Do You Need an Energy Consultant?
Is your home leaky, drafty, and uncomfortable to be in?
Is it expensive to heat your home in the winter time?
Are you looking to build a home that the utility costs are lower then average
Would you like to participate in Energy Star Homes or LEED for Homes?
Are you looking to create a sustainability plan for your home to get off fossel fuel consumption?
Are you looking to build a Net Zero or Passive House?
Why You Should Hire an Energy Consultant
Hiring an energy consultant to help you assess your home, save you energy, and make you feel more comfortable in your space may be the best money you have ever spent. You will benefit from the expertise of someone trained to solve problems, offer creative solutions to your energy needs, and maintain a safe indoor environment for you and your family. Hiring an energy consultant who is trained to maximize savings, prioritize investments, and identify problem areas in your home is money well spent. If you are building a new home hiring an energy consultant or Architect with an energy consulting background during the initial design phase can save you a significant amount of money. They are able to leverage financing options through Energy Efficient Mortgages allowing you to increase your buying power without increasing your debt to income ratio. Even if you are not looking to procure an Energy Efficient Mortgage, hiring an energy consultant to help you during the course of design and construction will make your home more affordable and comfortable to live in. It is always easier to build it more efficient from the start, than try to retrofit the project after completion.
Having an energy evaluation done on your home can be the best money you spend if you live in a primary heating climate – defined as zones 6 and 7 in the International Energy Conservation Code. However, having an energy audit done anywhere in the world will save you time, money, and resources. Emily Mottram is a trained energy auditor specializing in energy efficient upgrades to the existing housing stock. All to often, when homes are built, insulation is an afterthought, whether you own a fairly new home or a home built in the 1800’s. Contrary to popular belief, homes do not need to breath, but the inhabitants that live inside them do, and a good energy consultant will be able to provide you with a detailed list of energy upgrades and savings. A critical part of the energy evaluation is leaving the homeowner with healthy indoor air quality and measures that will do no harm to you, your family, or your home. Every energy auditor should have the skills necessary to leave you safe and happy after a home energy project is complete. These days, with the energy costs soaring, homeowners have to decide whether to put more fuel in the tank to heat their homes or add some energy saving measures. It has become crucial to tighten things up, air seal, insulate, and weatherize.
If you are a homeowner or small business owner who is looking to reduce their fossil fuel consumption, or take advantage of a state or federal rebate program, a sustainability planner may be just what you need. Sustainability planners help to provide a plan to reduce consumption over a period of time to maintain the cost effectiveness of your operation, help you slowly introduce more sustainable or renewable options, or help you get off of fossil fuels altogether.
EEM’s recognize that the improved energy efficiency of the house can increase it’s affordability by reducing operating costs. It allows the borrower to finance 100% of the expense of a cost effective energy package (property improvements based on energy efficiency: insulation, air sealing, heating systems, etc) To be cost effective, the package, including maintenance of the installed measures, is less than the present value of the energy saved over the useful life of the improvements. In order to qualify for an EEM, the borrower must conduct a HERS Rating by an independent rater not associated with the borrower or seller of the home. The rater then will put together a package of improvements that is approved by the homeowner and submitted to the lender. Participating in the EEM program allows the borrower to increase their borrowing power without increasing their debt to income ratio. If a homeowner is purchasing a home with these upgrades already provided, an EEM will allow them to extend their borrowing power on the basis that the energy improvements will make the home more cost effective to live in, there by lowering their monthly expenses.
HERS Raters are becoming an integral part of the new construction industry, as well as, the mortgage market. HERS Ratings are used in LEED for Homes, Energy Star, and other building rating systems. HERS Ratings can also be used to benchmark your home, similar to miles per gallon. A HERS Rating can tell you, based on the average home with similar characteristics, how well your home performs. As energy efficiency becomes a bigger part of our lives HERS Ratings will also become more mainstream in the home buying community. You rarely buy a car without looking at the MPG rating, why buy a house without knowing the costs. Mottram Architecture can guide you through the process of having a HERS Ratings or Energy Efficient Mortgages completed.
What Do I Need To Know When I’m Selecting an Energy Consultant
Not all Energy Consultants are created equal. You should always hire an energy consultant with a credential or certification. Some of the certifications that are available are HERS Raters who provide support for both LEED and ENERGY STAR. Green Raters who provide support for LEED. Building Performance Institute (BPI) Building Analysts and Energy Engineers who are typically licensed Professional Engineers.
When you are hiring an energy consultant to evaluate your existing home you should verify that the Consultant is able to do Combustion Appliance Zone testing and understands the ASHRAE 62.2 ventilation requirements for healthy indoor air quality. Energy Auditors either work as independent consultants or with a contracting company that can also do the work. They are trained to prioritize a list of measures for your specific home to save you energy and money. Be aware that some energy companies are out to sell you a product or provide a cookie cutter audit that they apply to all homes. Your home is unique and you should hire an energy consultant who will take the time to understand your home, your needs, your budget and then make the necessary recommendations to meet all of your requirements.
If you have chosen to build a new home and you are interested in meeting design standards provided by LEED, ENERGY STAR, Passive House, or another rating system, it will be important for you to hire an energy consultant at the beginning of the design phase as it is often important and may net you additional points in your rating system by collecting a team of individuals to help you produce an integrated design project.
Just like hiring an Architect, Energy Consultants tend to excel in one area of study – existing buildings, commercial, multi-family, sustainability planning, new construction, or resource planning. Hire an energy consultant that meets the needs and expectations of your project and you will be surprised at their skill and knowledge.