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Energy inspections.


RickSab
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Does anyone do energy inspections? No blower door no IR. Just a down and dirty inspection for sealing up the place. I have several requests. Does anyone have a format they would be willing to share? I've been told that in Minnesota it is a booming business and there is no credentialing required. Anyone can pass them self off as a energy inspector. Are we missing the boat?

Thanks for sharing.

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I take that a step further and talk about tax credits, rebates and other incentives that are available for making energy efficient upgrades, but that's what I do at my day job so I'm very comfortable making those statements. There is the added benefit that it reinforces the idea that my client should negotiate for dollars and not for repairs.

I don't know how well you'd be able to do marketing that as a seperate service. Maybe if more people knew what a real audit involved you could make a cost/value pitch, but consumers have no idea.

Tom

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I haven't been able to figure out what these guys do. When people ask me, I usually direct them to the web for DIY lists of what to look for. I have a group of people I can refer people to for specifics or for a diagnostic energy audit. If I do the check list for them it is hard to put a value on that.

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Rick,

I am a BPI Building Analyst, RESNET Certified Rater and licensed (Texas) Home Inspector. I do "energy audits". I do not determine how extensive my audit will be until I talk to and visit the client at their house. I find out what problems the home owner has (large bills, drafts health problems Etc) and/or what the owner's goals are before I start any audit. While I cando blower door, suct blaster or IR camera tests in many cases they are not warranted. For example, I was at a home with year round high electric bills. The home owner was running 2 pool pumps 24 hours a day. I showed him how much they were costing him ($200/month) and told him to put the pumps on a timer whcih could save $120/month. No needfor a blower door!

There is not much call for energy audits but I do have a good business in conducting Energy Star Certifications for new construction. This requires a RESNET Rater Certificationand equipment.

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  • 2 months later...
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I do energy audits as part of a state sponsered program that offers low cost financing. There has been little interest from the public in general but it is growing slowly. I primarily use it in my main business as a HVAC Contractor to find Duct & Air Loss in the building. Coupled with the Wright J Load calcs we use on new installations we can diagnose and give the customers a phased approach to making their home more affordable and comfortable

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Home Energy Consulting is curiously difficult to market, but should be a bit easier in this market.

What I do as a home inspector helps someone dodge one time bullets or the money pit.

A Home Energy Consultation, if done properly, helps a person recognize and eliminate habits and conditions that literally claim a portion of their hard earned money day by day. It also presents them with a list of possible projects prioritized by the cost and rate of return. Once a home owner has all of this information, they can make their own educated choices.

In my mind, Home Energy Consultation isn't about the environment even though I love hiking, mountain biking and wildlife photography. Any affect that home improvements or living changes have on the environment are simply a good side benefit to me. The big benefit, in my mind, is helping people recognize and eliminate as many ways as possible that they waste their hard earned money. It's no different than when we walk up on a leaking natural gas line or propane tank and think of all that money going up into the air that no one even knows about. How long has this poor person been paying for this waste? After all, the additional revenues that the local power company or utility department experiences hardly help the economy, but those same dollars used to purchase goods does help the economy.

The depth of training and the extent of service performed varies with the institute. I've been through two courses that were just OK, and I'm in the process of training with one I like a lot, which is proving to be pretty exhaustive.

It doesn't really make sense to me that folks are so perfectly willing to let their hard earned wages drift away, but I am guessing that this new economy is going to force folks to be much more diligent about stretching dollars. With this in mind, I'm preparing to give Home Energy Consultations another more earnest try beginning with some innovative marketing.

Here is a pretty good academy that was started by an architect that has gone so green that he has a meter on his home for the months that he actually generates electricity over and above his needs, which he sells to the local power company. His course is the best I've seen and is really probably a bit over the top.

www.greenandsave.com

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Our company does Energy Loss Analysis -Strategy let clients

determine if they want to save 10% , 20% OR 30% - then we use

our tools / Resources and analytical abilities to exceed their expect-ations . The premise is about solutions and our approach yields

alot of happy customers- Thermal scans and accurate interpretations

Lighting audits( SSL bias) Use assessment, yield 7- 8 page reports detail

suggegested fixes w/ approximate costs- Small houses are our faves -

It costs $89 -$123 and customers get an energy efficiency gift.

