Monday, November 5, 2012

First year utility update

As we were preparing for our open house yesterday, we remembered how we were a little skeptical of the savings we would enjoy with a full ICF home. We knew that we would save money, but what we really wanted to see was hard numbers for an actual house, not percentages and averages.

We decided to pay it forward by offering our actual utility costs. Our house is 2,880 square feet (finished) = 1,700 in the unfinished basement.

We are amazed that we are paying much less than we did last year, in a house half the size of this one. Equally impressive is the fact that our actual costs will be nearly a thousand dollars less that the projected costs based on our low HERS score. 

The flyer with this information was very popular with the potential homeowners who toured our home this weekend. Several asked about the temperatures at which we kept our thermostat. 

In the summer, we often kept it between 76 and 78 degrees (F), not because we were trying to save more money, but because the house was quite cool and comfortable at that temperature. As a comparison, I was sweating at anything above 68 in our old house. 

In the winter, we kept the thermostat between 66 and 68, again, simply because that's where our home comfortable. In our old house, we kept it at 72 because I would be cold even while wearing warm clothes.

Another thing we didn't expect was how well the house holds the temperature. Yesterday, it was in the upper 30s. We had the thermostat at 68, but the house temperature went up to 70, with the furnace still off, just from all the people walking through. Last winter, we didn't turn on the heat until the temperature was 29 degrees outside, because the temp inside was still in the upper 60s!

We had a very hot summer this year, with several days in the 100s. Our electric bill in August was $150, nearly a hundred dollars less than we paid in our much smaller house a year earlier. 

One last thought: other than the first three months of the year, our gas bill has consistently been between $25 and $27 dollars. In January and February, the two coldest months of the year, our house was still under construction, and our March bill only reflected two weeks of occupancy (plus two weeks of workers going in and out all day). To compare, in our previous smaller house, we paid $168, $162, and $146 in January - March 2011. It's worth mentioning that our previous home was less than ten years old and fairly energy efficient as well, as we had a home energy audit before putting it on the market.
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