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Free energy audits are just a click away

Lynn Burton
Post Independent Staff

A home energy audit used to be a fairly expensive process, but Xcel Energy is offering audits for free on its Web site through December.

“Our shareholders are picking up the tab,” said Xcel spokesman Steve Roalstad. “While this is free, I encourage people to use it.”

The computer program enables customers to quickly find out how energy efficient their homes and major appliances are.

The program can also analyze energy usage, provide personalized recommendations and help customers learn more about energy conservation. Here’s how it works.

Go to the Xcel Web site at http://www.xcelenergy.com. From there, click on “Residential” at the top of the page, then “Home Energy Analyzer.” From there, users have the options of quick or in-depth audits, and can compare costs of existing appliances to energy-efficient ones.

For the in-depth audit, users are asked more than 20 questions about their housing type, heating sources, number of occupants and more.

In less than five minutes, the computer program calculates in dollars the average annual energy use in similar homes, and breaks the total down in 13 appliance categories from heating to dishwasher.

Users can then compare their own natural gas and electric bills to the similar home average. If their bills are higher, they can started figuring out why, and fix the problem. For example, if a person’s bills are higher than average, he might first inspect his furnace. “If your furnace has a cracked heat exchange, it can cost you money in heating bills,” said Xcel spokesperson Steve Roalstad. “This computer program is a good measuring device.”

The audits are tailor-made for each of Colorado’s Zip codes for weather-related reasons, so that homes are compared within the same climates.

“Because of all the personalized information, customers will now be able to make more educated and sound energy-related decisions,” said Debbie Mukherjee, product portfolio manager for Xcel Energy. “In the process, they’ll be able to make their homes more energy efficient and save money on their energy bills.”

Contact Lynn Burton: 945-8515, ext. 534

lburton@postindependent.com


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