On Houston Real Estate Radio we have talked a lot about Green Building and Green improvements that can save you money on your utility bills. If you are not sure what to do to your home to make it more energy efficient, then you may need an Energy Audit. An Energy Audi evaluates your home and they can give you advise on ways to improve your home that will give you more energy efficiency. These home audits can take a few hours. They are very thorough. You may be surprised at the test results when they come in. You might find out your home is already energy efficient if you used a Green Builder in the last couple of years. Or you might find some problems that can easily be corrected that will lower your monthly bills.
When you get the results back from the Energy Audit there will be two things you’ll want to look at. The first is the Home Energy Rating System Index (HERS Index). This is an overall rating of the energy efficiency in your home. The lower the HERS Index – the better.
Jack Haymes is one of our RREA agents and he has the National Association of Realtors Green Designation so we have talked at length about this. A new home with the Energy Star designation may only have a HERS Index of 85 or less. You can ask what the averages are for homes in your area.
The second is Air Changes Per Hour (ACH). This will tell you how many times an hour the heated and cooled air in your home is being replaced with outdoor air.
In this test, the higher the ACH, the more energy you’ll need to heat and cool your home. Make sure you have the company that does your energy audit explain all of this to you and how it pertains to your home because different areas of the country have different results. The ACH number is usually higher during the winter months and lower in the summer months. Believe it or not, depending on what your walls are made of, you could be losing heating in the winter and air conditioned air in the summer.
Some of the improvement that I have seen come from an Energy Audit are:
1. Adding Insulation to the home
2. Replacing windows with double pane and vinyl
3. Blowers in the attic
4. Caulking holes
You can pick and choose which things you want to improve in your home. If you are going to sell soon, it might not be worth the energy savings to replace appliances and other large ticket items. Sometimes there are tax credits available for making energy efficient changes.