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Energy Services 2017-08-24T12:47:13+00:00

Home Energy Audits, HERS Ratings, and More…

According to the EPA Energy Star program, the average American household spends $1,500 annually on energy bills – a number that may go up as much as 50% this year.

Almost half of that energy goes to heating and cooling your home. Lighting and appliances represent about a quarter of those costs. Each of us can take action today to reduce energy use at home, while still staying comfortable.

Let Scott Home Inspection perform a top-to-bottom Energy Audit of your home to help determine the cause of any problems you may be experiencing, help you gauge your home’s energy efficiency, and recommend clear steps you can take to reduce your energy bills.

Energy Services FAQs

A blower door is a machine used to measure the air-tightness of buildings. It can also be used to measure airflow between building zones, to test ductwork air-tightness and to help physically locate air leakage sites in a home. The blower door is temporarily setup in an outside door, and air is pulled out of the home, while the auditor goes from room to room finding air-leaks, typically with an infra-red camera.
An Energy Audit is a specialized inspection of a home with an emphasis on reviewing items related to energy efficiency. Included is a review of Insulation levels, Air-Leakage concerns, Window performance, Heating-Cooling system efficiency, Water-Heating efficiency, and Lighting-Appliance recommendations. Includes Infra-Red scans of the home.
A Home Energy Rating, performed by a Certified HERS (Home Energy Rating System) Rater, consists of a full visual analysis of the energy-related components and aspects of the home, along with testing of the home including blower door testing and duct leakage testing. The data collected about the home is then entered into a software program that models the home’s energy performance and produces a score relating to the energy efficiency. A HERS Index of “100” represents the energy use of a new “American Standard Home” that meets the performance requirements of the International Energy Conservation Code. An index of “0” indicates that the building uses no purchased energy (net zero building). The HERS Index is a linear metric where every percentage that a building’s energy use is reduced represents a decreased point reduction on the index.

RESNET Establishes rules for the energy rating industry

In 1995 RESNET was founded to develop a national market for home energy ratings and energy efficient mortgages. One main goal of RESNET was the development of standards for quality of rating services. The standards set the national procedures for home energy ratings, and include testing and accreditation for raters and providers, development of verification processes for homes meeting ENERGY STAR® and energy efficient building standards, as well as meeting local Energy Code compliance.

The home is compared to a hypothetical reference home which is based on the IECC 2004, and the home is then provided with a rating. The rating can be a numerical HERS rating or a ‘star’ rating based upon ENERGY STAR® requirements.

A certified HERS Rater follows a prescribed standard for how a home is measured, verified and rated, and must comply with national standards to continue to perform certified ratings.

During an Energy Survey or Energy Audit, IR scans of the home are performed in an effort to identify issues that may not be detectable with a standard visual inspection.

Insulation Status in Walls and Vaulted Ceilings – the walls and vaulted ceilings of the home will be scanned and reviewed, to help determine the status of the insulation present, whether gaps and voids exist, and whether missing areas are present.

Moisture Issues – during the scanning of the home, potential moisture issues or hidden leaks may be detectable that would otherwise not be seen with a visual review. If areas of moisture are detected, a moisture meter can be used to verify the concern, prompting a recommendation for further evaluation.

Electrical Concerns – the electric panel can be scanned for over-heating and over-current conditions that may exist and not otherwise be visually detectable.

Hidden Roof Leaks – the roof sheathing in the attic can be scanned, looking for wet areas or potential leak areas that also may not otherwise be visually detectable.

Air Running Across ceiling in KitchenInfra-red technology is not without limitations, and is not perfect. The images presented need to be interpreted, and often further investigation is needed to verify the findings. The technology does not see through walls, but merely displays the surface temperature of the area being scanned. However, wet areas are usually colder, insulation gaps are colder or warmer, and electric concerns tend to be warmer.

As a tool available to a home inspector, infra-red technology provides another unique way to inspect a home. When combined with the experience of home systems and building science, and the knowledge of how to interpret the images being displayed, IR scanning can aid the home inspector in finding potentially hidden concerns.

Energy-Check

This service is an add-on to a standard Home Inspection.  Choose an Energy-Check to understand the basic energy performance of the home you are buying.  Included within the main home inspection report will be an Energy-Check section that will outline improvement recommendations to consider once you own the home.

Included inspection areas:

Included is a review of

  • Insulation levels
  • Air-Leakage concerns
  • Window performance
  • Heating-Cooling system efficiency
  • Water-Heating efficiency
  • Lighting-Appliance recommendations
  • Infra-Red scans of the home for energy related deficiencies

While not as comprehensive as a full Home Energy Audit, this check provides valuable input to a prospective home buyer relating to the energy efficiency considerations of your new home.

energy-audit

Energy Audit

An Energy Audit from Scott Home Inspection is a review of your home’s systems, taking an innovative whole-house approach to improving the comfort and energy efficiency of your home.

