How does your home score?

You can use this energy saving checklist to find a number of energy saving opportunities in your house. You can do a once-over of your house, room by room, to decide what savings opportunities you have already realized, and what others you might achieve.

On the other hand, this energy saving checklist isn’t the place to start if you’re just cruising for ideas. If you want to find a few energy efficiency tips that will get you the most savings, check out some of my other pages on particular energy uses in your home (heating, cooling, hot water etc.).

In creating this energy saving checklist I’ve tried to imagine a typical North American home. For clarity, I have things like a furnace room and a laundry room, even though in many older homes in my native city of Toronto, people just have a big open, unfinished basement. Also, the energy saving checklist assumes two stories above ground and a basement, again just to simplify dividing the living area into mechanical and functional areas (basement), main living areas (ground floor) and bedrooms / large bathroom (second floor).

It shouldn’t matter if you live in a ranch home, bungalow, or townhouse. Many of the items in this energy saving checklist will apply, they just may not be on the right floor, or in the right room.

To use the energy saving checklist, visit each room in your house, and look through the list of items to check for that room. Score yourself in the appropriate columns (‘Done’ and ‘Plan’) according to whether you’ve done nothing, have already taken the recommended action, or plan to take the action. Each action has a point value assigned to it – sometimes just one point, so for the ‘Done’ column, either you have done it (1 point) or not (0 points). (Similarly for the ‘Plan’ column – either you plan to do it, or you don’t.) For others with higher point values, use your judgment to decide to what degree you’ve done the work. If the item can’t possibly apply to you (for instance, you don’t have a third bedroom) score full points for that item. There are a total of 300 possible points. If you score over 280 you’re in great shape!

Once you’ve done each room, look through the energy saving checklist, and for any item that wasn’t scored, either strike it through, or if you missed it because it was in the wrong room for your house but it does apply to you, score yourself on it. Finally, total up the points in each of the ‘Done’ and ‘Planned’ columns. Your ‘Done’ total gives you an idea of how efficient your home might be now.

Remember, a Home Energy Audit is the best way to find out what improvements you can make – this energy saving checklist is a cheap but less effective alternative.

If you add ‘Done’ and ‘Planned’ you’ll see from the energy saving checklist how efficient your house could become. And if you compare ‘Done’+’Planned’ to ‘Maximum’ you’ll get an idea of how far off the best possible score you are.

This sure isn’t a scientific energy saving checklist! But it will hopefully give you a flavor of some of the ways in which you can save energy, and start you thinking about what improvements make the most sense. I haven’t put every single energy saving tip on the list – just a sampling of them to get you thinking about the opportunities you have. Good luck!

