Green Homes; The Who, What, When and Why of a Home Energy Audit…
It is possible that someone you know has had a home energy audit, or perhaps you’ve heard of recent proposed legislation geared at energy efficiency upgrades (see Homestar or “cash for caulkers”) or the long standing Energy Star Tax credit. In light of this new trend, you might be asking yourself the who, what, when, and whys of home energy auditing. Here, we address those questions in an attempt to debunk any myths and shed light into the growing process.
Who should I hire? There are two primary certifying bodies or agencies for residential energy audits: RESNET (Residential Energy Services Network) and the Building Performance Institute. Anyone claiming to do “energy efficient” upgrades or “home energy audits” that is not certified by one of the organizations listed above is unqualified and should be avoided. Any one of these designation is no better than the other, although someone who holds both is far more advanced and is highly trained to deal with a multitude of issues.
What does an energy audit entail? A comprehensive home energy audit should take anywhere between 2-5 hours. If a RESNET certified rater is doing the work, they use highly sophisticated software that gives your building a “rating” on a 1-200 scale rating the energy efficiency of your home. A certified auditor can also use the software to model different improvements, providing you information including the time it will take to recoup your costs associated with improvements and rough estimates on the amount of savings you will experience.
When should I have an audit done? New home sales purchases are a great time to have an energy audit given that they are similar to a building inspection, can assist you in qualifying for an Energy Efficient Mortgage (EEM), and uncover issues that can cost you hundreds of dollars and result in comfort and health issues. Click here for a complete list of the 10 common household issues often related to energy & indoor air quality.
Why an Energy Audit? There are at least a few good reason that we can think of but click here for 5 reasons we think home energy audits are important. Be sure to tell the certified energy auditor you choose why you think your particular home should be audited. Sometimes, they may even say it isn’t necessary. And as always, shop around and ask questions about what their audit entails.
Looking for an Energy Efficient Home? Visit our Columbia SC MLS search for Green Homes.
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Matt Ryan is a certified RESNET (www.natresnet.org) & BPI (www.bpi.org) energy auditor. His company Efficiency First, LLC provides energy and indoor air quality assessments in North & South Carolina. He also serves on the Unites States Green Building Council South Carolina chapter’s steering committee and is part of the recently formed Energy Efficiency Council through the S.C. state energy office.