Rising energy prices, incentives offered from utilities, state, local and federal agencies, extreme weather conditions, and a desire to go green have many homeowners jumping on the bandwagon to make their homes more energy efficient and comfortable.
However, before diving in and spending thousands on new windows or solar panels, homeowners should stop and take a breath. Most consumers wouldn’t buy car parts before having proper diagnostic testing performed. Likewise, before spending $15,000 on new windows or $10,000 on heating equipment, homeowners should first find out where their money is best spent by hiring a professional energy auditor.
“An energy audit will outline where it makes the most sense to put a homeowner’s time and money,” explains Tim Bryant, certified by the Building Performance Institute (BPI) and RESNET as a certified HERS rater and owner of Bryant Energy Services. “By prioritizing upgrades a homeowner can work within their budget and won’t put their money in the wrong place or spend money in the wrong order. A homeowner will learn the answers to all the questions they’ve ever had about their home and have the necessary information to make smart confident decisions on how to improve their house.”
What can a homeowner expect at a home energy audit?
“A professional energy auditor will evaluate the heating and cooling equipment, ductwork, insulation, air tightness of the house, windows, doors, major appliances, and anything that contributes to energy use and potential energy loss in the home,” Tim says. “Once the audit is complete, homeowners will receive a detailed report outlining recommendations.”
Keep in mind, not all energy auditors are created equally. Since no training or certification is required by the state, many companies send out uncertified and untrained staff to do an evaluation. Be sure energy auditors are certified by the Building Performance Institute (BPI) which means they have undergone extensive training, have the proper equipment, and will comply with BPI standards. Homeowners should carefully interview energy auditors and ask about their experience and what type of testing their audit will include.
Also find out what their motivation is in performing an audit. Beware of contractors or firms such as HVAC contractors or window or insulation companies that offer low cost energy audits but are trying to sell a product or service. For example, if a window company performs an energy audit, a homeowner can guess what they’ll probably suggest doing first. “Find an independent third-party inspector who does not have an alternative motive to sell a homeowner something,” Tim strongly recommends.
Bryant Energy is one of the few unbiased third party inspectors in the market with a dedicated team of highly skilled professionals that fully understand how homes are built, how they use and lose energy, and how all the systems in the home work together to maximize energy efficiency. To find out more about this unique company, check out their profile on BuildZoom.
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