McLean, Va. — BOWA Builders (www.bowa.com), a full-service residential construction firm specializing in upscale additions, renovations and custom homes, advises homeowners to consider conducting an energy audit this fall to identify home improvements or behavioral modifications that could help to protect their home, family and environment.
“Home energy audits are an important first step in making the home more efficient,” said Larry Weinberg, CEO of BOWA Builders. “Homeowners who notice rooms being too drafty or warm, want to live greener or are looking to save on energy bills should consider hiring a professional home energy auditor to identify the most effective steps for improving their home’s energy efficiency and safety.”
A professional home energy auditor who is well trained and follows the high standards set by national quality control organizations can help homeowners determine how best to improve their home’s efficiency. After performing a battery of tests and taking careful measurements, an auditor can advise the homeowner on the most effective improvements while ensuring the safety of their home and family. It’s important to note, however, that audits alone don’t save energy, but implementing the recommended improvements can lead to noticeable results.
There are several levels of energy audits. The most accurate and thorough follow standards set by the Building Performance Institute (BPI) or Residential Energy Services Network (RESNET). As part of a comprehensive home energy audit, both of these organizations require auditors to perform Blower Door Tests, which help to locate and measure air leaks in a building, and Combustion Safety Tests, which measure the carbon monoxide produced by furnaces and water heaters. Both BPI and RESNET advocate that an audit that does not include these tests is more likely to miss important energy and safety issues. Additionally, while it’s not specifically required, qualified energy auditors will often use infrared cameras to reveal hard-to-detect areas of air infiltration and missing insulation as an effective complement to a standard Blower Door Test.
Alternatively, homeowners can perform a do-it-yourself audit as a basic measure of their home’s energy usage and efficiency. Homeowners can collect the last 12 months of utility bills, and then visit the online ENERGY STAR Home Energy Yardstick. Once the data is entered, homeowners can compare their home’s energy efficiency to similar homes across the country and get recommendations for energy-saving home improvements from ENERGY STAR. Some utilities may also offer free or discounted energy audits to their customers.
“At BOWA, we perform professional home energy audits on each of our large-scale renovation projects, because we feel strongly that the results are critical to our client’s comfort and satisfaction,” said Doug Horgan, BOWA Builders VP of Best Practices and one of the area’s leading authorities on green building and remodeling practices. “This practice is in keeping with our longstanding commitment to quality construction and environmental stewardship and our position as the area’s go-to expert on environmentally-friendly residential construction.”