Wednesday, April 02 2008
As many of you know, I am a staunch supporter of energy efficiency and doing everything that we can as consumers to save energy on the highway and in our homes. Recently, I have committed to finding a contractor to conduct an energy audit of my personal residence. However, I now realize that this project may be a little more difficult than what I originally expected. As it turns out, there are few, if any, contractors that do this sort of thing in Las Vegas. So, with the understanding that I may be doing it myself, I am researching what exactly is measured during an audit and how it is done so that I may ultimately save both energy and money on a monthly basis! Here is part of an article that I have found thus far…
The Nuts and Bolts of Audits
The heart of any energy audit, which takes about two-and-a-half hours to complete, is what’s known as the blower-door test. It involves sealing a front door opening with an airtight nylon tarp penetrated by a large fan. The fan depressurizes the house by drawing out indoor air. This pulls in air from the outside, so every gap in the house, large and small, acts like a vacuum, and anyone in the house can feel the air streaming in from all directions. Inspectors identify the smallest penetrations using a device called a smoke pencil, which releases a thin stream of gray smoke that billows in the presence of leaks.
To get an especially detailed picture of leakage, inspectors use a camera with infrared film to photograph problem areas like chimney flues and crawl spaces. Areas with leaks will be visible in the pictures by differences in color density.
By the end of the audit, you should know the house’s main problem areas. The inspection report, which takes a few days to compile, will give you suggestions for repairs. It’s unlikely the auditor will recommend that everything be fixed as auditors usually focus on repairs that will provide the greatest efficiency at a reasonable cost. It makes more sense to spend money to get efficiencies that will pay for themselves in a few years as opposed to spending thousands of dollars only to get small improvements.