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Energy Inspections and Audits

Save on Your Heating and Cooling Bills

 

What are energy audits and inspections?  An energy inspection or audit is designed to assess various aspects of a property, in order to save the customer money on the household energy bill.  The efficiency of appliances, mechanical systems, the structure’s envelope and the home’s orientation are evaluated to design the best plan for creating a more energy efficient home.  Energy audits are typically more comprehensive than energy inspections as they incorporate infrared technology, a blower door test and computer analysis, in order to accurately pinpoint problem areas in a home. Short and/or long term plans can be designed.  The use of the client’s yearly energy bill is also helpful in creating such a plan.
 
Household appliances and fixtures are assessed by examining their input/output ratio.  Typically, Energy Star upgrades are recommended where appropriate.  In some cases an upgrade can reduce energy usage by 40%.  The final decisions are based on the short and long term needs of the homeowner.  In addition, the mechanical systems such as the heating/cooling, ventilation and thermostat are also assessed.
 
One of the most important concerns of the energy inspection or audit is to assess the structure’s envelope.  This refers to the barrier between the interior and exterior environment.  The quality of the structure and its ability to maintain temperature efficiently and regulate moisture and air flow are key areas of concern.  The energy audit includes inspection of the foundation, roof, walls, doors and windows. The specific condition of the components and the types of materials used is assessed as related to air leakage and to determine the R-factor of these components. (The R-factor refers to the component’s thermal resistance.)  Recommendations are then made as to how to improve on the quality of the envelope’s components.  These recommendations could include adding insulation, energy efficient windows, sealing doors and windows, insulating the hot water heater and water lines, and sealing and insulating ducts that transport hot and cold air.
 
Typically, the results of the inspection or audit include a report of the findings, including a computerized analysis, as well as recommendations on how to improve the energy efficiency of the home.  Reports generated by an audit also include infrared photos which document the report findings. Short and long term recommendations are made.

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