Energy Audit

You are probably wondering what an energy audit is and why you need one, am I right?

The answer isn’t necessarily simple, but it is common sense.  An energy audit performed by EcoBuilt Contractors or our sister company, EcoBuilding Consultants, will diagnose issues with your specific home or building.  Contractors all too often want to sell quick and easy products that won’t solve your problems or bring you the result you want.  Thinking of the building as a system is not something that most trades are trained to do.  Most often, insulators want to increase the amount of insulation in a building to “save energy” and do not have the process nor knowledge to determine why the building is using too much energy in the first place.   The same goes for HVAC companies and their thinking about the efficiency of air conditioners or furnaces.  For nearly 100 years, America has been trading one problem for another, searching for efficient, comfortable, healthy, safe and environmentally friendly buildings and homes.  The problem has been that we are looking for a magic bullet of new technology or upgraded components to solve all our issues and bring us all the benefits we are looking for. This system of thinking is flawed, and can only be addressed by understanding that your building or home is a very complex system and systems are, by nature, inter-related.

The reason this is important is because buildings are systems.  Systems can be quite complex, and at the core, each individual component within a system has an affect on the other components, as well as the system as a whole.  Improving the insulation of a home can should cause a greater difference between outside and inside.  That is the purpose of insulation.  That greater difference, by it’s very nature introduces more moisture gradient as well.  this can lead to mold and mildew issues, discomfort and overcapacity air conditioners and durability of buildings not being what they should be.  This isn’t to say we don’t want a well insulated home, but understanding that unless we are aware of certain interconnected elements of the system, we are going to trade one problem for another.  If I had a dollar for every building I saw where one contractor did what he needed to do, without thinking of how the building would perform as a system, well, lets just say, that is why companies like EcoBuilt Contractors stay busy.

The reason I am going to so much effort to discuss why system thinking is critical to diagnosing and solving building issues is that if you have a problem or issue with your current home, office or building space, somebody who built or renovated your space was not thinking of your building as a system. That is why you are experiencing whatever issues you currently have.  Again, all too often I see individual components of a building that do not work properly due to a lack of system thinking.

On the surface, calling APS or SRP or whoever your utility company is, or for that matter, doing research on the old internet, will put you in touch with literally hundreds of companies that claim to be building performance contractors or energy auditors that all have the same credentials.   This can be confusing when you are trying to distinguish between Company A vs. Company B.  I don’t want to cast disparaging comments toward any specific company, but all too often, you will find on that list many companies with insulation, mechanical, cooling or heating or solar in their name.  If you do decide to call one of these companies to perform a comprehensive energy audit, be very aware of their specialty, where they are coming from and what they are trying to sell.

What you should get from a comprehensive energy audit is an assessment of how your building works as a system.  How the Mechanical systems are working (air conditioner and heating system), how the distribution system is performing (duct leakage and efficiency), how the thermal boundary is functioning (not only how much insulation, but the quality of installation), how your combustion appliances are performing (efficiency, draft, CO…), lighting issues, solar shade screen potential, landscaping… etc….  You get the picture.  In addition to this, your Energy Audit provider should be able to discuss how these systems interact and work together and how improving one may adversely affect some of the others.

At the end of the day, finding a contracting company that has BPI (Building Performance Industry) certified Building Analysts is only the first step to finding a good company.  Find out whether they work with custom solution to difficult and non-standard situations.  Ask whether they turn down clients who have objectives they can’t meet.  (as a contractor, this was one of the most difficult things to do; sometimes, buildings are sometimes nearly impossible to repair without massive renovation and redesign)

 

 

 

Call 480.652.8898 now to book an audit.

               OR BOOK ONLINE