Economic Energy Efficiency




Q:  What is a Home Energy Audit?

A:  A Home Energy Audit is a series of visual inspections, diagnostic tests, and utility bill analysis to find where energy is being used and lost in a home. The results provide the building analyst with the information needed to produce measures that can be taken to increase your home's energy efficiency, comfort, safety and durability.

Q:  Why should I have an Energy Audit performed?

A:  1. If you are cold in the winter and/or hot in the summer

2. If you feel you are spending too much on your utility bills

3. If you have older combustion appliances that should be tested for safe operation

4. If there are places in your home that have mold growth, water damage, rot, unknown odors, etc.

Q:  How long does an Energy Audit take to perform?

A:  Depending on the size of the home, an Energy Auditt usually takes 2-3 hours to complete.  Final reports are usually delivered within a couple of business days.

Q:  How can I prepare for my Home Energy Audit?

A: 1. Having access to the previous 12 months of utility bills prior to your assessment will help your auditor target energy saving opportunities as well as speed up the report delivery.

2. Having a clear access to the attic and crawlspace is helpful, as auditors need to get into these spaces to inspect how energy is transferred within them and to note any moisture or durability concerns.

3. MOST IMPORTANTLY, If you have and use a wood fireplace, DON’T start a fire 24 hours prior to your scheduled appointment.

Q:  What is a building upgrade?

A:  A building upgrade is any work done to the building that reduces energy consumption or increases the durability.  Some examples include;  Insulation, Air Sealing, High Efficiency Heating/Cooling Equipment, Duct Sealing, Renewables, etc.

Q:  What are "renewables?"

A:  Renewables are energy sources that are sustainable and do not run out like fossil fuels. Examples include;  solar photovoltaic and wind (electricity generation), solar thermal and ground source heat pumps(heating and water heating).

Q:  Why is insulation important?

A: 1. Insulation conserves energy by slowing the transmission of heat through building the building shell (exterior walls, floor, ceiling/roof).

2. Improves overall comfort by reducing variations in temperature of the living space.

3. Reduces the sizing needs for heating and cooling equipment.

4. Prevents condensation by keeping interior surface temperatures above the dew point.

Q:  Why is air sealing important?

A:  Air leakage in buildings can represent 5% - 40% of space heating or cooling costs.  Air sealing can reduce these costs as well as increase comfort and help maintain the insulation's thermal integrity by reducing convective heat loss within the insulation cavity.

Q:  Why is the operation of combustion appliances important?

A: Combustion appliances create harmful gas byproducts. Testing inspects the conditions of these appliances to ensure that they are operating safely and efficiently. There are three tests that are performed. The spillage test assesses if and how quickly the exhaust gasses are vented out of the home after initial startup. Draft pressure testing is done to make sure that even in the worst case scenario that the appliance will still be able to establish a strong enough draft to vent the gasses out of the home. Finally, carbon monoxide levels are checked to make sure that the system is operating efficiently and within safe limits. CO testing also allows us to diagnose whether there may be mechanical problems with the appliance.