Adventures of a Home Energy Nerd continued with our Arlington based Contributor
The Energy Audit – Step One in the Renovation Recipe
If you are reading this, you have probably already done things like switched out your incandescent bulbs with compact florescent, plugged your TV and its 500 peripheral toys into power strips, turned up or down your programmable thermostats, and made some other basic energy saving changes in your home. We will focus on some of those basic things in future articles, but for now we will take things to a different level.
Put simply, every homeowner should consider having an energy audit. This is especially important if you are considering an addition or renovation and might have access to the inside or outside of walls, ceilings, or ducts (including residing or reroofing projects) to be able to plug leaks or add more insulation. An audit will give you the information you need to begin to turn your 1950’s Swiss cheese box into a highly efficient machine. The result should be a report that gives you specific information about where you are losing energy in your house and what actions you can take to reduce the loss.
I have to admit that energy audits were not on my radar when I began planning my addition 7 years ago. I did not have an audit performed for my house until after my renovation work was completed, when I realized it was too late to seal up some of the exterior walls of the existing part of my home. Lessons learned.
Even if you are not considering an addition or other major home improvement, an energy audit will still offer you a road-map guiding you along a series of useful energy saving improvements throughout your home.
Top 5 Things to Do or Consider Before You Start Home Renovations:
3. Hire a good insulation company to make the insulation and air sealing improvements, unless you feel confident that your general contractor has experience doing this type of work (this is not too common).
4. If replacing appliances or heating and cooling systems, choose only Energy Star rated equipment or those with equivalent energy usage.
5. If you are married or live with a significant other, pre-order some relationship counseling for the stress that will inevitably be created in living through a renovation together.