Before you improve your home for possible energy savings, get a legitimate home energy audit by a qualified professional who will tell you how your home is performing based on current building codes and science.
You won’t need an auditor to tell you to turn off the lights, lower the thermostat, and put on a sweater in the winter to save on your energy bill.
Energy auditors will measure the level of a homes’ performance and provide that to you as owners. This will help you make good decisions about how to spend money to improve your home performance, save energy and lower utility costs.
Auditors can also help you learn to make your home more comfortable and improve indoor air quality.
Two types of certified professionals conduct reliable energy audits:
- Home Energy Rating System (HERS) Rater – certified by the CA Energy Commission – provide audits for negotiated fee but will not likely be persons doing any retrofit or improvement because most are not licensed contracts.
HERS auditors will provide information about home performance from an energy efficiency standpoint, detail energy consumption, offer improvement advice, provide energy score that tell you how your home compares with a new home built to comply with current CA energy efficiency standards.
- Building Performance Institute (BPI) Contractors are perhaps the most respected in the U.S. These people are auditors and licensed contractors and outline cost-effective scope of work that will help you achieve your home performance or energy efficiency goals. They will also do the contract work if you choose.
BPI contractors will provide your energy audit report and also point out other areas of possible concern, such as moisture-related issues, indoor air quality, and comfort.
BPI contractors are participating in the CA Energy Upgrade program and can give you information about rebate and financing programs. They will present you with a scope of work proposal (a contractor bid) for cost of your proposed repairs.
You won’t need an auditor to tell you that common improvements such as insulation, sealing to make your home less leaky, and energy efficient windows will usually reduce your energy bills and increase comfort.
However, the certified auditor can go further and advise you about how to achieve your best goals for energy and money savings.
Auditors should be qualified to advise you about project funding and rebates available through government or utility and financing programs, such as Energy Efficient Mortgages (EEMs) or new CA Energy Upgrade program.
If you get your energy audit at the start of planning, that will help you make best decisions about possible use of solar panels, programs and saving of money.
A home’s comfort, air quality, energy efficiency, and performance work as a system, and sometimes one component is affected by another.
Check out web sites for information, such as Build it Green, CalCerts, California Air Resources Board, CA Energy commission, and others.
You can achieve best results and goals by working with either an HERS energy auditor, or a BPI contractor, to work within your budget for home improvements.
The Orange County Association of REALTORs® did a great job of putting together its March 2015 magazine – “THE GREEN ISSUE” – on theme of “HOW TO SAVE ENERGY, WATER & MONEY”.
By Harrison K. Long – Source of information is OC REALTOR® magazine article “Before You Improve, Have a Home Energy Audit”, March 2015. Graphic is by iStockphoto.com – “Benefits of Your Home Energy Audit”