By Heather Brown

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — In the two-and-a-half years since Kerri Rivers and her family have lived in their Roseville home, they have converted their fireplace from wood to gas, insulated their family room and use only LED lightbulbs.

Their Home Energy Report from Xcel Energy considers them “average” consumers.

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The Xcel Energy and CenterPoint Energy Home Energy Reports list how much electricity or gas an “efficient” neighbor uses, how much an “average” neighbor uses, and how much “You” use.

“I think in the entire time we’ve been looking at it, we’ve never been an efficient neighbor,” Kerri said. “So embarrassing!”

Xcel makes those calculations by using a sample size of 100 similar-sized and similar-structured homes within a one-to-two mile radius. Its comparison does not take into consideration how many people live in that home.

The top 20 homes are the ones that are considered most efficient.

Two WCCO Facebook page viewers shared how they achieve their efficient neighbor status each month.

(credit: CBS)

Kenny from Plymouth says he uses motion sensors for his lights, has all-new appliances and sets his smart thermostat to 62 when he is not home.

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Paul from Winona has new windows, wraps his hot water pipes and lowers his programmable thermostat to 58 during the night.

CenterPoint Energy has a similar calculation, but does include occupancy data in its comparison.

“The purpose of the Home Energy Report is not so much to kind of set up a competition amongst neighbors of who’s more efficient and who’s less efficient,” said Laura McCarten, regional vice president with Xcel Energy. “It’s to prompt you think about your energy use and to get you to think about if I want to be more energy efficient, where do I go to get that information.”

In its Home Energy Reports, Xcel and CenterPoint offer tips on energy saving measures.

Xcel says its Home Energy Report program has worked to encourage energy savings. By tracking the energy usage of people who receive the mailed reports versus people who don’t, the company has found people with the information from the reports are more likely to reduce their energy intake over time.

Xcel mails the reports to 220,000 people in the metro area. CenterPoint sends them to 200,000.

For those who don’t get the paper copies, Xcel customers can get more detailed information about their energy usage by signing into their account online.

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Both companies offer visits from the Home Energy Squad for $100. That includes an energy audit and installation of basic energy savers, like weather stripping and LED lightbulbs.

Heather Brown