Understanding Residential Energy Utilization
It has been obvious for some time now that, in this era of expensive energy, homeowners and buyers need to understand the energy performance of their homes. Government officials and national news media focus on home energy audits as an appropriate avenue to pursue to make homeowners aware of the energy utilization characteristics of their homes.
Alban has been focused on this issue, creating a division called Alban Eco Solutions, to provide both energy audits and whole house energy renovations. Out inspectors are fully qualified energy auditors and are fully equipment to perform detailed and sophisticated residential energy audits.
Residential Energy Audit
An energy inspection is the first step to help home buyers and home owners understand and improve the energy utilization in their homes. The energy auditor will examine a property thoroughly and identify areas for energy saving improvements. An energy audit consists first of a discussion with the homeowner about energy issues and comfort of the home and their goals (lower bills, more comfort, information). We visually inspect the building envelope for energy wasting deficiencies. Key energy utilization systems, such as the furnace, heat pump and air conditioning compressor, insulation (in walls, attic, or around ducts), windows and key appliances are studied to identify energy features.
The more scientific investigation of the home can consist of numerous tests, including the use of blower door apparatus to depressurize the interior of the home, thereby showing areas of air infiltration where weaknesses in the building envelop exist, taking temperatures with digital laser thermometers and thermal imaging (when temperature difference inside/outside is sufficient) using the most modern infra-red camera equipment. After the onsite portion of the audit is completed, blower door, thermal imaging and other data are analyzed and a final report is sent to the client with a prioritized list of recommendations.
An energy audit can improve every aspect of selling or buying or owning a home. An energy audit can help lead a home owner to make significant savings in the costs of heating and cooling their home. For someone in the market to sell a home, an energy audit will create a differentiating market advantage. And for someone in the market to buy a home, an energy audit can make the difference in making a sound or a disastrous financial decision. There is no doubt that an energy audit is in the future of most homes. The only question is, when, sooner or later? If you want additional information regarding a full energy audit of your home, call Sandra Watkins, President of Alban at 1-800-822-7200. As always, we stand ready to serve your clients.
U.S. Department of Energy
Home Energy Score – Basic Residential Energy Survey
Energy costs, as reflected in utility bills, should be a priority for every homeowner. Fortunately , the US Department of Energy (DOE) recognized a need for a low-cost computerized tool to provide homeowners and buyers a simple way to understand their homes’ energy efficiency. DOE launched the Home Energy Score program in 2012. Since its inception, Home Energy Score Assessors have scored over 50,000 homes nationwide.
Here is how the Better Buildings division of DOE describes their Vision of the this tool: “Home Energy Score is a recognized, widely used and influential tool in the market that leads to an improved U.S. housing stock with better energy performance, lower costs and greater comfort as well as more efficient use of natural resources.” This means that homebuyers and sellers can understand the energy efficiency of a property, or for a homebuyer to compare alternatives in the market.
Key facts about the Home Energy Score system are that a qualified energy assessor can complete an assessment in 1-1 ½ hours, with a blower door used to identify the overall magnitude and location of air leaks in the outer shell of the home. This information is the basis for creating an energy improvement plan, called weatherization. The system proves an easy to understand and comparable information about a home’s energy performance, based on extensive research by DOE’s national laboratories. Energy assessors are trained and subject to quality assurance standards. The system can be customized based on local conditions, so it’s not a one-size fits all program.
Alban Inspections’ energy auditors are qualified as Home Energy Score assessors. In most cases, when a Realtor schedules a home inspection and a Home Energy Score assessment with Alban, we will attempt to schedule an energy auditor to complete both simultaneously. If you want additional information regarding the Home Energy Score program, call Sandra Watkins, President of Alban at 1-800-822-7200. As always, we stand ready to serve your clients.