High Utility Bills Getting You Down?
Regularly we hear on the news or read about the rising costs of oil, electricity and energy in general. Politicians talk about it during their campaigns but the bills keep going up. However, what we didn’t hear so much about were anyone’s plans on how to help homeowners reduce ever increasing high utility bills. And that’s really too bad, because high home energy costs are impacting Americans negatively in a very real way every month. The effects are felt primarily in the two places where it hurts most: the home and the wallet.
But the good news is that there’s something you can do about the issue of a high utility bill: you can get an energy audit.
More often than not, the reason for a high utility bill is an inefficient home, meaning one that’s losing energy. The purpose of a home energy audit, also known as an energy survey or energy assessment, is to pinpoint where and how this is happening, identify the systems that are working inefficiently and to propose cost-effective measures that can be implemented in order to fix the situation.
There are currently three different types of energy audits being offered by certified RESNET Home Energy Auditors, ranging from basic to very in-depth.
A Home Energy Survey consists of a visual inspection. It doesn’t involve the use of any diagnostic testing equipment and its purpose is to gauge the general energy performance of a home, including:
In order to better identify potential areas for savings, A RESNET Home Energy Survey Professional (HESP) will request a review of the homeowner’s utility use and billing history. They will provide a report of the complete assessment, including basic recommendations for improving the homes energy efficiency. They will also give suggestions on low-cost, do-it-yourself tasks. The Home Energy Survey takes about one hour to complete and also includes good information about utility-based programs that could further help the homeowner reduce home energy costs.
A Building Performance Assessment involves diagnostic testing using specialized equipment. Some examples include a blower door test, duct leakage tester and a combustion analyzer. An infrared camera is used to determine:
A Building Performance Auditor (BPA) conducts a Building Performance Assessment. This consists firstly of a whole house evaluation, followed by a computer analysis that identifies possible solutions and treatments for improvement. The homeowner is presented with a detailed report that suggests retrofit recommendations as well as an opportunity to Have Scott Homes, Ltd., a Qualified Energy Contractor to perform the work.
A Building Performance Assessment will normally take 3-4 hours, depending on how large the home is.
The most detailed and in-depth of all energy audits is the Comprehensive HERS Rating. In addition to everything that’s included in the other two, the Comprehensive HERS Rating also provides a computerized simulation analysis utilizing RESNET Accredited Rating Software to generate the home’s HERS Index Score.
The HERS Index Score gives the homeowner a good idea about how energy efficient their home is when compared to similar homes. The lower the score, the more energy efficient the home. It’s also a valuable tool in helping homeowners sell their homes by highlighting potential energy savings earned through a low score. It’s kind of like an MPG (miles-per-gallon) sticker for homes!
A typical American resale home is rated at 130 on the HERS Index. A standard American new home that meets current International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) standards is awarded a HERS Index Score of 100. What this translates into is:
The Comprehensive HERS Rating also includes a cost vs. benefit analysis for recommended improvements.
So while the politicians debate foreign policy and argue about how to fix the economy, it’s good to know there’s one thing you can do right now to help save on your utility bills, contact Colorado Energy Analysts your certified RESNET Home Energy Auditor for an energy audit on your home.
BPI Certified Building Analysts
RESNET Certified HERS Rater
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