We strive to have a green post every now and then here at StyleBlueprint. We know we are not a “green blog”, but we do believe 100% that part of a modern, stylish life is environmental awareness. Today, we bring you a feature on what I did to ensure my house was energy efficient because winter is knocking and I love a toasty house – preferably without much impact on my wallet. The temperatures are now wavering under the freezing mark each night, so we all know that our NES bill will be bigger. Here is one way to possibly make a dramatic impact on your energy bills: an energy audit.
My friends, Derek and Sandra Pace, opened up a Pro Energy Consultants business last summer. Intrigued, I had them visit to assess my house. I knew my house was in fairly good shape because when we moved in, our square footage doubled, yet our energy bill remained the same. However, I started to think that this may have more to do with how dismally energy-inefficient my former 1928 Tudor was, in comparison to my current well-renovated 1910 Four Square. How could I be certain that my house was at peak form? The only way I knew to find out was an energy audit. I really wish such audits were part of the inspection process when buying a house, as I have known entirely too many people who end up with poorly made homes and it doesn’t show up until the heat of the summer or the cold winds of winter.
So what exactly is an energy audit? Well, it is a 2-3 hour process that pretty much finds out how well your house is sealed up. By using a blower attached to one of your exterior door frames, which amplifies the natural flow of air through your house, your energy consultant can find out where all your leaky areas are:
Next, a device using infrared technology is used to pinpoint exactly where your house is under-performing. (Note: this is different than NES’s low cost audit which is visual in nature with no diagnostic equipment used.) At my house, we found out that our basement door is actually an interior door that is being used as an exterior door. This is an easy fix to give us a warmer basement. We also found some poorly insulated areas on top of a few windows and a few other minor issues.
Overall, Derek was really impressed with how well our house performed. We were able to take the suggestions made, make a few changes, and ensure our house is as energy efficient as we need it to be. My neighbors mentioned that they also had an energy audit performed and their list was quite a bit longer — they now understand why their energy bills are so dang high.
You won’t need to replace all your windows to have significant energy savings (window companies that offer free audits will beg to differ….). You will get a report with suggestions on what to change. This way, you can pick what works with your individual budget. I also like that I now have this wonderful report on how energy efficient my house is should I choose to place it on the market again.
I asked Derek, “So, you make most of your money on the retrofit side?” He was passionate with his answer as he wants everyone to understand that he does not perform audits in order to gain work. Here is what he said,
“We offer a true customized, comprehensive and diagnostic audit to the home owner allowing them to gain a full understanding of the issues affecting their home. We view ourselves as an advocate for the homeowner. Additionally we are always available to our customers long after the auditing process to give guidance, direction or simply answer any questions they may have for as long as necessary. I am more than happy to educate home owners on how to make many of the repairs themselves. I will also work with the homeowner’s contractor if need be. There are more than enough people who ask me to perform the retrofit portion without having to put some ridiculous hard sell on them. I feel it is important for consumers to know that when I come into their home I do not have an agenda and will not try to sell them. I know this is long winded but I guess what I am trying to say is that at the end of the day my recommendations to the homeowner are the things that need to be done whether it is by the home owner, their contractor, or myself.“
So with winter on the way, give yourself some peace of mind by not only enjoying smaller energy bills, but also by being a household that’s creating a smaller energy footprint in this world. And less energy used makes us as a nation less dependent on other countries for energy. No matter what your reason, using less energy is good for all of us. One way to start is with an energy audit for your home (or your business).
It goes back to the whole thought, “If we all chip in a little bit, imagine what we could accomplish.” Light bulbs are a great start, but the sometimes 30-40% energy savings achieved is a powerful goal for Nashville homes.
There are a few companies that do energy audits in town. I dealt with Pro Energy Consultants. Do some research online and see if an energy audit makes sense for you. Then daydream about what you want to do with that extra money you’ll have…. Prices start at $350.
One more thing: StyleBlueprint is launching StyleBlueprint Deals next week. www.styleblueprint.com/deal You won’t believe who we’ve partnered with. If you need a nudge to open the door to a fabulous local business, or if you are already a customer but want to take advantage of a great deal (believe us that ALL the owners want current customers to partake as well) then look no further. Next week = StyleBlueprint Deal. Cheers!