We will perform a top to bottom energy inspection of your home to help determine the cause of any problems you may be experiencing, help you gauge your home’s energy efficiency and durability, and recommend clear steps you can take to reduce your energy bills. As part of the inspection, we will also make sure your gas appliances are venting properly.

Energy Audit Inspection includes:

  • Heating system test and evaluation
  • Cooling system test and evaluation
  • Water Heating system inspection
  • Ducting system inspection
  • Insulation and Ventilation inspection
  • Door and Window evaluation
  • Blower Door Test – Air-Sealing inspection (interior and exterior)
  • Infra-red (IR) scans, where appropriate
  • Appliance and Lighting efficiency evaluation

Following the inspection, we will recommend improvements as part of our same-day report. These may include measures such as: air-sealing and duct-sealing, adding insulation, installation of energy-efficient lighting, and if needed, new HVAC equipment or windows. The best solution for most homes often includes a combination of different types of improvements.

Implementation of the suggested improvements will result in savings on your annual energy bill. And, many of the improvements will be simple items that could be performed yourself.

HERS Rating

As Certified Home Energy Raters, Scott Home Inspection can perform full energy ratings on new homes for builders, architects and home buyers, to verify the energy performance of the home.

Energy Rating Services:

  • HERS Ratings – Certified Energy HERS Ratings performed for builders, architects and home buyers.
    • Ratings for new homes, remodels and additions, when needed for certain municipalities, such as City/County of Boulder
    • Energy STAR Ratings offered (Energy Star V3 Certified Rater)
    • RES-Check reports from plans
  • IECC-2009/2012/2015 Performance Path Ratings and Field Testing – Blower door testing, insulation inspections, and pre-verification to meet the IECC-2009/2012 Energy Code requirements.
    • Energy Code compliance checks for all local municipalities
    • Help with compliance to City/County of Boulder requirements, Town of Superior Green Building Code, Longmont Green Points, and others.
  • Infra-Red (IR) Scanning to help diagnose insulation levels and air leakage areas.

Manual J/D Reports

With Mechanical System Specialists on our team, Scott Home Inspection can perform Manual J/D Reports on new homes for builders and architects, to calculate the heating and cooling load of the home and layout the basic duct design.

  • Manual J/D Report Preparation
    • Manual J is the name for a specific protocol (often called “Heat Load Calculation” or “Cooling Load Calculation“) used to determine how much heating/cooling a home needs to stay cool and dry in the summer and warm in the winter.
    • Manual D is the method used to determine the overall duct lay-out including the individual duct sizes. To design a duct system, the HVAC system designer must have completed a Room-by-Room Manual J load calculation as well as a Manual S equipment selection.

REScheck Report

REScheck Report Services

Preparing a REScheck Report is one method for validating compliance to the IECC Building Code (International Energy Compliance Code).  These reports can be performed on new construction home, remodels or additions.  The REScheck calculation methods allow a designer or builder to consider trade-off of building material specifications, such as insulation and window specs, giving an alternate path to compliance and not having to meet every specification required by the prescriptive tables.  This results in greater flexibility on a project, when one component far exceeds minimum requirements, a builder can reduce specifications on other items.  Examples include, a desire to maintain 2×4 framing on above grade walls, larger windows that can’t meet the minimum U-factor requirements, or areas that can’t achieve the minimum insulation requirements without costly foam insulation.  Under scenarios like this, performing a REScheck calculation is a way to show compliance with the IECC while maintaining the desired window or insulation values. Learn more and schedule yours here.

At Scott Home Inspection, our staff of energy code specialists include HERS Raters and Manual J/D Report Specialists.  We can perform REScheck reports from plans allowing you to focus on what you do best – designing and building homes.

Blower Door Testing and Duct Leakage Testing

Meeting the IECC-2012/2015 requires Field Testing to validate performance of the home.  Blower door testing is now a mandatory requirement on new construction homes.  And duct leakage testing is required when any part of the duct system is outside the heated envelope of the home, such as in an attic.

At Scott Home Inspection, we have a team of energy efficiency specialists that can perform:

  • Blower Door Testing performed on all Audits and Ratings, and for IECC Code Requirements – more info
  • Duct Leakage Testing performed when ducts systems are outside the thermal boundary, according to IECC 2012 and IECC 2015 requirements.

Learn More About HERS Ratings:

Read More:

Take a look at our sample Energy Audit Report, and read the Popular Mechanics article where our founder George Scott was interviewed regarding energy efficiency in homes.

Sample Energy Audit Report
Popular Mechanics Article
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Energy Efficiency Specialists

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