Energy Audits

The cost to operate the house and how to be comfortable.

An Energy audit gives you a roadmap on how to best spend your energy dollars to get the most return.  Expensive advertising campaigns by big-ticket products like Solar installations, and window replacements, lead us to believe we need to spend big money in order to be more energy efficient. This is simply not the case. Windows are indeed one of the items that are evaluated, and solar is considered, but these items are on the bottom of the list when it comes to cost-effective energy improvements. Usually, some air sealing of critical locations (found during the audit) and adding some additional insulation to accessible areas will give you equal or better return on your investment. An Energy Audit by Scott Home Performance Evaluations is not just an energy audit. It is backed by over 4000 ASHI Certified Home Inspections. A home/building inspection, or an Infrared investigation by me, is not just a home inspection. It is backed by nearly 5 decades of experience,  extensive education, training, and certifications in building science. BPI, RESNET / Energy Star, Inferspection, EDI, Moisture Warranty Corp, ASHI

ENERGY COST ANE OUR LEAKY HOUSES:

Next, to your mortgage, the cost of energy can be your second biggest never-ending expense.

You may be able to refinance to get a lower interest rate but after you’ve done that, you’re stuck with your mortgage payment for a long time.

And you know your taxes aren’t coming down. But you can reduce your energy cost. Energy cost, are also not likely to come down. In fact, at any given moment and with any natural disaster, man-made disaster, justified or unjustified war, energy cost, can, have in the past, and will again, go through the roof. We have little to no control over the cost of energy but we do have control as to how much energy our houses use.  By making your house more efficient, your energy costs are one thing you can lower. Sooner or later, we are all going to have to do it. Having done approximately 4,000 Home Inspections, I can assure you that our houses are so leaky and wasteful that frankly, it is disheartening. And it doesn’t matter if you have a new house or an old house.

Where do I start?

In order to get the best return for the money you spend to make your house more efficient, you have to start with a “real”, professional Energy Audit or Home Performance Evaluation. The audit is your roadmap. It shows you the best, shortest and most efficient route to save the most energy/money for the least amount of money spent.

What do you mean a “real” energy audit?

“Energy audit” and “Green” have, in a relatively short period of time, become so overused that people no longer know what they mean. Many, that have no idea what an energy audit is or have no relationship with “green” have jumped on the bandwagon to make themselves look good. There is one local bank that, because their logo was green, they now call themselves the Green Bank.  There are the “free” energy audits that window salespeople provide, along with their unrealistic, claims of unachievable savings. (Often, replacing windows or other big ticket items are the least cost-effective way to save energy dollars.) Oh, and by the way, they will probably say you need new windows.

Then there are what I call “Walkabout audits”. Audits where tradespeople or other professionals such as Home Inspectors or contractors walk around your house with a checklist. Then you get a report that tells you what your house needs. Don’t get me wrong, some of the energy-saving replacements/improvements are visually obvious but most are not. I have been pointing out visually obvious energy-related items for years during my inspections. But I don’t let my client think they have received an energy audit. Save your money and put it towards a real audit. It takes the proper training, equipment, experience to do “real” energy audits. And they need to be done in accordance with recognized standards so the post-improvement results can be measurable. See what an Energy Audits is section.

How does the audit help me best invest my energy saving dollars?

In order to answer this, you need to understand that there are basically two things we can do to make our houses more efficient. (Actually, there are a number of things and the audit goes into all of them, but there are two big ones and I’m trying to keep this simple.)

There’s insulation and there is air sealing.

Insulation: It’s easy to install the right type of insulation properly when you’re building a new house or adding an addition. Although, it is rarely done correctly. It’s difficult to add/improve insulation in an existing house with the exception of any accessible areas like the attic and basement. Perhaps you can improve the attic or maybe the basement or crawl space insulation but unless or until your remodeling your house and removing exterior wall coverings, you’re pretty much stuck with what’s in the walls. In older houses, this may mean nothing at all.