by Robert Gluck
Okay, first off – if you haven’t thought of getting an energy audit done for your cherished home, then go for it NOW.
Aside from saving you hundreds of dollars annually on energy bills, an energy audit by a certified professionally particularly, gives you increased efficiency & productivity and increased comfort (who can live with air drafts and heat leaks?) at a lower price.
Want to save a few more bucks by not hiring a professional certified energy auditor and doing it yourself?
It’s possible, but it is by no means a substitute for an energy audit by a licensed professional who has undergone specialized courses like energy audit course, energy audit certification, energy auditor training, energy auditor certification and more.
At best a DIY energy audit will provide a preliminary guide to identifying the particular problems you need to correct in a program of up-grading your home’s energy efficiency.
Whereas a professional energy auditor will check your house thoroughly for energy leaks by devices like infrared devices and blower door tests, which can detect even the most obscure corners of your abode that may be leaking air and even go through all your electrical appliances that maybe costing Mother Nature a lot!
Plus if that wasn’t enough to convince you, this just will – a professional audit can also make you eligible for tax rebate.
A preliminary guide will help you when you do communicate with a licensed pro.
A good way to start is to visit the ENERGY STAR internet site – www.energystar.gov.
ENERGY STAR is a joint program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).
Introduced in 1992 as a voluntary labeling program, it is designed to identify and promote energy efficient products to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and energy consumption.
Most people who buy new electrical appliances know that an ENERGY STAR label tells you how much energy the appliance will use.
Manufacturers made dramatic reductions in energy consumption to qualify for the label and the ENERGY STAR label program has been extended to major appliances, office equipment, lighting and home electronics.
It also covers new homes, commercial, and industrial buildings.
At the ENERGY STAR site click on the following file tabs:
- Common Home Problems and Solutions;
- Home Energy Yardstick;
- Home Advisor;
- & Assess Your Home.
These will provide you with some information about your home that an energy auditor would give you. (Remember: only some information.)
Another excellent online resource can be found at www.energysavers.gov.
Here you can find guidance on such topics as:
- Tax Credits and Rebates;
- Designing and Remodeling;
- Heating and Cooling;
- Water Heating;
- Appliances and Electronics;
- Insulation and Air Sealing;
- Windows, Doors and Skylights.
If ever there was a particularly bankable time to invest in energy upgrades, it’s now!
Because Congress has approved specific federal tax credits for most of the energy upgrades that you are likely to install and there also are state tax credits and grants available for selected energy up-grades.
Plus recession clouds haven’t bid their goodbyes yet which translates to the fact that many contractors are hungry for new work.
This advantageous circumstance can get you productive results – you can easily score more competitive bids than you would likely achieve if you postponed the work until the recession is over.
Another significant reason is this – some rate caps on electricity will end.
For example, in the year 2010, energy firm PECO has advised its customers that the “rate caps” they are under, will expire and the cost of electricity will increase by 20-40 percent.
The result of that increase will mean a speedier payback on the cost of any improvement that reduces your consumption of electricity or a significant additional expense if you don’t.
Recent legislation at federal, state, and local levels created an unprecedented number of publicly funded financial incentives to assist homeowners who want to invest in energy savings.
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, aka the Stimulus Act, provides funds that support weatherization for households earning less than $44,000 for a family of four.
Some cities, like Philadelphia, have proposed the creation of financial and other incentive programs to assist homeowners that don’t meet the act’s income requisites.
Bottom line here: don’t overlook the fact that the investment you make pays off in two ways:
- lowering your monthly utility bills,
- & increasing the market value of your home.
If you plan to remain in your home for two years or more, this may be the smartest ‘green’ investment you can make.
You will be investing at the bottom of the market and are really likely to enjoy the increased value of your investment when the housing market recovers from the gloomy economical clouds hovering over us.
Till then, be green and invest smart.