Striving For An Energy Efficient Home

Find out if you own an energy efficient home by partnering with your local utilities companies for an in-home energy audit. Learn the process & how to implement their recommendations.

*This post is a paid partnership with Columbia Gas of Ohio. All photographs and opinions are my own. 

columbia gas of ohio energy efficient home information

When I was first approached by Columbia Gas of Ohio to share information about their energy efficiency programs, I wasn’t sure I was the right person for the job. The honest truth is that I thought that there was nothing energy efficient about our home. Our home was built in 1966, and has the original windows & insulation. Our furnace is (believe it or not) 23 years old. 

But…as I learned more about the different programs that Columbia Gas offers to their customers, I realized there were things we could do to make our home more energy efficient, and that the process was very simple. The first step was scheduling our in-home energy audit.

My In-Home Energy Audit included:

  • Comprehensive testing for drafts and insulation needs
  • A safety check of my natural gas furnace
  • A personalized home energy report with recommended energy-efficient upgrades
  • Rebate savings up to 50% off the cost of the recommended energy-efficient upgrades – This will be personal to your report and can be adjusted based on your results.
  • Installation of a new smart thermostat (just $99 on top of the cost of an audit)

My in-home energy audit took about 3 1/2 hours. When my technician arrived, he explained the process and got right to work. There are a variety of tests that are performed, but my favorite one was the blower door test.

blow door test for energy efficiency

A large fan is placed in the front door of your home. Once turned on, the fan pulls negative pressure and measures the “communication” between the inside and outside. In other words, it’s a way to find out where your home’s drafts are located.  

set up for blow door test

When my audit was finished, my technician prepared a report and reviewed all of his findings with me. Most of his results did not surprise me, but there was one moment of shock. His test on our furnace showed that it was operating at 96% efficiency! Who would have thought that after 23 years, it would still be going strong?

Tips for an energy efficient home

My technician’s main recommendation was that we install additional insulation. Columbia Gas provided a list of contractors, and in an effort to help their customers reside in energy efficient homes, they will pay 50% of the cost of the upgrades.

Here’s more good news: for On Sutton Place readers, Columbia Gas of Ohio is waving the cost of the audit until the end of August. (That’s a $50.00 audit for free.) You must schedule your audit appointment before the end of the month, and use the code SUTTON. 

energy efficient nest thermostat in box with bow

As part of your audit, you can choose to purchase, at a discounted price, a smart thermostat. We received a Google Nest Thermostat E and not only does it look so much better than our old one, it’s much more efficient. A Nest Thermostat E retails for around $170.00. If purchased during an audit, the cost is $99.00, plus your technician will install it. Our Nest is synced with the Nest smart phone app and the other night, I adjusted the temperature from bed!

nest thermostat in energy effecient home

In addition to the In-Home Energy Audit program I participated in, Columbia Gas offers a variety of other energy efficiency programs to help you save energy and save money on your gas bills! My other favorites are:

  • Free online home energy checkups: This checkup takes 5 minutes to complete and provides you with customized advice on how to begin saving right away. You can also receive more information about product rebates you may quality for.
  • Instant rebates on smart thermostats: Columbia Gas has an online store that consolidates the best deals on Nest, ecobee and other smart thermostats, efficient showerheads and more. Plus, they’ll apply an instant rebate on your purchase when you checkout.
  • Home energy tips: Saving energy can help you save money, plus it’s good for our planet. The savings could lower your bill and provide you more comfort in your home. You can start saving today with our energy saving tips for every room.

You can see all of the other programs they offer at

I’ve learned so much from this whole experience and I encourage you to contact your utility companies to find out how you can make your own home more energy efficient. I love efficiency and you must admit, saving money is always a good thing. If you could save money on your utility bills, what would you do with it? Let me know in the comments. 

Thank you so much for stopping by…

Learn how to make the
sunflower arrangement {HERE.}

subscribe box graphic blue leaves inspire me button

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


  1. Mary Evans says:

    GREAT Post! All energy companies should offer this service. Thanks for bringing this to our attention. Blessings, mary

  2. We live in Florida and had an energy audit years ago. We learned so many ways to save on our power bill! This would be great for anyone in your state!

  3. In Virginia, we’ve been doing blower door testing for many years. I think we had ours done about 10 years ago. It’s amazing to see what areas you can improve. We replaced a LOT of light bulbs with more energy-efficient ones. Usually, the contractors that do the blower door test can also do a thermal test to your walls. That tells you where your insulation is working and where it can be improved. Our house had a lack of insulation at the top top of the walls.

    Thanks for pointing out this valuable service. It’s so important to know you’re homes efficiency. It may surprise you the areas you can save money :)

    1. Ann Drake says:

      I thought the blower door test was so interesting…and thank you very much for your kind comment. Our home needs an insulation upgrade that we’re in the process of planning now. Enjoy what’s left of the summer!

  4. Very informative! We live in Ohio and I will mention it to my Ohio friends who probably have Columbia Gas. Unfortunately we live in a suburb and do not have Columbia Gas but I will check with our local Ohio Gas to see if the have a similar program! Thank you!

    1. Ann Drake says:

      You are very welcome…and thank you so much for passing along the information to your friends!

  5. Good info for your local readers. From personal experience I can tell you that new windows will make a huge difference in heating/cooling/noise and keeping out dust. Well worth saving for this upgrade and of course adds value to your house, long after new and/or trendy updates. All the pretty things we like have a much shorter shelf life than upgrading major systems in our homes.

    1. Ann Drake says:

      Very well said. I totally agree that new windows are one of the best investments you can make. Thank you so much for your kind comment!

  6. KittyLuvr says:

    This was so interesting!!! While I don’t live in Ohio, I did just cut and paste and send it to my Ohio friends who live in Columbus. I am going to check with my local company to see if they offer anything like this….the free audit is worth your time!! Thanks, Ann, for taking the time to do the audit and to post the results and that pic of your door is so funny!!

    1. Ann Drake says:

      You are very welcome. Thank you so much for taking the time to comment and for passing the word along to your friends!

  7. So informative Ann! Here on our small farm, we have nothing but electricity. Waaah!!! Wish we had gas, mainly cuz I’d love a gas stove! Haha

    1. Ann Drake says:

      There are ups and downs to living anywhere…and a small farm sounds like heaven. Thank you so much for taking the time to comment!

  8. Great information, wish I lived there to take advantage of such a benificial program. You give me hope that my 27 year old system is still ok.

    1. Ann Drake says:

      Our furnace has proven to be a workhorse..and there is always hope! Thank you very much for your comment and for visiting my blog. Enjoy what’s left of the summer!

  9. Jean from Georgia says:

    This sounds like a wonderful service. I called my local EMC last week about similar service and it is not available.
    Great news about your furnace.

    1. Ann Drake says:

      I hope as the word spreads about these programs, that they might become more readily available to everyone. Thank you for stopping by and taking the time to leave a comment!

  10. Janet Lange says:

    Thank you for this timely column. I live in central Illinois, and our utility, Ameren, also offers audits for free for low income families. Their definition of low income is not as low as you may think and many families, including senior citizens, qualify. In addition to the audit, they often pay for upgrades! They won’t replace windows or furnaces, but they will do other projects for families in need. I encourage your readers to check with their local utility to find out what they can offer. I think that many will be pleasantly surprised. P.S. I am not affiliated with any utilities; my co-worker received this benefit from Ameren.

    1. Ann Drake says:

      Thank you so much for leaving this wonderful comment and for letting Ameren customers know the service may be available. I appreciate your time and thoughtfulness!

  11. More cookies and much more crafts.