Your participating contractor will perform a Comprehensive Home Assessment, which generally lasts up to three hours. The assessment provides homeowners with valuable information regarding the existing condition of their home, and identifies areas where energy efficiency, comfort and safety improvements can and should be made. During the Comprehensive Home Assessment, the contractor completes a visual inspection of the living space, attic, basement (or crawl spaces), and performs a number of tests using special diagnostic equipment. This equipment includes a blower door, which helps the contractor measure how much, and where, air is leaking from your home. Most importantly, your contractor will perform essential health and safety tests to determine whether the major combustion appliances (furnace, boiler, hot water tank and stove) in your home are operating safely. According to BPI health and safety standards, if these tests identify any potential threats in the home, the recommended health and safety repairs must be included in any work scope you choose to implement.
The participating contractor may charge a fee for the Comprehensive Home Assessment. The assessment fees vary by contractor and region; so when calling a contractor ask what their fee is and their deductibility policy. If you choose to have another participating contractor perform the work, you may have to pay for the new contractor to perform a second assessment.
You are encouraged to accompany the contractor as they perform the assessment; let the contractor know what, if any, issues or concerns you have about your home (drafts, uneven temperatures, discomfort, evidence of moisture or mold, strange smells, even physical symptoms such as persistent headaches or flu-like symptoms). And don’t be afraid to ask questions. Using results from the Comprehensive Home Assessment, your home performance contractor will explain what improvements can be made, and develop a proposal detailing the proposed improvements and the associated costs. Your contractor may subcontract work to other companies as he puts together a comprehensive set of energy efficiency and health & safety measures.
I am always asked this question and the answer is below. Your home is a holistic system. If you do one thing and neglect some of the most important fixes such as sealing up the leaks and shoring up the insulation, then other systems will work harder and and may be burning more energy than needed.
U.S. Department of Energy – Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
Professional Home Energy Audits
Professional energy audits generally go into great detail. The energy auditor should do a room-by-room examination of the residence, as well as a thorough examination of past utility bills.
Many professional energy audits will include a blower door test. Most will also include a thermographic scan. There’s also another type of test—the PFT air infiltration measurement technique—but it is rarely offered.
Preparing for an Energy Audit
Before the energy auditor visits your house, make a list of any existing problems such as condensation and uncomfortable or drafty rooms. Have copies or a summary of the home’s yearly energy bills. (Your utility can get these for you.) Auditors use this information to establish what to look for during the audit. The auditor first examines the outside of the home to determine the size of the house and its features (i.e., wall area, number and size of windows). The auditor then will analyze the residents’ behavior:
- Is anyone home during working hours?
- What is the average thermostat setting for summer and winter?
- How many people live here?
- Is every room in use?
Your answers may help uncover some simple ways to reduce your household’s energy consumption. Walk through your home with the auditors as they work, and ask questions. They may use equipment to detect sources of energy loss, such as blower doors, infrared cameras, furnace efficiency meters, and surface thermometers.
Selecting an Energy Auditor
There are several places where you can locate professional energy auditing services. Your state or local government energy or weatherization office may help you identify a local company or organization that performs audits. They may also have information on how to do your own audit. Your electric or gas utility may conduct residential energy audits or recommend local auditors. Also check your telephone directory under headings beginning with the word “Energy” for companies that perform residential energy audits. See the Learn More section on the right side of the page (or below if you’ve printed it out) for more auditor resources.
Before contracting with an energy auditing company, you should take the following steps:
- Get several references, and contact them all. Ask if they were satisfied with the work.
- Call the Better Business Bureau and ask about any complaints against the company.
- Make sure they do thermographic inspections or contract another company to conduct one.
Make sure the energy auditor uses a calibrated blower door.
Financing & Incentives
- DOE Weatherization Assistance Program
Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
- Find Federal Tax Credits for Energy Efficiency
- Find a Local Energy Auditor
Home Performance with ENERGY STAR®
- Find a Certified Energy Rater
Residential Energy Services Network
- Finding a Provider
National Association of Energy Service Companies
State & Local Resources
- State and Territory Energy Offices
National Association of State Energy Offices
Did you know?
The energy used in the average home can be responsible for more than twice the greenhouse gas emissions of the average car. When you use less energy at home, you reduce greenhouse gas emissions from power plants and help protect our environment from the risks of global climate change.
By looking to ENERGY STAR for best practices and products, you can reduce your energy use and save up to 30%, or $600 annually on average, on your utility bills (currently averaging around $1,900 per year). The ENERGY STAR label is the trusted national symbol for environmental protection through superior energy efficiency. Whether replacing an old appliance, making home improvements, or buying a new home, you can use ENERGY STAR to help guide your purchasing decisions, save money, and prevent greenhouse gas emissions.
Did you know that the average home produces twice the greenhouse gases as the average car? In fact, 15 percent of all greenhouse gases are generated from the energy used ( and lost) in houses nationwide.
The second, and probably more savings in dollar value (with a bonus of a much more comfortable home), is getting a certified home energy audit. This is a comprehensive holistic look at your home from top to bottom. A certified energy assessor will find all of the leaks in your home in places that you could never have imagined. This is done with pressure instruments and thermal imaging cameras. It takes two to three hours for an assessment and in a week or so you will receive a comprehensive four-page report giving you many steps you can take to save a lot of energy and dollars for years to come!
Note: Only a BPI or NYSERDA certified auditing company can apply for the many rebates available to you through the state programs.
Your assessor will come back and explain the report at your convenience. At this time you may choose to take steps- or not. It is up to you. But hurry winter is coming and summer is here right now! (An audit will save in the hot and humid weather as well as the cold weather.
These are just some of the steps you can take to have all of your future winters and summers, cost and energy efficient with the savings of 25-40%! Three simple steps will get you on track:
1) Schedule an Energy Audit.
2) Seal the air leaks throughout your home to stop drafts,
3)Add insulation to block heat loss in winter and heat gain in summer
Find out how your house rates. Are you allowing your hard earned cash to be sucked out through all the leaks in your house?
There are many energy saving light bulbs on the market and it is confusing to know which to choose.
Time and time again CFL lights or (compact florescent lighting) rise to the occasion for the best bang for your buck and the best available lighting. They come in all shapes and sizes as well as different types of lighting. You can choose from full spectrum, cool or warm and everything in between. Although the cost of the light bulb might seem high, they last over 8,000 hours (three to four years depending on use) and will save you a bundle on your electricity bill. You will see the difference on you next electric bill!
Don’t feel you need to change every light bulb at once, start by changing the ones you leave on most of the time and then replace the others as the bulbs go out
To find the ones you need in your house contact us at Ra-Energyny for your free bulb evaluation.