Measure your progress - Energy Star Yardstick


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...

yardstickOnce 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!

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I ran this test and scored a 1.2. I wasn't too surprised by the low score. I live in an older home, have seven computers and a hot tub. I think this tool is extremely poor. I went to the trouble to get accurate data and was expecting some much better output. I fail to see the point of entering in the monthly cost data. It would also been nice to know what rate of consumption would have garnered a 10.0. I do agree that the tips for weatherizing your home after the survey were very well done.
1.2!!!! Do your computers go into standby mode when not in use? I guess you can't do too much about the hot tub. The tool could be a little more helpful, but its a good start.
Yes energy conservation can be interesting.... but shouldn't be forced on people by energy efficiency regulation! Guess you know about the current House Energy Bill summary I am writing a discourse called "Why all energy efficiency regulation is wrong" as part of a criticism of the Bill, see onwards What do you think about forcing energy savings, by only allowing energy efficient versions of products, with the choice disadvantages that has as explained on the site, compared to people doing it for their own interest and benefit?
To be honest, I'm playing a bit of devil's advocate, because I'm more of a free market fan and usually against regulation. I believe the true cost of generating electricity should be taken into account (by factoring in externalities, thus raising the price) and letting customer's make the obvious choice.

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