Energy Audit

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ENERGY AUDIT SERVICES, TIGHT CONSTRUCTION AND INSULATION

Energy Audit

Forde Hybrid home combines building science, savings and comfort. Call us today at (608) 518 6985 to set up your free appointment.


Increasing community awareness of energy auditing

Many of our homes were built at the time when energy was cheap, materials and skills were sufficient and people didn’t have knowledge about energy conservation and efficiency. Before the industrial revolution people were using wood fire to heat their homes and burning oil/gas lamps or candles was source of night light. Since Tomas Edison came up with great invention of incandescent light bulb, things started to change fast. Power stations started to be built first on the east coast and then later spread all over the country forming big connected electrical network.  At the moment the United States represent about 5% of the world’s population and consumes 25% of the world’s energy supply, where 40% of total energy used in US comes from residential buildings. This comes to up to 10 % of world’s everyday energy is used by Americans living their normal live. We can narrow this down to different to specific categories; energy consumed for electronics 5%, lightning 10%, water heating 15%, appliances 15% and finally heating and air conditioning 55%. From the point of view of environmental protection and sustainable development would be the ideal building such a buildings, which would be minimally responsible for the deterioration of the Environment. On the other hand, it is impossible to completely eliminate the negative impact of the construction and use of the building on the environment.



The question then arises ‐ what is the measure of this interaction? Is there a methodology that would determine the type of building impact on the environment? Is it possible to measure the intensity of this influence? The life cycle of a residential building in the US estimated at approx. 100 years. This gives you an idea of the scale of impact on the environment and also shows that it would be advisable to start work on the development of appropriate rules to ensure an acceptable level of impact. On the other hand, such guidelines should be developed design buildings that will ensure not to exceed the acceptable level of impact. This would define the limits of individual impacts.



The hotel building is an object technically less complicated than, for example. Power plant, for which there is an obligation to perform estimate the impact on the environment. In the case of power process technology is stable and well defined, while the impact of the building depends on a number which cannot be accurately determined, external factors, such as climate, utility function, the behavior of citizens, etc. In the 90s we developed a number of different assessment methods, among which the most famous is the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) and is an independent, third party verification rating system that provides standardization and oversight for environmental performance designed for new and existing commercial and residential buildings. This program focuses on five key areas including sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection and indoor environmental quality. LEED was encouraged by the desire to develop a U.S. type of the U.K.’s Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method, or (BREEAM). In the UK it is used to assess approximately 20% of newly constructed office buildings, mainly due to the requirements of investors or companies renting these objects.



Bulding the Home Profile

Bluffview Energy Auditor will begin by meeting with you to discuss your personal home concerns, such as drafts, mold or moisture buildup, ice dams, and high energy bills. They will then explain the process of performing a home energy audit and answer any questions you have. 



Test Results

Visual inspection of your living space, attic, basement, or crawl space.

Blower door test to measure air tightness.

Combustion safety test to ensure mechanicals such as furnace and water heater are operating correctly.

Infrared camera scan to identify air leaks and lack of insulation in walls



Detailed Report

Bluffview Energy Auditor will review your customized energy report with you, tell you about the available financial incentives, and help you prioritize which projects to move forward with. They will then connect you with qualified contractors, and later post-test your home to ensure everything is performing correctly. When the project is complete, you’ll sign a Certificate of Completion.









BUILDING SCIENCE

The field of building science has seen major advances over the past few decades as manufactures, designers, architects, engineers, researches and builders better understanding the interaction between the various parts of buildings. Building science combines scientific knowledge and experience with a focus on the analysis and control of the factors affecting buildings and architecture. The goal is to create durable homes that operate in a safe, comfortable ad efficient manner.



