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Preferred home characteristics for auditors/retrofitters?

EnergyNerd25 | Posted in General Questions on

Hello everyone,

This is my first post here at greenbuildingadvisor. I know that auditing companies/retrofitters will often screen homes with surveys, or by collecting publicly available information to determine whether or not a home has potential for energy savings.

I’m trying to figure out what home characteristics different contractors look for when evaluating the potential for energy saving. This could be something like the age of the home, it’s location, it’s sq footage, construction type (ranch, raised ranch, etc.). Obviously this will be dependent on what specific services are offered, and if you are involved with any programs that incentive you to pursue specific project types (for example, a utility program that rewards auditors per CFM reduction measured from the blower door will incentivize that company to look for homes whose characteristics suggest a high potential for savings from air sealing, as opposed to other improvements to the BE, like insulation).

Ideally I would like to know:

1. What type of service do you offer?
2. What home characteristics do you look for, and how do you look for them (surveys, etc)?
3. Why do you look for these specific characteristics?
4. Are you involved with any programs that incentivize you to pursue certain project types, and therefore cause you to look for certain home characteristics?

Feel free to use this format if it is convenient. Any feedback at all would be very helpful! Thank you very much,

Henry Sims

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  1. GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #1

    Q. "I'm trying to figure out what home characteristics different contractors look for when evaluating the potential for energy saving."

    A. The potential for energy saving is always highest when the house is in terrible shape. The worse the house, the greater the potential for energy saving. So if you were looking for a house with a high potential for energy saving, you would look for a house with no insulation, lots of air leakage, and single-pane windows.

    However, I'm not sure if that's really what you are asking. If you are asking, "What does a good home energy auditor do?" the answer is: they evaluate the house for insulation levels, air leakage rate, window quality, and the age and energy performance of the appliances. They do this by asking questions of the homeowner, by inspecting the house, by the use of a thermal imaging camera, and by performing a blower door test.

    For information on how you can assess a house, see Energy Upgrades for Beginners.

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