Archive for February, 2011
Then came the snow. Then came proof that you or your neighbors are heating the great outdoors. Heat rises. This is something we’ve all been told from the time we were little. To a large extent this is true. I say that to say this. Want proof that all homes are not insulated equally? The proof is in the roof, or at least in the snow that is or isn’t on the roof. A home that has a perfect blanket of snow on it, then one right next to it that has snow in only certain spots or none at all. See where i’m going with this, remember “heat rises”. Its your homes insulation’s job along with the proper air seal, to keep the warm air you pay to generate and pump into your home, in your home where you want it at. Not floating out the roof and melting the snow. See for yourself.
STEP 1- OCCUPANT INTERVIEW: This is a chance for the technician to get the building occupant/s involved from the beginning. Here the technician will explain the audit process, identify any occupant concerns or comfort issues, and begin the establishment of a trust relationship. Future sales are made or lost during the first few minutes of this interaction.
The technician will find out how many total occupants there are as well as establish appliance utilization for ventilation. Building ventilation rates are based on industry standards for the number of occupants, the size of the building and an allowable lower limit.
The technician should inquire about the structural integrity of the building. excessive moisture from internal and external sources has the ability to weaken the structural integrity of building materials and to cause unpleasant odors and health concerns for the occupants.
The technician will also inquire about how the occupant uses the building and its systems. How many hours a day are each space occupied? What are the thermostat settings, is the thermostat itself programmable and if so is it program to setback when the occupants aren’t using the building or sleeping? Is there supplemental heating and cooling used, if so why? Is there an adequate return air system allowed to operate in the home? Are there smokers present in the building, if so do they smoke indoors?
The last major thing the technician should do during the occupant interview is collect a billing and usage history from the occupant in the form of utility bills. This will help giving accurate assessment of payback from recommended upgrades. At least a years history is recommended if available.
This is a good picture of what should take place in the occupant interview step of the energy audit process. It will vary on a case by case bases and each auditor/technician will have their own process, but the basic information gathered should be the same.
Building (Home)Performance Contracting is more that just energy efficiency! It links building science with performance testing to create homes that are comfortable, durable, healthy, safe and cost-effective to operate. The basic idea is that all parts in a building are connected as a “whole house system”, where comfort and performance change based on indoor and outdoor conditions and on occupant activities. As homes became tighter and the equipment more complicated, it often takes skilled detective work and special diagnostic equipment to really determine what is happening in a house or whether your work has solved the problem.