HOME PERFORMANCE TESTING

Home performance testing involves scientifically testing your house to determine how it is performing and to identify any opportunities for improvement. Our specialty is finding the solution to your unique comfort, air quality, moisture or energy waste problems. Just like the body your home functions as a system and we use scientific test to diagnose the problem and determine the best ways to move forward and help you save money. An important premium you get by working with BluffView Development Group in third party independence. We are not paid to sell you specific solutions, so you can rest assured that you are getting sound advice. We use pressure testing, infrared thermography and fog testing to help diagnose the problem and make recommendations of where to spend your money to get the biggest return on your investment. There are two main systems we will be testing during your home performance test, the envelop and the HVAC. The envelop is tested using blower door which evaluates the air tightness of the house and the insulation. The HVAC system is like the engine that runs the house. We want to know how much air moves through the HVAC system. The HVAC is tested using pressure dust tester to determine the air flow and tightness.



USING ENERGY WISELY

Living in the Midwest means our houses have to withstand cold winters and hot summers. According to the US Department of Energy the average Wisconsin family can save up to 30% on their energy consumption by making simple improvements to their home. These improvements can lower your monthly utility bills, protect your home from moister and improve air quality.
Descreasing energy consumption can also reduce environmental impacts by lowering carbon dioxide emissions and other greenhouse gasses.



THE BENEFITS OF A HOME ENERGY AUDIT

Both new and old homes alike have opportunity for improvement. Energy auditing provides you with information tailored specifically for what your unique home actually needs. Performance testing before and after the work is done is the only way to prove you’re gotten what you paid for. When many of our homes were built little attention was paid to energy conservation and little was understood about insulation and air leakage. With rising costs of energy and more awareness of environmental concerns research has deepened our understanding of building science. By having an energy audit performed on your house you may see substantial reduction in your energy usage though conservation and efficiency improvements. Often times the improvements you make on your house will save enough money to pay for the initial investment in just a few years or sooner.



  • WHERE SHOULD I START?
  • WHEN SHOULD YOU HAVE AN ENERGY ASSESSMENT
  • ENERGY ASSESSMENT: HOW YOUR HOUSE WORK
  • BUILDING AIR TIGHTNESS TEST
  • COMMON AIR LEAKGAGE AREAS
  • IMPORTANCE OF AIR SEALING
  • COMBUTIONS SAFETY TEST
WHERE SHOULD I START?

If you have decide that you want to make some home improvements to increase the efficiency of your house start by having a certified energy auditor perform a home energy assessment. This assessment will tell you how your home is functioning and can help you decide what needs fixing, what needs upgrading and what needs replacing. Using scientific methods to diagnose the exact problem you can  make an informed decision about how to invest your money. Once improvements have been applied it is recommenced to have a follow-up inspection to verify the estimated energy savings.

WHEN SHOULD YOU HAVE AN ENERGY ASSESSMENT

New and old homes can benefit form a home energy assessment, which analyses the operation and interactions of the various systems and equipment in your home. Having a professional diagnosis can help solve complicated problems and help you save time, energy and money. Consider having an energy assessment before replacing equipment such as a furnace, boiler, water heater, ventilation, air conditioner, windows, doors or siding.
This assessment will also help detect any air leakage or insulation issues. An energy auditor can help ensure your house has the properly sized appliances to help improve efficiency and lower your monthly energy bills. Understanding how your home is functioning can help determine choices about designs, methods, or equipment options. Pre and post construction testing can also be used to verify using scientific methods how effective the energy performance improvements were. Your home energy auditor will provide you with recommendations may include systematic or complex concerns such as excess moister (including condensation, mold, mildew, or leakage), uneven heating and cooling, drafts, ice dams, or high-energy bills. An energy assessment will highlight energy-saving improvements to help you reduce your utility bills and improve the health and comfort of your family.

