An energy audit, or also called an energy assessment, is a comprehensive investigation of a home’s energy use, its health, and the safety of the occupants. We have two BPI (Building Performance Institute) certified auditors on staff having evaluated over 1500 homes. While many houses look similar, no two houses are ever the same and each need to be evaluated on their own merit. Construction practices vary from era to era and from builder to builder. The assessment is designed to provide the home owner with specific details and an informed basis for future upgrades.
An assessment begins with a look at the heating appliances and the area they are in. We utilize an electronic combustion analyzer to insure the appliance is operating safely and within its expected operating range.
The next step is a walkthrough of the building with the homeowner to learn of areas of concern, and to show the technician the layout of the home. During this phase, we will be looking in attics (if accessible) to evaluate insulation levels, proper ventilation of bath fans, and proper ventilation of the attic space. We will also evaluate the basement for moisture concerns, drainage, insulation levels, etc. During the walkthrough, we will be preparing the home for depressurization by putting it in “wintertime conditions”. This means that we will be opening all the interior doors (except closets) and closing all exterior doors and windows. During this time, we will also ask to review the utility bills for the home (electric and fuel). This will help us determine the justification of heating appliance upgrades, or solar opportunities.
An infrared scan of the exterior of the home is then conducted, utilizing the latest technology in thermal imaging cameras. This allows the technician to see where conductive heat loss issues exist (missing or low levels of insulation). It also shows trouble spots that will be further investigated on the inside scan.
Next, a depressurization of the home is performed using a tool known as a blower door to create a vacuum. It, literally, sucks the air out of the house, which in turn, is replaced with the air that is leaking in to replace what is removed. This process exaggerates all the “leaks” in the home as described in Airsealing / Weatherization so that our team can quickly find them and a list can be created for future reference, as well as a repair plan created. The blower door is a precision tool that also measures the amount of air that flows through the home. This is useful when determining how excessive the leakage is. It also allows for measuring the effectiveness of the work that is done to repair the leaks.
While most homes have excessive air leakage, the other concern that we can address with a blower door is if it is too tight. This can be detrimental to the health of the home (moisture) and the occupants (air quality). The technician will measure the home and calculate the minimum amount of air that should be exchanging to insure the health of all and compare that to the measured flow through the blower door.
The final, and most important step, the technician will sit down with the homeowner to discuss the findings and the recommendations for improvement, many of which can be resolved for little to no money. We treat everyone’s home as if it is one of ours, we don’t offer recommendations if we wouldn’t do the same things with our own money. A customized energy assessment summary will be completed and left with the home owner prioritizing the upgrade considerations based on the return on investment (ROI) and safety concerns. At this time, we will also help the customer understand what local and federal incentive programs are available to help offset the cost of the upgrades. And in most cases, we can offer estimated costs to help in the decision making process.
New Construction Consulting
The most cost effective time to take any "revolutionary" steps in insulating or heating your home or business is when it is being built. Many concerns and questions arise while building a new home or business. Our Knowledgeable Energy Specialist can help with which direction your looking to take. From heating systems to insulation, do it right the first time.
Air leaks are the leading cause of energy loss of a home. Studies have shown that an average of 60% of a home’s energy loss is associated with the air flowing through the home, rather than out through insulation in walls and ceilings. We call it convective energy loss. It’s the energy that is lost when air moves in and out of a home, taking the heat (or air conditioning) with it. Most people think of these as “drafts”. The most common place that these are noticed by homeowners are around doors, windows, and outlets on exterior walls. While these areas are the most noticed, they aren’t the leaks that cause the most loss as they typically only occur if the wind is blowing. The leaks that have the largest effect on the energy bills (and comfort) are the ones in places that homeowners visit very less frequently, attics and basements.