What Can You Expect With an Energy Audit? Part 2

The second step is the actual audit.

First, we review the homeowner’s goals and objectives.

Next, we tour the home and put it into winter mode. We close all of the windows and turn on all exhaust fans. The goal of this step is to depressurize the combustion zone, thereby setting up a worst case scenario before testing for CO (carbon monoxide) spillage.

Then, we set up a blower door and measure the rate of infiltration. When this is compared to the calculated rate, it can be determined just how much air sealing is needed.

If there are ducts, then a Duct Blaster is used to determine the amount of duct leakage. Using the Blower Door and Duct Blaster together enables us to measure the amount of leakage going outside of the conditioned space.

The data is then reviewed with the homeowner and qualitative recommendations are made.

Next: Optional Data Review

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What Can You Expect With an Energy Audit? Part 3

The third energy audit step is an optional data review with the homeowner.

If the homeowner wants for the costs to be broken down quantitatively, then the information will be loaded into the computer and we will subsequently break it down, with approximate savings in dollars placed upon each of the upgrades, in order to determine the best course of action.

Next: Final Test and Conclusion

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What Can You Expect With an Energy Audit? Part 4 and Conclusion

Finally, after the audit, data review and initial air sealing are performed, the next step is a final test.

After air sealing, another test should be done in order to confirm the effectiveness of the work performed, and to assure that there is still enough air flow for the intake of fresh air. It is also necessary to assure that the air flow in the combustion zone is adequate for safety.

When all is said and done, an energy audit can and should give you a better sense of how your home is performing. New England Winters can be brutal — and expensive. An energy audit can’t change the weather, but it can change how your home performs in the weather — and how much you pay for all of that.

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Winterizing

Winter is coming.

It creeps into our bones and invades our lungs with its icy blasts.

But we have come to expect it. It does, after all, happen every year. But do we ever really prepare for it that well?

Do we prepare at all?

Here’s where an energy audit can truly help.

Do you know if your furnace is operating at peak efficiency? Do you know whether your furnace is the correct size for your home in the first place? And, just as importantly, are there improvements that could be performed that would allow you to get just as good a heating result but with a smaller furnace?

We are often told to turn down our thermostats in the Winter, but how helpful is that if the furnace is just too large for its appointed task?

With a Home Energy Remedies energy audit, we take the time to tour your home and put it into winter mode. Then we close all of your windows and turn on all of the exhaust fans. We are looking to depressurize the combustion zone and set up a worst case scenario before testing for carbon monoxide spillage.

Then, we set up a blower door and measure your home’s rate of infiltration. By comparing this to the calculated rate, we can determine just how much air sealing is necessary.

If there are ducts, then we use a Duct Blaster to determine the amount of duct leakage. Using the Blower Door and Duct Blaster together can enable us to measure the amount of leakage outside of the conditioned space.

We then review the data with you and make qualitative recommendations based upon our findings.

We like being comfortable in the Winter, but we also like saving money. We’re willing to bet you like those things, too.

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Recovery Through Retrofit: Saving Homeowners Money — Part I

In 2009, Vice President Joe Biden asked the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) to develop a proposal for Federal action to increase energy savings by improving home energy efficiency. This resulted in the Recovery Through Retrofit report, released in October of that year.

The report identified access issues when it came to homeowners getting information, skilled labor and financing. These were identified as main barriers preventing the growth of the home energy retrofit market. The report also set out recommendations in how to break down these barriers.

Achievements included improved access to home energy information, the creation of a Home Energy score and increased accessibility to more and better financing options.

For more information, see Recovery Through Retrofit: Saving Homeowners Money and Creating Jobs.

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Recovery Through Retrofit: Saving Homeowners Money — Part II

The Recovery Through Retrofit report of October, 2009 identified key factors preventing the growth of the home energy retrofit market.

One of that report’s achievements was the creation of a Home Energy score.

So, what’s a Home Energy Score?

The Department of Energy, with the support of the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Agriculture, developed a voluntary Home Energy Score program to help homeowners make cost-effective decisions about energy improvements. This tool will generate:

  • A Home Energy Score between 1 and 10, to be presented as part of a graphic to help homeowners understand their home’s current efficiency level and how it compares to other area homes.
  • An estimate of how much money could be saved due to making energy retrofits, and,
  • A personalized list of recommended improvements, including estimated annual savings and an estimated payback period for each upgrade.
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Recovery Through Retrofit: Saving Homeowners Money — Part III

The Recovery Through Retrofit report of October, 2009 identified key factors preventing the growth of the home energy retrofit market.