Plus I do at least 2 Pro Bono jobs a month. The future of energy assess

ment will have multiple tiers for some thats a threat to customers its

their choice.We always save folks at least 10% and the gift means

their situation is better before we leave - Results Count!!

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I was just contacted by www.greenerdawn.com about taking their courses and getting a BPI certification. The courses cost about $1,500.00 and the equipment would cost another $10,000 - $15,000. The sales pitch is that many people will need a BPI inspection to quality for the new federal energy tax credits. I think energy inspections or audits would be great to do, but is their really a market to make a profit? How much demand is their for energy audits?

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In many areas of Texas the utility companies are doing all such audits and in almost all cases for "free".

Some larger HVAC companies are also doing similar trying to get their foot in the door to sell equipment/systems.

My personal view is that any such investment will have an ROI of decades.

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There won't be a really strong demand for them until they become mandatory. When the Feds launch HomeStar to replace the current stimulus program it will require an independant auditor to test proposed improvements in and out to verify that minimum energy conservation levels are met. Right now the language is specifically "only BPI Certified Building Analysts and Residential Energy Services Network (RESNET) raters will be permitted to conduct the required test-in/test-out energy audits."

This reminds me, what ever happened to the mandatory audits in Ontario? Maybe one of the brethren form the Great White North could chime in how that has affected demand and profitability.

Tom

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I was just contacted by www.greenerdawn.com about taking their courses and getting a BPI certification. The courses cost about $1,500.00 and the equipment would cost another $10,000 - $15,000. The sales pitch is that many people will need a BPI inspection to quality for the new federal energy tax credits. I think energy inspections or audits would be great to do, but is their really a market to make a profit? How much demand is their for energy audits?

Just look at the post above yours "SSLPro" and what they are getting in the way of a fee. In my area the TVA Co-op will do them for free.

The folks that are really making any money on the energy audits are those that are doing the training and selling the equipment. Sure it is a great idea but this is almost a mirror image of what happened before when the Gov gave credits for this that and the other if you made a home more energy efficient. The folks that really needed to fix their home could not afford to do it. A tax credit does not provide the money to make a house more energy efficient. You have to have the money to do it.

I was involved in the energy audit process back in the early 1990's and it just did not pay to do them. As Nolan said the ROI is kind of like installing a geothermal heat pump in your home, it will take years to see a return on that investment.

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Nolan,

I am interested in the protocol that this "auditor" follows. Would you please post after the audit exactly what the "auditor" did.

I had a free one as well by our local electric company. It took two guys about 2 hours to setup, do the testing/inspection and tear down. They used a blower door and a duct blaster and pretty much did as I use to do when I did them back in the early 1990's. We found a couple of leaks in the duct work and a few other places that needed to be sealed. It took about a week for us to get the report.

The funny thing is that I corrected most everything and we have not noticed any change in our utility bill. Keep in mind my home is only 4 years old and was already pretty darn tight. About the only thing I have not done that they recommended is to place 2 storm doors on our two exterior doors and add CFL's to all light fixtures.

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Well it doesn’t sound worth the effort to become a BPI Building Analyst.

Regarding the CFL's. I have had several fail long before their life span and of course I can't find the package and receipt to get a new free one. Also, I have had trouble getting the right wattage and color of light to match standard lights. The CFL's seam to bright and too blue.

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I have discovered that the CFL's that are packed 3-4 to a package that are sold for around $10 at Lowes or HD do not last as long as the ones that are packaged individually and cost around $5 -$7 each. As with most everything you get what you pay for!

We started to buy GE or Sylvania "Daylight" for the areas we wanted the brightest white light. The "Daylight" color really does make a difference and the light is pretty natural, like daylight! Another thing I discovered is that the CFL's do not like the cold. I put them in our garage and back patio light and in the winter they take about 3-5 minutes to get up to speed and produce a good amount of light. Once it hits around 15f they might not even come on at times.

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