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US Home Energy Consumption Outlook Prompts Home Insulation Upgrades

Minneapolis, Minnesota (PRWEB) October 24, 2012

The U.S. Energy and Information Association (EIA) report, titled “Short-Term Energy and Winter Fuels Outlook” published October 10, 2012, forecasts average household expenditures will increase this winter. After the exceptionally mild winter of 2011-12, the projected return to near-normal temperatures is the main driver of higher expenditures which are at their highest level ever. The winter heating season forecast is only an approximate 2% warmer than 30-year averages, but a hardy 18% on the colder side than last winter.

Destiny Homes owner Butch Sprenger says, “Minnesota residents enjoy the third highest home affordable rating. We anticipate cold winters. Most of our home renovation projects include upgrades in home insulation and installing high quality energy efficient widows. We help homeowners plan ahead by giving them options. Most would rather put their monies into new homes that are better insulated and long-term home improvements they can enjoy while reducing monthly heating bills simultaneously”.

The greatest portion of U.S. households use natural gas as their primary heating fuel, representing nearly half of all homes. EIA expects households heating with natural gas to spend an average of $89 (15 percent) more this winter than last winter, which is a challenge for many.

According to the report, “The average household winter heating fuel expenditures discussed in this Outlook provide a broad guide to changes compared with last winter, but fuel expenditures for individual households are highly dependent on local weather conditions, market size, the size and energy efficiency of individual homes and their heating equipment, and thermostat settings.”

The United States Energy Information Administration (EIA) produces a summary of U.S. home energy consumption every four years, timely as Minneapolis area homeowners are busy scheduling annual furnace inspections. The survey, called the Residential Energy Consumption Survey, covers all energy consumption, including appliances, and is organized by region and by climate (heating and cooling degree days).

The consumption indicators for all U.S. homes show two clear trends:

1) An overall increase in energy efficiency in homes in recent years

2) A steady growth in the size of U.S. homes over the last several decades. According to the National Association of Home Builders, the average home size in the United States was 2,330 ft2 in 2004, up from 1,400 ft2 in 1970.

The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) Eye On HousingBlog states that homeowners who have newly constructed residential homes generally save on their winter heating bills because the homes are better insulated. Their study show that heating costs are directly related to the age of homes, correlating the amount and quality of insulation to the home's age. “Single-family detached homes built before 1960 captured a well-insulated share of under 30 percent. After that, the share increases progressively as the homes get newer until well-insulated share reaches 67 percent for homes built after 2004,” says NAHB.

The Residential Energy Consumption Survey (RECS, produced by the Energy Information Agency in the U.S. Department of Energy) collects information on various housing characteristics, including the age of the structures. This identifies factors that impact newly constructed homes versus established homes.

According to NAHB's summary, “Tabulating the results shows that, overall, 38.6 percent of households in single-family detached homes judge their homes to be well insulated. However, as you might expect, the results vary depending on how old the homes are. Among occupants of single-family detached homes built before 1960, the well-insulated share is under 30 percent. After that, the share increases regularly as the homes get newer until it reaches 67 percent for homes built after 2004”.

Look for year-over price increases in heating oil (+2%) and natural gas (+1%). Propane and electricity rates are expected to dip 4% and 2% respectively.

Minneapolis and St Paul area homeowners seeking to build or renovate a home may reach Destiny Homes owners Butch and Liz Sprenger by calling 952-934-5706. Highly recognized and awarded for using quality materials in efficient home designs, Destiny Homes places a premium on draft-free, comfortable, luxury homes.

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