Our Home’s Energy Use Benchmark

By Todd Fratzel on Energy Conservation

image of house in winterToday I was doing some research on how much fuel we used to heat our home last year so that we can use that information to analyze the solar hot water design. We used 1,054 gallons of propane to cook, make domestic hot water and heat our home last year. I was curious if that was good or bad. I did some research and found a really cool site that gives you a way to benchmark your homes energy use against national averages.

First off this is only a crude estimate of how your home compares to the average home. Also, the statistics that they use to compare average home are from 1997, however, I think they should still be relevant. You’ll need some basic information; how many gallons of fuel you used last year, the square footage of heated space in your home, and the total heating degree days (HDD) where you lived.

Our home has 3,300 square feet of heated space. We used 1,054 gallons of propane at 95,475 BTU’s/gallon (propane). According to the National Climate Data Center’s web site we had approximately 7,165 HDD’s for a year. The math is pretty simple; multiply gallons of fuel times the BTU per gallon (1,054 gal * 95,475 BTU/gal = 100,630,650 BTU) then divide this number by square footage (100,630,650 BTU / 3,300 SqFt = 30,494 BTU/SqFt) then divide that number by the total HDD’s (30,494 BTU/Sq/Ft / 7,165 HDD = 4.26 BTU’s per SqFt per HDD).

Ok…so what’s that all mean? Well according to the site, our home is in the lowest 12% of energy use per sq/ft. WOW….I knew our new home was energy efficient but I didn’t think it was that good. The more I think about it that’s kind of sad that our home is considered one of the best. Hopefully as fuel continues to rise houses will become more and more efficient and those standards will increase. Regardless of how well our home did we still use way too many BTU’s for a family of four and I’d like to find a way to cut that down significantly in the future.graph energy benchmark

About the author

Todd Fratzel

I'm full time builder for a large construction company in New Hampshire. I run their design-build division that specializes in custom homes, commercial design-build projects and sub-divisions. I'm also a licensed civil and structural engineer with extensive experience in civil and structural design and home construction. My hope is that I can share my experience in the home construction, home improvement and home renovation profession with other builders and home owners. I'm also the Editor-in-Chief and Founder of Tool Box Buzz. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions, suggestions or you'd like to inquire about advertising on this site.

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1 Comment

  1. Paul says:

    Todd, that is good information. I am going to make a small information sheet for my solar sales presentations because the one thing that I always emphasis is conservation. BTW, I did my own house and it came out 6.5 BTU/HDD. We still have some work to do in the basement, but the attic insulation I blew in a few years ago really helped!

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