energy audit

An Energy Upgrade On a Budget

Posted on February 28,2015 by ScottG in air-source heat pump

Christian Rodriguez has taken an important first step in improving the energy efficiency and comfort of his 1880s home by arranging for an energy audit. With the results in hand, his first step was to air-seal the attic and add 20 inches of cellulose insulation. "This made quite a difference both in comfort and heating bills," he writes in a Q&A post at Green Building Advisor. Now comes a difficult decision: what to do next.

Deep Energy Retrofits Are Often Misguided

Posted on February 28,2015 by user-756436 in deep energy retrofit

All through the 1980s and 1990s, a small band of North American believers worked to maintain and expand our understanding of residential energy efficiency. These were the pioneers of the home performance field: blower-door experts, weatherization contractors, and “house as a system” trainers. At conferences like Affordable Comfort, they gathered to share their knowledge and lick their wounds. These pioneers understood what was wrong with American houses: They leaked air; they were inadequately insulated; they had bad windows; and their duct systems were a disaster.

My First Energy Audit

Posted on February 28,2015 by user-1048334 in energy audit

I conducted my first paid energy auditing gig a few months after I’d completed the Maine State Housing’s Auditor certification program. It was a two-week program — one week of class work and one week of field training. That's just enough learning to make you dangerous (and I’m only being a little facetious; uninformed auditor recommendations can have dire consequences). I had done three practice audits on the homes of friends and family and observed three others. However, this was the first paying audit largely on my own.

Energy Upgrades for Beginners

Posted on February 28,2015 by user-756436 in air leak

Owners of older homes often contact GBA and ask, “What can I do to make my home more energy-efficient?” My standard answer goes something like this: “The first step is to hire a certified rater to perform an energy audit of your home. The audit report will include a tailor-made list of retrofit measures to address your home’s specific problems.”

A Good Time for Energy Audits and Weatherization

Posted on February 28,2015 by AlexWilson in blower door

Wait a second. Spring has barely sprung, and you’re saying we need to start thinking about energy audits already? What’s up with that? There are several reasons why now is a good time not only to focus on energy auditing and weatherization work — not only for your clients, but also for your own home.

Energy Audits in New England

Posted on February 28,2015 by user-1048334 in energy audit

Home energy audits in cold, northern climates are very different from those in hot climates. Different regions of the country have different types of housing stock, and there are regional variations in insulation methods and mechanical systems. In older houses, the type of weatherization work that has been performed varies greatly from region to region. So the issues and energy priorities of northern houses are different from those of southern houses.

The Worst House I Ever Audited Was Built in 2008

Posted on February 28,2015 by user-1048334 in air leakage

One thing that sets my teeth on edge as an energy auditor is when folks assume that a new home won’t have energy problems or be inefficient. A friend recently mentioned that weatherization and efficiency work must have a great market with Maine’s old housing stock but would be pointless in new homes. *Commence ripping out hair.*

ACCA vs. BPI: The Brouhaha Over Energy Audit Standards

Posted on February 28,2015 by ab3 in ACCA

Probably the biggest news I heard at the 2013 RESNET conference this year was that the Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA) and 12 other organizations had asked the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) to have the Building Performance Institute's (BPI) accreditation as a Standards Development Organization (SDO) revoked. Really!

Calling all Weatherization Workers

Posted on February 28,2015 by user-756436 in DOE

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) wants to standardize and professionalize the work of weatherization and home performance contractors. Towards that end, the government agency has launched a project called the “Guidelines for Home Energy Professionals” project.

Essential Energy-Audit Equipment

Posted on February 28,2015 by user-1048334 in blower door

I thought I’d put together a list of all of the tools and equipment I use during an energy audit. Not all of these tools are used during every audit, and some aren’t essential to investigating the house. I’ve separated the lists into two categories: essential items and useful items.

An Introduction to Thermal Imaging

Posted on February 28,2015 by user-756436 in energy audit

Energy auditors and insulation contractors have been using infrared cameras to diagnose home-performance problems for over 30 years. Without opening up your walls or ceilings for inspection, a trained specialist can use one of these cameras to locate insulation voids, air leaks, moisture intrusion, thermal bypasses, and thermal bridges. It’s even possible to use an infrared camera to locate leaks in hydronic tubing embedded in a slab.

An Energy-Auditing Class in Montana

Posted on February 28,2015 by pGS3rxsTa6 in auditing class

When I arrive for the five-day energy-auditing course at the Pure Energy Center in eastern Montana, I see instructor A. Tamasin Sterner outside the main house, clapping her hands and doing a little dance. If you know Tamasin, a veteran energy auditor who famously counseled President Obama on the need for weatherization programs, you expect this show of exuberance.

The Home Stretch for HOME STAR?

Posted on February 28,2015 by Peterbilt in BPI

I participated in a really interesting webinar the other day about the new proposed HOME STAR program. Some call it the “Cash for Caulkers” program, which, according to Efficiency First, “…would provide direct incentives to American homeowners who invest in improving the energy efficiency of their homes.”

Green building assessments versus energy audits

Posted on February 28,2015 by Peterbilt in combustion safety

Energy audits can be a single slice evaluation of home performance, just looking at energy, albeit in a comprehensive analysis of energy performance. Whole-house assessments are green because they take a systems integration approach to evaluating home performance, looking at the individual and combined effects of energy, water, indoor air quality, and durability performance.

Last-Minute Shopping List for Christmas

Posted on February 28,2015 by AlexWilson in CFLs

You’re down to the last few days before Christmas. You’re looking for that meaningful, special gift for a family member, special friend, or co-worker. Buy a gift that keeps on giving—by saving energy! Below, is my top-10 list of energy-saving holiday gifts.

Getting Ready for Winter?

Posted on February 28,2015 by AlexWilson in energy audit

But summer has hardly started! As we fire up the grill and hope that the rain will let up enough for us to enjoy summer, we should also remember that the days are now getting shorter, and in just a few months we’ll be firing up our heating systems again. Now’s the time to think about how we can keep our heating costs down next winter. Here I’ll present a few of my top priorities in preparing for winter:

Knock-Knock, ClimateSmart Calling!

Posted on February 28,2015 by Fretboard in ClimateSmart

Leaders of the carbon reduction effort in Boulder, Colorado, want to jump start energy efficiency improvements among homeowners by going door-to-door Many homeowners have at least considered weatherizing and otherwise improving the energy efficiency of their homes. But for a variety of reasons (I’ve got my list of excuses right here) they haven’t managed to cross the threshold into action.

Reducing Our Carbon Footprint — Part Two

Posted on February 28,2015 by user-702374 in climate smart loan program

Boulder County’s Climate Smart loan program Part Two: A deeper level of action The first major step toward reducing your carbon footprint is understanding how much energy you use. Energy efficiency is often more cost effective than renewable-energy alternatives. The target is to use less energy for the same amount of heating, cooling, lighting, and of course, powering appliances, the stereo, televisions, and iPods. Fortunately, a big benefit of most energy-efficiency measures is creating greater comfort in the home over the long term.

Reducing Our Carbon Footprint — Part One

Posted on February 28,2015 by user-702374 in climate smart loan program

How many of you have searched the Web to calculate your carbon footprint? I have, and it is exciting, intimidating, and perhaps an all-consuming process. More than 10 years ago my husband and I signed on with Xcel Energy support wind power. We installed a programmable thermostat and set the temperature higher in the summer and lower in the winter.

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