Friday, July 18, 2008

Energy Audit: Easing Up to the Reality Check

This week I got an incredibly detailed analysis of my home’s energy failures from my energy auditor. Apart from the air infiltration rate (bad), he told us things we knew–that the insulation in the crawlspace under the kitchen was not working well and that overall it is a leaky house. He also told us things we didn’t know--like that we have a pretty inefficient air conditioning system. Most importantly, what I had asked for and what we got was a list of priorities and some description of how to go about addressing them. Since it’s an old house, NOTHING is easy to fix, but it was helpful to have an idea of where to start. I don’t yet have an estimate for fixing up our cold kitchen floor but that’s my priority, and luckily, it is our auditor’s priority, too.

He also had a number of suggestions about sealing our air conditioning duct connections, attic insulation, and hard-to-reach closet spaces. Interestingly, replacing the fridge and the air conditioning system with energy efficient models were pretty low on the list. Now, the question is: how much will it cost to make some progress on the list? Stay tuned.

1 comment:

The Athens Project said...

What are some of the restrictions you face given the historical nature of your home?

One thing I'd love to see is some type of assistance or incentive for people to install ceiling fans. They provide comfort at higher temperatures and air conditioning is one of the top energy uses at peak demand times and a leading cause of brownouts. Virtually no new homes include them despite their low cost and high return on investment.

Another high return investment in energy efficiency is attic insulation. 9 inches of insulation should really be the minimum and I discovered my own home had only 4.

Attic fans can also reduce demands on air conditioning systems so that less heat can get through those 9 inches. Condo regulations can make attic fan installation troublesome and some relief for those that wish to live green is worth investigation.

There are currently efforts to restrain condo boards from stopping people from installing solar panels. The effort was defeated last year and a precedent at the county level might help grease the wheels. Councilman Leventhal was interested until we thought a state measure would make such a law redundant. Perhaps a county level law might be instrumental in giving green technology a boost.