One of that report’s achievements was to help generate more and better financing options for energy-saving home improvements.

One of these areas is PowerSaver Loans. The FHA PowerSaver is a new financing option, developed by the Federal Housing Administration. It will enable homeowners to make energy saving improvements to their homes through affordable, Federally-insured loans from private lenders. Homeowners can borrow money for terms as long as twenty years to make energy improvements of their choice, based on a list of proven, cost-effective measures developed by FHA and Department of Energy.

The government is also working on strengthening State and Local Financing. State revolving loan funds will allow consumers to borrow money for home energy improvement projects at low interest rates. And, once the energy retrofit loan is paid off, the principal and interest on the loan are reinvested into the revolving loan fund providing another homeowner the opportunity to make home energy improvements.

Finally, Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing programs will allow state and local governments (as permitted by state law) to attach the cost of home energy improvements to a property instead of an individual borrower.

For more information, see Recovery Through Retrofit: Saving Homeowners Money and Creating Jobs.

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The Best Energy Improvement if You Want to Sell Your Home in Five Years

Essentially, the answer to this question requires some knowledge about the home. Since every home is so different (in size, age and in the improvements that have been made on it since it was initially constructed, to name but three important factors), the particular home’s specific issues would need to be defined first.

Be that as it may, a home that you are planning on selling in five years is still a place where you are going to be spending a great deal of the next half-decade.

But you’re not staying forever, so large capital improvements may be unwise. Air sealing is the least expensive home energy improvement, plus it generates the biggest bang for the buck. In any upgrade, it should be included.

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Our Qualifications

Russell Cole is a Certified Energy Auditor with an interesting background.

A graduate of both Case Western Reserve University (MBA) and Northeastern University (BS in Mechanical Engineering), Russ is dedicated to educating himself on all matters relating to home energy audits and energy savings, and is driven by a need to improve quality, productivity and efficiency.

Russ has worked as a Process Engineer, an Equipment Engineer and a Manager of Process Engineering. He holds Patent #5906297 for the Multi Outlet Depositor. This is a flow splitter capable of accurately dividing a single product flow into multiple and equally accurate product flows. The design works equally well with both consistent material (like pudding) and inconsistent material (e. g. chicken cacciatore). The device also had to be easy to tear down, clean and reassemble, and all of these goals were accomplished.

As a Manager of Manufacturing Engineering for TRW – Greenfield Tap & Die, Russell managed a number of direct reports and a budget that topped $4 million. He was brought in to update and upgrade a plant which had remainded virtually unchanged since the 1940s. One of his proudest achievements was to work as a liasion between union and management to break down barriers and overall help the company to better compete in the open marketplace. He initiated computer training programs, too, in order to assist employees in understanding the changes that were happening in both the plant and the market.

In the late 1990s, he detoured into real estate and maintained and renovated homes, which began his interests in overall home improvements and energy savings. These interests were furthered when he worked as a Lead Inspector in the mid-2000s.

His professional licenses are numerous and varied, including:

    • HERS Rater, Rater # GWS184
    • LEED Accredited Professional
    • BPI Building Analyst, passed test, awaiting certificate.
    • BPI Building Envelope Professional, passed test, awaiting certificate.
    • November 30, 2004 – November 30, 2008
      Professional Engineer, Mechanical Engineering, Massachusetts 1985. Lic # 32151
    • FLIR Thermography I
      National Comfort Institute CO/Combustion Analysis.
    • Rhode Island Environmental Lead Inspector, Lic # ELI-0058, and,
    • Radon Inspector, passed test, not registered.

 

For more information, contact us!

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The Best Improvements for any Age Home

What is best all depends on how the home was built and which improvements been made since then.

Homes that are only a few years old usually need air sealing.

But older homes — and in New England, homes can be over one hundred years old — often need improvements in their insulation. However, past fifteen years old, there are far too many variables to consider, so an educated guess cannot truly be made without a thorough in-person inspection of the premises.

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