ENERGY ASSESSMENT: HOW YOUR HOUSE WORK

A home energy assessor will evaluate the operation of your home by inspecting and measuring the performance of the building. At minimum several things should be included:
A blower door tat to determine air leakage rates
A review of energy bills to identify basic usage and identify opportunities for savings
A visual inspection for attic, wall, crawlspace, foundation, basement, windows, doors and roof problems
Infrared camera scans of walls, attic, and foundation to assess insulation levels and locate possible air leak sources.
Efficiency and safety testing for combustion appliances (like furnace, boiler, gas fireplaces, and water heaters)to ensure they operating properly and not contributing to indoor air concerns, many inspectors include some of these tests as part of a general home inspection, it is important to have all of the above test completed by trained and qualified energy assessor in order to determine the best approach to improving the energy performance a home.

BUILDING AIR TIGHTNESS TEST

A home energy assessor will evaluate the operation of your home by inspecting and measuring the performance of the building. At minimum several things should be included:
A blower door tat to determine air leakage rates
A review of energy bills to identify basic usage and identify opportunities for savings
A visual inspection for attic, wall, crawlspace, foundation, basement, windows, doors and roof problems
Infrared camera scans of walls, attic, and foundation to assess insulation levels and locate possible air leak sources.
Efficiency and safety testing for combustion appliances (like furnace, boiler, gas fireplaces, and water heaters)to ensure they operating properly and not contributing to indoor air concerns, many inspectors include some of these tests as part of a general home inspection, it is important to have all of the above test completed by trained and qualified energy assessor in order to determine the best approach to improving the energy performance a home.

COMMON AIR LEAKGAGE AREAS

Air infiltration is one the easiest forms of energy loss to correct. The process requires only a careful inspection of your home and some inexpensive weather-stripping. Most people know they should caulk and weather-strip around the exterior of their homes to protect your home from interior air can enter the walls
Most interior air can enter the walls and ceiling through cracks and holes and condensation buildup in those locations can damage or destroy insulation, wiring, wood or other build materials.
Before research and building science demonstrated the role air leaks play in energy loss, most people assumed that-ing. Although insulation slows heat transfer, it is easily conditions or convection currents within the building. The only way to stop this air movement – and the associated heat loss-is by eliminating the holes and pathways between the inside of the house and the outside.
The first step to tightening up your home’s envelope is performing a detailed inspection for air leaks, including an infrared camera scan. This should be part of very energy assessment, and the inspector should be able to show you locations where air is leaking and needs to be sealed. A good rule of thumb is to start by plugging holes and leaks in the attic; then move to exterior walls and look for smaller leaks around doors, windows and electrical switches and outlets; finally check out your basement.

IMPORTANCE OF AIR SEALING

Most existing homes have many unsealed penetrations into the attic for wires, chimneys, vents, etc.
Sealing will prevent heat loss and damage to building materials. Weather-strip the edge of the access hole and insulate the back of the attic hatch/door. Recessed light and bathroom fans can poke into the attic insulation and create pathway for air leak.

Most basements have multiply air leakage locations. Because of the physics of the stack-effect (causing warm air to rise), basements are a common source of cooler air leaking in through cracks or penetrations in the foundation or unsealed joints where floor framing rests on the foundation wall. Air then rises through holes around chimneys, vents, wires, and plumbing into the rest of the house.

COMBUTIONS SAFETY TEST

When the by-products of combustion are not properly vented to the outside, it can lead to unhealthy conditions. Among the most dangerous components is carbon monoxide CO, an odorless, invisible gas that causes illness and sometimes death – among many Wisconsin’s citizens every year. The symptoms of CO poisoning are easily confused with those of a flu or cold; headache, nausea, irritated eyes and nose, eventually confusion and lethargy. The physical symptoms may lessen when away from the home. Another clue is moister build-up in the house, especially condensation on cooler windows. They typically incorporate fans to assist the venting of exhausted gasses. Gas cooking appliances also produce carbon monoxide. Range hoods for gas stoves need to be vented to the exterior.

Appliances Furnace
CARBON MONOXIDE: 21 PPM, MAXIMUM SAFE PPM 25 PPM


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