Floor Room Item Description Max points Done Planned
Basement Furnace rm Central Air Have a low (0), mid (6), or high (12) efficiency AC, or (18) don’t use air conditioning at all 18    
Basement Furnace rm Central Air Had your annual AC tune-up 2    
Basement Furnace rm Furnace Have a low (0), mid (6) or high (12) efficiency gas furnace, or (18) don’t need to heat (live in hot area) 18    
Basement Furnace rm Furnace Had your annual furnace tune-up 3    
Basement Furnace rm Furnace Had your furnace filter cleaned on schedule (monthly or annually depending filter type) 3    
Basement Furnace rm Furnace Circuit for furnace/AC turned off outside of heating/AC season 1    
Basement Furnace rm Hot water Turned your water heater down to 49C or 120F 5    
Basement Furnace rm Hot water Installed heat trap above water heater on hot pipe 3    
Basement Furnace rm Hot water Installed insulating blanket around water heater (consult fire code for gas heaters) 2    
Basement Furnace rm Hot water Have an air intake pipe from outside for gas hot water heater 1    
Basement Furnace rm Hot water Installed pipe insulation such as Armaflex insulation on hot water pipes where possible 2    
Basement Furnace rm Hot water Set water heater to ‘vacation’ setting when away for 2+ days 2    
Basement Furnace rm Hot water Use an on-demand water heater 8    
Basement Laundry rm Laundry Dry laundry on an outdoor or indoor clothesline 4    
Basement Laundry rm Laundry Wash all laundry in cold wash/cold rinse 5    
Basement Laundry rm Laundry Upgrade washer to a front-loading energyStar washer 4    
Basement Laundry rm Laundry Wash pants / shirts only when they really need it (not after one wearing) 3    
Basement Laundry rm Laundry Clean dryer filter after every load 1    
Basement Office Cable/DSL modem Unplugged or switched off on power bar when not in use 2    
Basement Office Computer Use an energyStar-rated computer at maximum power saving setting 2    
Basement Office Computer Unplugged or switched off on power bar when not in use 1    
Basement Office Computer monitor Unplugged or switched off on power bar when not in use 1    
Basement Office Computer monitor Use an energyStar-rated monitor 1    
Basement Office Computer speakers Unplugged or switched off on power bar when not in use 1    
Basement Office Dehumidifier Don’t use (6) or use energyStar-rated (3) 6    
Basement Office Light Change a high-use light fixture to energy-saving CFLs 1    
Basement Office Phone Use a plug-in, battery free phone rather than a cordless 1    
Basement Office Printer Unplugged or switched off on power bar when not in use 2    
Basement Office Wireless router Unplugged or switched off on power bar when not in use 2    
Basement Rec room DVD player Consumes no power when not in use (unplug or no instant/on or remote activation when off) 2    
Basement Rec room Light Change a high-use light fixture to energy-saving CFLs 1    
Basement Rec room Smoke detector Use battery-only smoke detector, not grid-connected 1    
Basement Rec room TV Consumes no power when not in use (unplug or no instant/on or remote activation when off) 3    
Basement Stairwell Light Change a high-use light fixture to energy-saving CFLs 1    
Basement Utility rm Freezer Emptied your chest freezer and shut it down 6    
Basement Utility rm Freezer Checked your chest freezer temperature is -17C or 0F 4    
Basement Utility rm Fridge Get rid of the old beer fridge 12    
Basement Utility rm Phantom loads Unplug any battery chargers / voltage converters when not in use 3    
Basement Walls Insulation Insulated with high-quality (R3+ per inch) insulation to 48″ below grade 4    
Ground All rooms Windows All sun-facing windows have blinds / light-reducing curtains for summer shade (and are shut during day) 2    
Ground Baseboards / trim Caulking Baseboards and trim caulked with color-matched or transparent caulking to seal drafts 2    
Ground Dining room Light Change a high-use light fixture to energy-saving CFLs 1    
Ground Exterior walls Insulation Insulated with high-quality (R3+ per inch) insulation 6    
Ground Hall Light Change a high-use light fixture to energy-saving CFLs 1    
Ground Hall Smoke detector Use battery-only smoke detector, not grid-connected 1    
Ground Hall Thermostat Have a programmable thermostat with at least a 6F or 3C difference between day and night temperatures 4    
Ground Hall Thermostat Turn AC off when leaving house for 2+ days 1    
Ground Hall Thermostat Turn heat to lowest setting when leaving house for 2+ days 1    
Ground Kitchen Bread machine Unplugged when not in use 1    
Ground Kitchen Cell phone Unplug charger when not charging 1    
Ground Kitchen Coffee maker Has no timer/clock, or unplugged when not in use 1    
Ground Kitchen Dishes Hand-wash with no more than half a sink full of hot water 1    
Ground Kitchen Dishes Prerinse dishes you will hand-wash, in ‘gray’ water (e.g. from last load or vegetable rinse water) 1    
Ground Kitchen Dishes Rinse with cold water 1    
Ground Kitchen Dishes Wash with cold water 2    
Ground Kitchen Dishwasher Buy an ENERGY STAR-rated dishwasher 4    
Ground Kitchen Dishwasher Turn off the heated drying in your dishwasher 3    
Ground Kitchen Dishwasher Use the ‘Smart wash’ or ‘Energy miser’ setting 2    
