Friday, July 23, 2010

Spending money to save money

Ask Ida


Dear Ida B. Green,

Why get an energy audit when I already know where I should insulate?

Signed, Two Cents

Dear Cents,

As a recognized penny-pincher, I was surprised to find how valuable an audit can be.

Being an Economical Environmentalist (Tight-fisted Treehugger?), my first audit was a DIY job (www.energystar.gov>Home Improvements>Home Energy Yardstick). The results gave me a push to finish some things I knew I should do and gave me information to tackle projects I hadn't considered. A good start.

Once I had crawled into every possible nook and cranny with new insulation and seen some good reductions in energy bills, I got a professional energy audit that included a blower door test (this identifies air leaks in the building's envelope). Being prepared for pretty good results, I was chagrinned to find how many gaps still existed in our home's exterior skin and understood why some winter days still felt drafty in our well-insulated rooms.

I am in the process of filling all the gaps this audit pinpointed and am considering pumping up my attic insulation to R-60. When that's done, I'll look into getting an infrared photo to identify any missed spots for me to fix.

Remember, an energy audit is great at identifying where the problems are, but is only as good as the work you get done afterwards.

Keep It Green,

Ida

—Elizabeth Jeffrey




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