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Hypothetical Remodel- The Energy Audit

December 17th, 2008 · 5 Comments · Green Houston Topics

Now that we know how to finance a Green Remodel or a Home to Remodel Green, we need to see how we go about Greening up this home.  The example used was:

  • 2300 sq ft home
  • Built around 1959 or so
  • Cosmetic upgrades have been made and windows replaced to Double Pane

One of the goals on this one is to, in the end, reduce the Energy Usage of this home by 50%– In order to do that we have to know exactly how the home is performing and the easiest and most accurate way to do that is through an Energy Audit.  There are a handful of different kinds of audits that can be performed- The most common being a Visual Inspection with Thermography.  The Infrared Camera can detect Heat, Moisture, Cool Air, etc.  In other words, it can see behind sheetrock and ceilings what we can not. Now, keep in mind that we used an actual home for this experiment where Alternative Power Solutions went out to perform an actual Energy Audit for us.  During the audit, this is what they looked at:

  • Level of Insulation in both the walls and attic
  • Size and Efficiency of the Heat and A/C
  • Made sure that the Double Pane windows were the proper ones for the Southern Region
  • Scanned over vents and lighting for air leaks
  • Visual on other areas that promote Air to leak or otherwise be where it probably shouldn’t

Here are a couple of the pictures taken:

Infrared pic of canned lightsInfrared pic around air register

In the one picture we can see the Canned Light in the Ceiling.  With the discoloration around it, we see that the insulation in the attic above the ceiling is inconsistent which can sometimes cause some rooms to be hotter or colder than others.  Something else to consider about Canned Lights is that other than the newer Energy Star ones they do not seal at the ceiling allowing for hot air from the attic to infiltrate to the living space below. The next picture shows inconsistent insulation in the ceiling around an a/c and heat vent.  You will also notice the really dark area- this is air blowing.  It appears that there may be an issue here as well with air leaking from around the register.  Simple caulk around the top to seal it would work on that. After a good hour or longer of walking around the home and looking at everything that directly or indirectly affects Energy Efficiency there was a list of items in the home that would need some attention to achieve the goal of 50% reduction.

  • The HVAC system was over sized and should be updated to a higher efficiency
  • The Ductwork in the attic needed to be changed and upgraded
  • There was a need for added insulation in the attic
  • Radiant Barrier needed to be applied to the roof decking

All of this will be priced out along with the Master Bathroom Remodel to the USGBC/ASID ReGreen Guidelines so that it can all be rolled in with the original loan buying the home. Next part of the series we will discuss the Master Bathroom.  We will enlarge it from its current size and update it in the most Environmentally Responsible way possible.

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