While new buildings are designed to meet energy efficiency requirements from the time the first brick is laid, older buildings need to be retrofitted to meet green standards. Property owners may be able to reveal potential cost savings simply by hiring a home inspection company to conduct an energy audit.
In Westport, Massachusetts, three property owners did just that and found out that local buildings – the high school, middle school and part of the town hall – each met the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) rigorous Energy Star standards, local news source The Herald News reports.
The EPA reports that about one-third of energy used in government buildings is wasted, so the agency tries to support these property owners with energy-saving strategies as best it can. EPA grants are further bolstered by local government initiatives that have made the decades-old buildings more energy efficient.
In addition to praising the buildings for their developments, the building inspector provided property owners with suggestions to increase savings, including putting computers in standby mode more often, adding solar panels to the roofs of the buildings and reducing the amount of time vending machines are running at peak levels.
One of the improvements suggested solely for the town hall building were thermostats that can be operated by a computer. These devices have become popular recently because of their ability to sense and regulate building temperatures, which mitigates energy usage.
The Westport town administrator said costs would need to be considered before that or any other reforms are made, but that any low-cost investments would be "kind of a no-brainer."
Property owners can obtain similar knowledge from an experienced Washington, D.C. home inspector. This professional can help property owners achieve home energy efficiency without breaking the bank for energy improvements.