Home energy audits and retrofits increase comfort, efficiency and value.
“Home Performance” is hot. State tax incentives are built around it, federal programs support it, and local agencies like Energy Trust of Oregon and Clean Energy Works Oregon are hard at work promoting it.
But what is it, and does it measure up to the hype?
Home performance consists of energy assessments (aka energy audits) that uncover the hidden causes of poor energy efficiency, poor indoor air quality, and thermal discomfort in your home. With this data in hand, home performance practitioners prescribe building improvements to transform the way your living space feels and performs.
The promise? Improved comfort and safety, reduced carbon footprint, and lower operating costs.
But does it really deliver? Here are seven reasons you should take home performance seriously:
1. Save BTUs and Bucks
Home performance retrofits saves energy by making buildings tighter and heating and cooling systems more efficient. Every unit of energy saved translates directly into dollars and cents. With generous incentives available to support energy efficiency improvements, home performance projects have become more affordable than ever. But be careful – you need to work with a certified building analyst to qualify for most of the incentives.‚Ä®
2. Ditch the Draft(s)
Many of us who love the character of our old homes have learned to overlook how drafty they really are. The before/after increase in comfort from a home energy retrofit can be remarkable. Tightened homes aren’t just more thermally comfortable, they also feel more solid and tranquil. More livable.
3. Go With the Flow
Home performance is about managing and planning flows: controlling air flow, energy flow and moisture flow throughout the home and its building components. Home energy assessments measure and test these flows and well-planned retrofits engineer these flows to ensure excellent indoor air quality and a long life for the building’s components.
4. Save Your (Embodied) Energy
So why don’t we just dump all this drafty housing stock and start fresh? “Embodied energy” energy is one answer. Our houses took lots of energy (and carbon emissions) to construct, and that energy is embodied within each house. If we simply tear down and start over, we waste that energy. By bringing homes up to a higher standard of efficiency, home performance retrofits allow us to maximize this initial energy investment and extend its dividends.
5. It’s the Green Thing To Do
Buildings consume 41% of the energy used in the US, with residential housing consuming 22%. So improving our homes’ energy efficiency is one of the biggest and best green impacts we can personally make.
6. The Science to Make It Happen
Back in the 80s building science was frustratingly weak. Not today. This science, coupled with advanced diagnostic technology, now empowers home performance experts to find the true causes of poor building performance and prescribe the right remedies.
7. Increased Value
Home buyers are becoming more and more savvy about the energy efficiency and comfort that well-performing homes offer, so a home energy retrofit can play a big role in increasing the value of your home if and when you choose to sell. And with the advent of Energy Trust of Oregon’s Energy Performance Score (EPS), the MPG-like rating of home energy use, it’s becoming easier and easier for buyers to distinguish the higher performing homes from the laggards.
At Hammer & Hand we believe that we should be harnessing the full power of building science to reach well beyond bandaid weatherization measures in our home performance retrofits. We’ve got the know-how today to really transform our homes’ energy performance and comfort, so why pursue half-measures that will be outdated in a few years’ time?
Visit our energy retrofits page to learn more about our home performance services.
– Zack (Connect with me at +ZacharySemke)Back to Field Notes