-together website, great information, their partners, and tools they provide make them extremely valuable in energy conservation. While doing some research yesterday, I was thrilled to find a tool they have: Energy Star Yardstick.
Partners and I have had a very similar idea to this, but I was happy to speak with the Yardstick program manager, Ted Leopkey, and learn that the data in which the tool is based on is basically open for anyone to use.
The Yardstick helps you compare your energy usage against others in your similar situation. It only requires three things from you:
- Your energy use and costs for the last year: You'll need your last 12 months of utility bills OR a 12-month summary statement from your utility company.
- Energy sources for your home: natural gas, electricity, fuel oil, propane and/or kerosene?
- The square footage of your home.
For most people, the challenging part will be finding your annual energy usage, but hopefully your utility allows you to access this data online. If they have this feature and you just haven't signed up, DO IT! Not only can you easily copy/paste data into great tools like this, but you can usually sign up for online bill delivery and bill pay. No more wasted paper and energy to deliver a bill to your mailbox! But I digress...
Once you take the minute or two to get the data into the Yardstick, the tool spits out a score you can use to compare your usage against others in similar situations: energy types, home size, weather (it also uses your zip code) .
The best part of the tool is that at the end, it will give you tips on what you can do to further lower your energy consumption that are based on your needs.
I scored a 7.3 using this tool, what about you? Post your scores on the comments below!