Forward thinkers understand Energy Auditing. An energy auditor looks at your energy useage, your house and prescribes behaviors and equipment that will help bring down your total energy consumption. What most people are confused on is what makes Home Performance different. A recent video by Corbett Lunsford of the Chicago Green Dream Group spells it out beautifully.
He gives his 4-3-2-1 of Home Performance. He says there are 4 Elements to Home Performance:
- Heat Flow: What can I use to make my building more energy efficient or higher performing?
- Airflow & Pressure: Both can cause a myriad of problems in the house including indoor air quality, comfort and energy efficiency.
- Moisture: This will damage a building’s durability faster than anything else, is a major component in poor indoor air quality and can greatly affect comfort as well.
- Indoor Air Quality: If you have respiratory problems caused by poor indoor air, we need to take a step back from energy efficiency until we’ve ensured that the air in your home is safe to breathe.
- Air Sealing (Air Ducts and Home): It is cheap, effective, doesn’t need to be maintained or replaced and uses no energy (zero operating cost!)
- Insulation: Largely ineffective without air sealing first!
- HVAC: Without the first two, replacing a furnace with a more efficient model is akin to driving a Prius on flat tires!
2 Systems in Home:
- Envelope: The Envelope is comprised of the Air Barrier (made complete by Air Sealing any holes), which is the windbreaker for your home and the Insulation, the sweater.
- HVAC: This stands for the Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning systems in your home. Water heating is included.
1 Goal: CONTROL. Energy Efficiency is a result of control.
The kicker here is that the only way to properly demonstrate control of a building is Home Performance Testing. Things you can expect to gain from taking these 3 recommendations (as tailored to your house, concerns and budget) are increased comfort, lower utility bills, better indoor air quality, and a more durable home. You also get confidence in your home performance contractor because they are the only ones that can PROVE the results they promise.