It all starts with a Home Energy Audit
Whether you want to increase the country’s security, your security, save money, be more comfortable, reduce your carbon footprint or live in a cleaner environment, your plan starts with an energy inspection or audit. US Green Home no longer directly provides residential energy audits, but we have worked with the following companies and recommend their services to customers on a regular basis.
Your home has many jobs to do! One is to keep you comfortable at a reasonable cost to both you and the environment. Solving comfort problems takes part detective and part house doctor. Fortunately, there are many tools available today to help diagnose issues big and small.
Depending on how you group the work, there are 10 to 12 diagnostic tests and hundreds of observations during an audit. Tests and observations together allow the auditor to understand the interactions of temperature, pressure and moisture in your home. Understanding the dynamics between the heating and shell systems help the auditor to plot a course to correct any potential health and safety issues. Typically the audit process looks at two systems:
1) Heating System
a) Is your heater in safe working condition?
b) What is your heater's efficiency?
c) How well is the heat (cold) distributed around the
2) Shell System
a) How well does your home keep the heat in?
b) What is the effectiveness of insulation and
Checklist-Style Home Energy Survey
Most energy audits are actually "Checklist" or "Walk-through" surveys. This style of investigation relies on observations in the home, but the inspector or home owner typically doesn't use any tools to quantify a problem. This type of assessment can be very effective when used by a trained and experienced energy auditor but is not diagnostic in nature. There are several web sites that can provide the home owner with a basic checklist.
Checklist Home Energy Survey Summary:
Observations only, Prescriptive report with recommendations
Typically: 1+ Hour long $0 - $100
Diagnostic Home Energy Audit
If a Checklist Survey is akin to "kicking the tires" then a Diagnostic Home Energy Audit is using a tire pressure gauge.
The Diagnostic Home Energy Audit helps you solve your comfort problems and understand why you’re spending so much to heat and cool your home. A Diagnostic Audit uses tools such as the blower door (see Blower Door tab), moisture meter and combustion analyzer to measure pressure, temperature, moisture and combustion gases to give exact answers to specific energy questions. Infrared cameras are particularly useful in identifying hidden insulation, air leakage and moisture problems. The price of infrared cameras has come down dramatically in the last few years, so you should expect to see their use as an audit tool increase.
A Diagnostic Audit is designed to shed light on the interrelations of home systems that can affect energy use, comfort, health, safety and durability. This process is very similar for climates that require home cooling, home heating or both. The energy investigator uses high-tech tools to measure everything, but a solid knowledge of home systems is most important. That is to say, the inspector or auditor has to know how one home system affects another system. A typical energy audit will provide both a review of the issues and recommendations to solve the problems. The report format can be either hand written or computer generated. In either case the recommendations should be sorted by importance. Health and safety is always at the top of the list followed generally by comfort and cost effectiveness. Once you have decided to take an action you are well on your way to saving energy and creating a safer and healthier world for us all.
Diagnostic Home Energy Audit Summary:
Observations, Tests, Analysis, Report with recommendations
Typically: 3+ Hours long $300 - $500
Specialized Energy Audits
Some homes have particularly difficult energy and comfort problems. These homes need one or more Specialized Energy Audits. Remember, the Diagnostic Home Energy Audit is typically only three hours long and is geared toward solving typical energy and comfort problems. The Specialized Home Energy Audit is designed to explore more complicated issues around heating, cooling, distribution of heat/cold, moisture and solar options. This additional work is often provided by a qualified heating contractor when a heater upgrade is being recommended. Specialized Audits are usually offered at additional costs, or may be rolled into the cost of equipment upgrades.
Specialized Energy Audit Summary:
Observations, Tests, Analysis, Report with recommendations
Typically: 1 - 3 Hours long $0 (if rolled into cost of job) - $500
More Audit Information
A Home Energy System Audit will:
· Pin-point drafts that make you cold using a calibrated "blower door" fan
· Identify air leaks that cause high heating/cooling bills
· Find the reason some rooms are cold while others are hot
· Chart a course toward fixing the problem
· Examine heater and hot water heater for health and safety issues, as well as, efficiency
Tests include using a calibrated "blower door" fan to understand how tight your house is. The fan accentuates all air leaks both big and small helping us identify if the comfort problem is solely an infiltration (air leaks) issue or a combination of drafts, lack of insulation and poor heat (or cold) distribution. To get answers, an auditor may look inside your walls using a fiber-optic scope or test the pressure supplied by each room duct register. Room humidity and moisture readings can also be taken if necessary
All homes have the same systems, but each home is different. While all homes share similar components, how the parts are assembled is uniquely different. Every home has 5 basic systems:
(Structure or Shell) (Plumbing) (Electricity) (Heating/cooling) and (The Resident)
You are by far the most important component in any home. Why? Because the occupant interacts with all systems and can override any of the systems causing them to run inefficiently or even fail. On the other hand, the well informed resident can prevent most issues from creating serious problems. A diagnostic home energy audit can help customers better understand their homes and the unique problems the home systems might create over time.
Thanks for Going Green, Hap