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Thread: Hers Audit

  1. #1
    mathew stouffer's Avatar
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    Default Hers Audit

    Does anyone have any info on Hers audit; training, equipement needed, pay rate, volume ect...

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    Default Re: Hers Audit

    Quote Originally Posted by mathew stouffer View Post
    Does anyone have any info on Hers audit; training, equipement needed, pay rate, volume ect...
    From what I have heard, the only folks who are making any money on RESENT and HERS are the ones who do the training and sell the equipment.

    I was an energy rater back in the early 90's and the pay just was not enough to justify the equipment and time you invest into an audit.

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

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    Default Re: Hers Audit

    I agree with Scott. I too have been in and out of the energy auditing biz and never found it to be particularly profitable.

    Having said that, the times are ever changing and there is plenty of talk regarding mandatory energy audits in all of our futures. I think it would be wise to keep a eye on this trend.

    Just an example of where we are all likely heading...
    Mandatory Austin TX Energy Audits Begin June 1, 2009


  4. #4
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    Default Re: Hers Audit

    Quote Originally Posted by Phillip Stojanik View Post
    Just an example of where we are all likely heading...
    Mandatory Austin TX Energy Audits Begin June 1, 2009
    Was this implemented, and is it being enforced?


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    Default Re: Hers Audit

    I did my HERS rater training at KBSI (Kansas Building Science Institute). I would recommend them. Their web site is KBSI Rater

    HERS rater training will cost you about $1300 plus travel expenses. You will need a blower door and a duct blaster and that will set you back about another $5000. Naturally, there are additional tools that you need or want.

    Once you have passed the RESNET (Residential Energy Services Network) exam and completed your probationary ratings you will need to sign up with a provider. Depending on who you use that will cost you $300 a year (or more) and possibly some additional start-up fees (e.g., $450 for one provider's proprietary software).

    By the way, it is called a 'HERS Rating'. HERS stands for 'Home Energy Rating System'. The HERS rater is an independent third party who rates the house in a standard manner and the results should be reproducible. In other words, a HERS rater provides a score for the house and different HERS raters should come up with pretty much the same rating for the same house.

    An energy audit, on the other hand, is much more loosely defined. An energy audit can be any of a number of different things depending on who you talk to. An energy audit might be performed by an independent third party or it may be performed by a party who stands to gain from the results (e.g., an HVAC contractor, a window salesman, an insulation contractor, a weatherization contractor, etc.). The depth of an energy audit may vary significantly from one auditor to another. The energy audit may be quantitative (e.g., including blower door and duct blaster results and energy modeling) or it may be entirely qualtitative. The results may or may not be reproducible.

    "Baseball is like church. Many attend but few understand." Leo Durocher
    Bruce Breedlove
    www.avaloninspection.com

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    Default Re: Hers Audit

    Here's a couple of links to check out.

    RESNET

    Welcome | Southface

    Southface is where I took my training a few years ago, if you're going to make that type of an investment go ahead and drop the cash on a thermal imager and training for it.
    It's hard to beat a blower door and TI as a dog and pony show for a client.

    Might want to relabel your services if you plan on doing this.
    The term energy audit has been so badly misrepresented by utility companies telling people to replace light bulbs and shower heads that it has a stigma attached to it.

    I've been calling any audits on existing homes and buildings home performance evaluations. Just a little fancier and a tad more professional sounding IMO.

    Measured Performance more than just a buzzword

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Hers Audit

    This is so much hogwash. I had Sunny-Side-Up Energy & Conservation Co. back in 1980. Actually, the best investment back then was the latex covers that went behind electrical wall outlets in uninsulated outside walls. Can anyone remember what a degree-day was?


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    Default Re: Hers Audit

    Quote Originally Posted by Philip View Post
    This is so much hogwash. I had Sunny-Side-Up Energy & Conservation Co. back in 1980.
    Philip,

    What is "hogwash"?

    So you were doing energy audits 30 years ago? That's great. Are you still doing them?

    Quote Originally Posted by Philip View Post
    Actually, the best investment back then was the latex covers that went behind electrical wall outlets in uninsulated outside walls.
    Our understanding of building performance and energy efficiency has come a LONG way in the last 30 years. Remember Jimmy Carter's solution to the energy crisis? Put on a sweater, turn down the thermostat and turn off the lights. There are so many better solutions today.

    (Coverplate gaskets also work well on insulated exterior walls and interior walls - anywhere there is air leakage at the box.)

