Conserving energy and reducing the utility bills that go along with that goal is a high priority for most property owners. However, many people feel this is something that’s easier said than done. The biggest challenge is often just coming up with a plan. Most people are eager to reduce their energy usage, but they just simply don’t know how to get started in achieving that objective.
A good place to start with a residential property is with the Home Energy Score. This is a rating that evaluates the property’s energy usage (or expected energy usage, for new construction). It helps homeowners estimate their energy consumption and related utility bills. It can be viewed as similar to the gas mileage estimates for vehicles. Needless to say, a better Home Energy Score is always more appealing to property owners.
A Home Energy Score report identifies the score itself, but also provides some interesting and helpful supporting details, such as details about the home that factored into the score calculation. The report also lists specific data about the breakdown of the energy consumption. Lastly, it provides suggestions and tips for improving the score by reducing energy consumption. One of the highlights of the report is the estimated dollar amount that a property owner might be able to save by implementing the energy-saving tactics recommended in the report. It also tells you how much you will reduce your carbon footprint by following these suggestions.
Your score can also give you some insight as to how well (or not) you conserve energy as compared to some of your neighbors.
The Home Energy Score is calculated using a process that begins with a professional assessor inspecting the property and recording pertinent information during a brief walk-through of the home. Using the formal criteria outlined in the Home Energy Scoring Tool, the assessor then arrives at a score on a scale of 1 to 10, with a score of 10 indicating the home has excellent energy-saving qualities.
Home Energy Score evaluations are performed by Home Energy Score Partners that have been officially approved by the Dept. of Energy. These official partners include state agencies, contractor associations, nonprofit organizations and other groups. In order to be designated as an official partner, a group or organization must meet certain criteria and meet quality assurance requirements.
While these official Home Energy Score Partners are currently only based in certain areas, that doesn’t mean property owners (or builders and contractors) who are based in other areas are out of luck. Similar types of assessments are also performed by various organizations across the country. Many utility companies also offer similar types of evaluations for customers. Obviously, a property owner would want to use caution when the evaluations are performed by a contractor who then wants to offer their services to remedy the issues they claim to have found. Inspections should be performed by objective, independent evaluators, and recommended changes can then be performed by the contractor of the property owner’s choosing.
Even without enlisting the expertise of a professional evaluator, a homeowner or their contractor can likely identify at least a few areas where energy-saving changes can be made to an existing property. This is particularly true in situations where the owners are already living in the property, and are familiar with the normal living conditions inside the home. Places where they may feel drafts or spot leaks are prime targets for causing energy waste. Roofing or insulation that is in need of repair or outdated is also something that should get attention in reviewing potential areas where energy efficiency can be improved.
One upgrade that can result in immediate and significant energy savings is the use of spray foam insulation. This one change can often make a surprising impact on the utility bills the homeowner sees. Intech Equipment & Supply has a vast inventory of spray foam equipment and related materials.