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Some Inspectors Are Getting Into Energy Audits


Editor
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I have had the Energy Rater T-shirt! It never really paid off. Had the blower door and duct blasters, etc. The amount of time that it takes to do a proper energy audit and then write the report was just not worth the pay. It might have changed over the past eight years, but I still don't think the pay is all that great.

Now the training that I received to become an energy rater has helped me a great deal in my inspection business.

What made me sell my blower door and assorted equipment was the day that I sucked floor tiles and other assorted crap from the floor and walls of a home. Just was not a fun day! An expensive day Yes, but not fun!

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The Home Tune Up program is a little different than what I did as an energy rater. ASHI looked at the Home Tune Up program (They approached ASHI) as a membership benefit. It just did not sound right, so ASHI passed on this. The class cost $250 and then the inspector pays $20 to upload each survey to the company. You then charge your client whatever you want for this service.

There are several companies that have programs like this The basic program works like this: The inspector does the energy survey while the inspection is being done. It is then sent to the Home Tune Up folks(or similar company) and then they try to sell the homeowner on what is needed to fix their home. They job out the repairs to local folks.

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Chad,

The home Tune-uP is a visual inspection that does not utilize any specialized equipment other than normal tools associated with HI work.

Scott,

While the people at CMC Energy Services offer help in finding contractors, they do not really try and sell anything to the client. I generate the survey using CMC's software, and then send it directly to the client. CMC does not attempt to contact the client after that. The 20 bucks is fee for using their software.

I attended the very first training class offered back in 2003, and have been offering the service ever since. I charge 199.00 for a stand alone Tune-uP and 99.00 if ordered with an inspection. I also had my attorney draft a pre-inspection agreement specifically for this service that was approved by CMC Energy Services. The owner, Doris Ilke, is a very nice lady and I have had the pleasure of meeting and talking with her several times since the program was launched. The company is in Bethesda, MD about 20 mins from my house.

All of the clients that have purchased a Tune-uP from me have been very pleased with the overall service.

Kevin

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While the people at CMC Energy Services offer help in finding contractors, they do not really try and sell anything to the client. I generate the survey using CMC's software, and then send it directly to the client. CMC does not attempt to contact the client after that. The 20 bucks is fee for using their software.

Kind of makes you wonder how CMC makes any money. When the program was shown to me CMC received a percentage of the cost if the owner had the improvements done by one of their listed contractors.

So with an energy survey like this how can you tell if the duct work or HVAC system is leaking air?

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I examined several companies offering this service. I learned that local utility companies will often do the same analysis free, and sometimes even give rebates for energy upgrades.

The up front cost to the homeowner, to acheive a significant energy saving, was high and usually involved replacing all major appliances. I could tell a homeowner that buying all new appliances and new HVAC equipment would lower energy consumption without doing an "audit". I'll bet homeowners who paid for this professional analysis were thrilled at this highly scientific, computer generated information.

The payback period for recommneded energy improvements was longer than most owners would continue to occupy the house.

One huge inspection franchise company bit on this. Their franchisees paid for training up front. I never heard anything positive after the auditing company made off with the training fees.

I'm just a home inspector. What do I know?

Originally posted by Editor

As homes sales and regular home inspections slow, inspectors are looking for more ways to expand their range of services and some are now doing energy audits. This article in the Belleville News Democrat describes one such program.

To learn more, click here.

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Originally posted by Scottpat

While the people at CMC Energy Services offer help in finding contractors, they do not really try and sell anything to the client. I generate the survey using CMC's software, and then send it directly to the client. CMC does not attempt to contact the client after that. The 20 bucks is fee for using their software.

Kind of makes you wonder how CMC makes any money. When the program was shown to me CMC received a percentage of the cost if the owner had the improvements done by one of their listed contractors.

So with an energy survey like this how can you tell if the duct work or HVAC system is leaking air?

I could be mistaken, but I do think any of my Tune-uP clients have contacted CMC to help with finding contractors. However, I do believe you are correct in that they charge a fee for that service.

I do not know how successful this program has been across the country, but I do know that they have trained hundreds of inspectors. If hundreds or possibly thousands of inspectors eventually get trained to do Tune-uP's, then I guess CMC has the potential to make a lot of money.

Anyways, what works for some may not work for others.

For specific questions contact:

Steve Luxton

Regional Manager

sluxton@cmcenergy.com

866.843.5500

Kevin

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"I could tell a homeowner that buying all new appliances and new HVAC equipment would lower energy consumption without doing an "audit". I'll bet homeowners who paid for this professional analysis were thrilled at this highly scientific, computer generated information."

Malban,

I am sure you can. The only difference between you and me is that I am providing a professional service and getting paid accordingly.....you are not!

Again, I have nothing but positive feedback from my clients on this service.

Here are just two examples:

Our house was simply too cold - it was unbearable! The Home Energy Tune-uP provided us with steps to take to make our house warmer in order of importance. After following just a few of the steps, our house is much warmer and all around more livable. Thank you very much!

David Sutton

Kensington, MD

Dear Kevin,

I’m writing to thank you for the thorough and professional home inspection and Home Energy Tune up that you performed on my new home in December 2003. Your attention to detail uncovered many items that I had overlooked in important areas of my home, several of which were hazards that had to be addressed immediately. Your report was thorough and easy to understand and has become a “to-doâ€

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Myself and Mark went through the Tune Up classes. We don't get a lot of request for it, but of the dozen or so I've done here, we've been able to help every customer. Some of these homes were 20 to 30 years old and had maybe 2 to 3 inches of insulation. One had tape that had come off the seams of the evaporator coil housing and was blowing cold (cool) air into the attic.

I'm not sure how much other inspectors with the Tune Up program are charging, but we're charging anywhere from $175 to $250 depending on the size of the home. For what we're finding and saving our Clients, that's a heckuva deal.

Scotty - I don't know why you couldn't make money with your Energy Audits. I watch the local Energy contractors for Builders here in Houston do the Energy Star test in less than 20 minutes and then slap a "Energy Star" passed sticker on the house. This includes the blower door test (which they run about 30 seconds) and report (a 1 page checklist).

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