    Quote Originally Posted by Philip View Post
    Can anyone remember what a degree-day was?
    Yes, I do. I'm not sure if you are looking for the answer or not. If not stop reading here.

    Heating degree days (HDDs) for a particular day is defined as the difference between a base temperature (usually 65 degrees F) where no heating is needed and the average temperature for that day. Suppose the high and low temperatures on February 1 were 50 degrees F and 20 degrees F respectively. The average temperature that day was 35 degrees. Subtract the average temperature (35) from the base temperature (65) and you have 30 HDDs for that particular day. Add up all the HDDs during the heating season and you have the total HDDs for that location.

    Similarly cooling degree days (CDDs) for a particular day is defined as the difference between a base temperature (usually 65 degrees F) where no cooling is needed and the average temperature for that day. Add up all the CDDs during the cooling season and you have the total CDDs for that location.

    "Baseball is like church. Many attend but few understand." Leo Durocher
    Bruce Breedlove
    www.avaloninspection.com

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    Talking Re: Hers Audit

    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce Breedlove View Post
    Philip,

    What is "hogwash"?

    Our understanding of building performance and energy efficiency has come a LONG way in the last 30 years. Remember Jimmy Carter's solution to the energy crisis? Put on a sweater, turn down the thermostat and turn off the lights. There are so many better solutions today.

    (Coverplate gaskets also work well on insulated exterior walls and interior walls - anywhere there is air leakage at the box.)

    Yes, I do. I'm not sure if you are looking for the answer or not. If not stop reading here.

    Heating degree days (HDDs) for a particular day is defined as the difference between a base temperature (usually 65 degrees F) where no heating is needed and the average temperature for that day. Suppose the high and low temperatures on February 1 were 50 degrees F and 20 degrees F respectively. The average temperature that day was 35 degrees. Subtract the average temperature (35) from the base temperature (65) and you have 30 HDDs for that particular day. Add up all the HDDs during the heating season and you have the total HDDs for that location.

    Similarly cooling degree days (CDDs) for a particular day is defined as the difference between a base temperature (usually 65 degrees F) where no cooling is needed and the average temperature for that day. Add up all the CDDs during the cooling season and you have the total CDDs for that location.

    I tend to agree with the hogwash theory. Why? The energy audit, or whatever you like to call it nowadays, is generally useless. Through the years we have been bombarded with news articles, sales at the big box stores, and other intrusions to a point that most homes are now "energy efficient". Our local gas company wants a energy audit on newly built homes, 8 years (age of my house) as an example, before I can participate in the special furnace replace program. Of course they will find something---but is it that important to completely seal the home in an envelope?

    If you can remember the first oil crisis, we were bombarded with all kinds of devices to save energy, yes even the foam squares for the back of the switch plates. And if you installed all these devices your would have a unhealthy home. Emissions from cooking, washing, all the aromas in cleaners, and emissions from construction materials would be trapped in the home. What happened to air changes to keep a healthy home?

    Having reached this point it was realized there was an issue, so someone came up with a solution---install a device to make air changes in the home to keep it healthy. But it doesn't reclaim all the heat/cold, so you have to make it up. Back to where you were before before you had all these $$$ energy savings changes. Go figure.




  10. #10
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    Wink Re: Hers Audit

    Time was you could make a few changes and the utilities would be sending you a check. I have said this before, and someone pointed out there is no correlation between the incidence of asthma and the buttoning up of dwellings, but if you look at the increase of respiratory ailments you will find a graph that fairly much coincides with energy efficiency. There was a air-to-air heat exchanger used in Sweden to bring fresh air into the house, but it did not catch on in USA.
    Hog farmers do not wash their hogs so you can not buy hogwash at the Farmer's Supply.
    And thanks, I really could not remember how a degree-day worked.


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    Default Re: Hers Audit

    [QUOTE=Bruce Breedlove;131575]Philip,

    Our understanding of building performance and energy efficiency has come a LONG way in the last 30 years. Remember Jimmy Carter's solution to the energy crisis? Put on a sweater, turn down the thermostat and turn off the lights. There are so many better solutions today.


    I'd like to point out that whatever improvements have happened, what Jimmy Carter said was true then and remains true today.

