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Energy Improvements FAQs

What is an energy audit?

An energy audit is a whole-building assessment of energy consumption, building comfort, and health and safety. Diagnostics are used as a scientific basis for analysis; some of the commonly performed diagnostics include air leakage testing, combustion safety and analysis, and infrared scanning. An important part of an energy audit is a building walk-through and interviews with the occupants to understand more fully the living conditions in the building and help pinpoint specific problems. Building modeling software is used to determine cost-effective recommendations and a report is prepared to explain the proposed recommendations and the benefits of specific upgrades

What is a blower door?

A blower door is a diagnostic tool designed to measure the airtightness of buildings and to help locate air leakage sources. A blower door consists of a calibrated fan and a pressure-sensing device to measure the air pressure created by the fan flow. The combination of pressure and fan-flow measurements are used to determine the building airtightness. The airtightness of a building is useful knowledge when trying to increase energy conservation, decrease indoor air pollution, or control building pressures.

What are typical energy efficiency upgrades?

Typical upgrades include airsealing, insulation, heating, cooling and hot water systems, lighting, ventilation system balancing, and duct modifications.

I just replaced the windows and furnace, why would I get an energy audit?

Windows and furnaces are only a piece of the overall building comfort and efficiency, oftentimes the items with the longest return on investment. Upgrading these items without a full audit may have negligible impact. Without ensuring the building is properly isolated from outside elements (often achieved with airsealing and insulation) even the most efficient windows and heating systems will not be effective.

I have a rental property and tenants pay the utility bills. Why would I get an energy audit?

An energy efficient building will be much more marketable to future tenants or buyers.

What is the return on investment for the energy upgrades?

This will vary depending on what the upgrades are and how much energy is currently being wasted. Generally lighting, airsealing, and insulation opportunities have a 20-40% return (2-4 year payback) and replacing heating, cooling, windows and doors will have a 10-20% return (5-10 year payback). These are averages, each building is different and these estimates don? take into consideration incentives or increasing utility rates.

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