It seems like this company spends a lot of time in our line of work talking about the importance of solar and other forms of renewable energy. At Missouri Sun Solar, we like to explain to customers, as well as the public, just how much money they can save and benefit from investing in a solar installation for a home or business. One area that gets overlooked by homeowners is just how energy efficient their home is. This can be a critical step in deciding to go solar. One reason this is such an integral part of the solar process is that by ensuring that your home is as energy efficient as possible, it can save you thousands of dollars on the size of the solar installation that your home would need.
So what Does It Really Mean to Have an Energy Efficient Home?
It seems sometimes people think that having an energy efficient home means that they have to have an unrealistic budget and use all green materials in the construction of their future home. The reality is that you do not have to build a brand new home, use all green materials, or even break the bank to have a more energy-efficient home. If an energy audit is conducted by a qualified energy auditor, they can save you up to twenty to thirty percent on your home’s current usage just by making some minor changes. Some of the primary objectives of an energy efficiency audit are to see places that do not maintain temperature, places that have drafts, as well as proper and sufficient insulation in areas that are commonly missed during construction.
A lot of people even make the mistake of assuming that just because their home is newer, or even built within the last 10-15 years, that it is up to par in energy efficiency standards. Statistic show that homes that were built in 2000 and later only use 2% more energy, even though they on average run 30% larger in size. (Residential Energy Consumption Survey) This, however, does not mean that improvements could still not be made. Having an energy-efficient home means having to rely on less solar energy, or even a significant decrease in electric bills for those who do not have solar. Money, or the dependency on less renewable energy, are not the only benefits of having an efficient home. Other benefits include a quieter home, better air quality indoors, fewer problems with pests and insects, less maintenance, and, most importantly to most of us, comfort. These benefits by far will always outweigh the cost associated with making the upgrades to achieve energy efficiency status.
How Do I Decide Who to Hire?
Now that the importance has been addressed, how do you find an energy auditor, or know what qualifications you should look for when trying to find one? Well, believe it or not, these certifications and minimum qualifications vary from state to state. While we will focus on Missouri certifications and standards, you can visit here for a complete list of other certifications, as well as find out specifics per state. A Certified Energy Auditor in Missouri should be certified by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources. In order to qualify for that certification, he/she would have had to have been certified by at least one of the following: BPI (Building Performance Institute), RESNET (Residential Energy Services Network), or trained by another approved program at the decision of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources. In addition, while not required, Certified Energy Auditors may also be a partner of the Missouri Home Performance with Energy Star program. A list of approved auditors in the Energy Star program can often be found on your electric company’s website.
Lastly, when deciding on an auditor, there are other questions that you should ask that should also play a big decision on who you decide hire for the job. Those questions should include the following:
- What will their audit consist of?
In regards to this question, a good energy assessment should consist of most if not all of these:
- Blower-door test
- Duct leakage Test
- Leakage assessment using blowers or an infrared camera
- A detailed report of the findings and plan of action on a solution
- Is the auditor also going to be the contractor for the proposed upgrades?
While you may have established that the energy auditor is qualified for that position, if they also serve as the contractor be sure to make sure they have the qualifications in that area as well. Another important aspect to remember when thinking about the contractor that will be doing the work is are they insured? This is important in make sure that all parties are covered in the event of an accident, should it occur on your property.
- Do you have references from previous jobs?
This is your home and your money, so wanting to verify that this person has a solid reputation is certainly within your rights. If they cannot provide you with any references, stop and consider the other information that has been presented to you and make an educated decision based off of that.
With residential customers making up around 22% of the energy consumption in the United States, being aware of your home’s energy efficiency is not only important for the environment, but your wallet as well. (U.S. Energy Information Administration).
If you would like to learn more about the new division of our company, Smart Energy Solutions, and the energy efficiency services we offer with solar, give us a call at 417-413-1786, or visit online at www.MissouriSunSolar.com.