With extreme weather conditions and the impact of inflation on your budget, especially the rapidly rising cost of energy, you may want to reduce your utility bills. To maximize savings Y increase your comfort, an energy audit, also known as a whole house assessment, and home remodeling may be in order.
Think of an energy audit like a physical exam for your home. Are you experiencing any of these common symptoms? A room is always too cold or too hot. In the summer, your second floor feels warmer and more humid than the rest of the house, or even though your air conditioner runs all the time, you still feel uncomfortable. In winter, you suffer from drafts. Your house gets dusty fast. Damp odors rise from the cellar or basement or smoke from wildfires sneaks inside. You suffer from frequent sinus or respiratory problems. You’ve compared your energy costs to your neighbor’s and yours are much higher for seemingly similar houses.
A Whole House Assessment recognizes that each of your home’s components or systems (exterior cladding, insulation, heating and cooling systems, ductwork, and ventilation) work together and recommends arrangements to optimize efficiency and safety. comfort. Most homes have inefficiencies; correct them and you can reduce your energy use and your bills by up to 25%, says Home Performance With Energy Star, a national program administered by the US Department of Energy and the US Environmental Protection Agency.” If you lower the cost of energy, you can increase comfort and vice versa,” says Jonathan Waterworth, a certified energy auditor in Phoenix, Arizona. He says that some of his clients reduced their energy consumption by 30%.
An energy audit and recommended upgrades have other benefits: You can maximize the life of your current heating and cooling system, and when those components eventually fail, you’ll be ready to replace them with higher-efficiency electric ones, like a super-efficient heat pump. . You will reduce your personal carbon footprint. If you’re considering going solar, reducing your home’s energy demand first will allow you to install a smaller, less expensive system. When you sell your house, tested energy efficiency it will attract buyers, and they may be willing to pay a premium.
How does it work
Energy auditors will visually assess your home inside and out. Its diagnostic tools include a blower door test, which measures your home’s drafts, and thermal infrared scans to locate drafts and missing insulation. They will identify problems, prescribe solutions, and after any work is completed, perform tests to ensure it was done correctly and any issues have been resolved.
Your energy auditor must be trained and certified in a whole house approach through one of two organizations: The Building Performance Institute sets standards for residential energy auditing and improvement and certifies contractors it has trained and tested. Click “Owner” to search by zip code for BPI certified contractors. Performance in the home with Energy Star helps local program sponsors, typically a state energy agency, utility, or nonprofit organization, train home improvement contractors on the whole-house approach (in energystar.gov/campaign/improvements, click “Find local help”).
Waterworth suggests looking for energy auditors with at least five years of experience. “The more you do, the more things you see and can identify and know how to deal with them in the most beneficial and profitable way,” she says.
what you will pay
An evaluation typically costs between $250 and $500, depending on the location, age, size, and layout of your home, and can take several hours. (Auditors may credit you for the cost of the audit if you hire them for the recommended work.) Regardless of whether the auditor will perform only the assessment, part of the refurbishment work, or all of the work, he or she should recommend everybody of appropriate improvements and prioritize them for cost effectiveness, says Larry Zarker of the Building Performance Institute. If you want to get multiple bids for the job, look for BPI-certified contractors.
Waterworth says the most common problems he finds are air leaks in the outer layer of the house, air leaks and resistance to airflow in heating and cooling ducts, negative air pressure in the house that invites outside air (including particulate contaminants) to infiltrate, and poorly installed insulation that does not meet its performance rating (R-value). He says the typical upgrade cost for his clients is $9,000 to $12,000.
As a starting point for especially budget-conscious homeowners, some utilities offer free “audits,” but these are usually very limited in scope. Or you can try online tools, such as Energy Star’s “Home Energy Yardstick” and “Energy Star Home Advisor” (energystar.govclick “Save to Home”).
With the massive funding provided to states by the Inflation Reduction Act, low-to-moderate income households can get rebates that cover 50% to 100% of the cost of installing new high-efficiency electric appliances, like a range. induction or heating. – clothes dryer with pump. All households, regardless of income, can get a tax credit that will cover 30% of the cost of installing solar panels and battery storage systems, home improvements to reduce energy leakage (with an annual cap of $1,200 ) or HVAC equipment upgrade.
For more information, visit DSIRE, “The Database of State Incentives for Renewable Energy and Efficiency” (visit dsire.org and search by zip code) or check your state energy department and vendor websites of local public services.