Ground Kitchen Fridge Replaced an old refrigerator with an energyStar model 5    
Ground Kitchen Fridge Checked fridge seal to ensure no leakage 3    
Ground Kitchen Fridge Checked your refrigerator temperature is 4C or 39F 3    
Ground Kitchen Fridge Leave at least 3″ on all sides of fridge for airflow 2    
Ground Kitchen Fridge No source of heat (stove, oven, dishwasher, sunlight, heating vent) adjacent to fridge 2    
Ground Kitchen Fridge Retrieve or put back all needed food items for a meal at once 2    
Ground Kitchen Fridge Don’t stare inside looking for a snack or inspiration 1    
Ground Kitchen Fridge Keep main fridge air cavity at least 50% full (e.g. fill in empty space with 2L pop bottles) 1    
Ground Kitchen Kettle Measure and only boil the water you need 1    
Ground Kitchen Light Change a high-use light fixture to energy-saving CFLs 2    
Ground Kitchen Microwave Use microwave rather than oven or stovetop for cooking 2    
Ground Kitchen Microwave Use microwave rather than oven or stovetop for reheating food 2    
Ground Kitchen Oven Buy a self-cleaning oven but never use the self-cleaning feature 3    
Ground Kitchen Oven Avoid preheating oven except for baked goods (pies/cakes/cookies) 2    
Ground Kitchen Oven Don’t use oven when outdoor temperature is over 29C/85F 2    
Ground Kitchen Slow cooker Use slow-cooker rather than oven or stovetop for cooking 3    
Ground Kitchen Stove Boil only the amount of water you need for the dish being cooked 1    
Ground Kitchen Stove Place lid on pot/pan when cooking 1    
Ground Kitchen Stove Turn burners off before cooking is done to use residual heat 2    
Ground Kitchen Stove Use leftover stove-heated water to do dishes 1    
Ground Kitchen Stove Use metal (esp. copper-bottomed) pot/pan not ceramic 1    
Ground Kitchen Stove Use pots that completely cover the burner 1    
Ground Living room Light Change a high-use light fixture to energy-saving CFLs 2    
Ground Living room Stereo Consumes no power when not in use (unplug or no instant/on or remote activation when off) 1    
Ground Living room TV Consumes no power when not in use (unplug or no instant/on or remote activation when off) 1    
Ground Stairwell to 2nd Light Change a high-use light fixture to energy-saving CFLs 1    
2nd All rooms Windows All sun-facing windows have blinds / light-reducing curtains for summer shade (and are shut during day) 2    
2nd Attic Insulation Insulated with at least R30 of insulation – 10″ of batt or 15″ of blown fiberglass 8    
2nd Attic Insulation If blown insulation, has been raked to level within last 3 years 4    
2nd Baseboards / trim Caulking Baseboards and trim caulked with color-matched or transparent caulking to seal drafts 2    
2nd Bathroom Bathing Cut showers from daily to every other day (2) or every third day (4) 4    
2nd Bathroom Bathing Cut your showers to 5 minutes each 3    
2nd Bathroom Night light Use none, or a luminescent one 1    
2nd Bedroom 1 Air flow Use a window exhaust fan to draw in cool air on summer nights 2    
2nd Bedroom 1 CO detector Use battery-only CO detector, not grid-connected 1    
2nd Bedroom 1 Light Change a high-use light fixture to energy-saving CFLs 1    
2nd Bedroom 2 Air flow Use a window exhaust fan to draw in cool air on summer nights 2    
2nd Bedroom 2 CO detector Use battery-only CO detector, not grid-connected 1    
2nd Bedroom 2 Light Change a high-use light fixture to energy-saving CFLs 1    
2nd Bedroom 2 Night light Use none, or a luminescent one 1    
2nd Bedroom 3 Air flow Use a window exhaust fan to draw in cool air on summer nights 2    
2nd Bedroom 3 CO detector Use battery-only CO detector, not grid-connected 1    
2nd Bedroom 3 Light Change a high-use light fixture to energy-saving CFLs 1    
2nd Bedroom 3 Clock radio Unplugged if room is unoccupied for more than 2 weeks 1    
2nd Bedrooms Fan Use ceiling fans in bedrooms for summer cooling 3    
2nd Exterior walls Insulation Insulated with high-quality (R3+ per inch) insulation 6    
2nd Hall Light Change a high-use light fixture to energy-saving CFLs 1    
2nd Hall Smoke detector Use battery-only smoke detector, not grid-connected 1    
Exterior AC unit Clearance Ensure totally free airflow around exterior AC unit (and remove cover) 2    
Exterior Doors Sealing Weather-strip all exterior doors 2    
Exterior Front entrance Light Change a high-use light fixture to energy-saving CFLs 1    
Exterior Landscaping Shade Deciduous trees (or another building providing shade) between house and sun direction 3    
Exterior Roof Air flow Air intake near bottom of roof (eg. Soffits venting into roof cavity) 2    
Exterior Roof Air flow At least four air vents near top of roof 2    
Exterior Seasonal d袯r Light Replace incandescent Christmas lights with LED lights 2    
Exterior Windows Sealing Windows are properly caulked 3    
Exterior Windows Shade Install a retractable awning over a sun-facing window/door 2    
Exterior Windows Thermal value Windows are double-glazed, low-E coating 6    
             
MAXIMUM POINTS 300    
POINTS EARNED FOR WORK DONE      
POINTS YOU COULD GET FOR PLANNED WORK      
YOUR POTENTIAL SCORE (DONE + PLANNED)      
HOW FAR FROM MAXIMUM ARE YOU?      
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