    The only reason some people get lost in thought is because it's unfamiliar territory.
    - Paul Fix

  12. #12
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    Unhappy Re: Hers Audit

    Carter's message was get off foreign oil or have your sons die in the Middle East. Interest rates shot up to a bank loan was twenty-one per cent interest. Regan became Pres and we went from gas lines to all the quick food places opening up drive-up windows where long lines of idling cars waited for their hamburgers.


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    Default Re: Hers Audit

    Quote Originally Posted by Rich Goeken View Post
    The energy audit, or whatever you like to call it nowadays, is generally useless.
    How so? Is it useless information to know where and how much air your house leaks? Where you are missing insulation? Where your insulation is under-performing (or not performing at all)? Where you are wasting energy with inefficient appliances? Is it useless information to have a prioritized list of energy improvements for your house? Is it useless information to know how much your utility bill will drop by making energy improvements so you can calculate your ROI (Return On Investment)?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rich Goeken View Post
    . . . but is it that important to completely seal the home in an envelope?
    Air sealing the building envelope and sealing the building in an envelope are two different things.

    Why would you not want to reduce air leakage in your home? Air leakage = energy loss and energy loss = wasted money.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rich Goeken View Post
    . . . And if you installed all these devices your would have a unhealthy home. Emissions from cooking, washing, all the aromas in cleaners, and emissions from construction materials would be trapped in the home. What happened to air changes to keep a healthy home?
    If you want a very leaky house to maintain good IAQ (Indoor Air Quality) that is fine but it will come at a cost (in higher utility bills). It is possible to have a tight house (and lower utility bills) and maintain good IAQ. And it is not that difficult (if you keep an open mind).

    First you calculate the BAS (Building Airflow Standard) for the house. BPI uses ASHRAE 62-1989 and RESNET uses ASHRAE 62.2. Both methods calculate the minimum airflow needed to maintain good IAQ based on the size of the house and the number of occupants. The units are CFM.

    Next you measure the air leakage (in CFM) of the house using a blower door.

    If the natural air leakage of the house is higher than the minimum BAS you do not need to do anything. If the natural air leakage of the house is lower than the minimum BAS (i.e., the house is tight) you will need to bring in fresh outside air. The amount of fresh outside air you need to bring in is the difference between the natural air leakage and the minimum BAS.

    This way you can have a tight, efficient home AND a healthy home.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rich Goeken View Post
    Having reached this point it was realized there was an issue, so someone came up with a solution---install a device to make air changes in the home to keep it healthy. But it doesn't reclaim all the heat/cold, so you have to make it up. Back to where you were before before you had all these $$$ energy savings changes. Go figure.
    Quote Originally Posted by Philip View Post
    There was a air-to-air heat exchanger used in Sweden to bring fresh air into the house, but it did not catch on in USA.
    That would be interesting if it were true.

    The fact is there are devices avalable today at any HVAC supply house or big box store. They are called HRVs and ERVs. A HRV is a Heat Recovery Ventilator and an ERV is an Energy Recovery Ventilator. Very simply, each device is a heat exchanger with two blowers and duct systems that supply ventilation and recover the heat from the air being exchanged. Fresh air in = stale air out so the house does not become pressurized or depressurized. On a cold day with the house heated the cold outside air being brought into the house picks up heat from the warm inside air being exhausted. This "heat recovery" occurs at the heat exchanger. (An ERV also recovers moisture so, for example, you don't bring a lot of moisture into the house with the humid outside air.)

    Do HRVs and ERVs "reclaim all the heat/cold"? No. They are not 100% efficient. Most are around 80% efficient. That's pretty darn good in my book.

    HRVs and ERVs are not cheap but they can (and do) pay for themselves over time. They need not operate constantly (unless the house needs constant ventilation). They can be set to run on timers to provide the needed volume of fresh air every hour.

    Cheaper alternatives also exist. You can run a bathroom exhaust fan for fresh air ventilation. The fan exhausts a certain CFM and that amount of air is drawn into the house through existing air leakage pathways. (That might be from the crawlspace, attic or wall cavities.) Or you can install an intake fan to draw fresh air from outside. These fans, too, can be set on timers.

    So, it is possible to have a house that is both tight and healthy.

    "Baseball is like church. Many attend but few understand." Leo Durocher
    Bruce Breedlove
    www.avaloninspection.com

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Hers Audit

    Mathew,

    I am a HERS Rater, a HERS Rater Trainer and a BPI Building Analyst. HERS training is about $1400 plus about $4500 in equipment. HERS Rater certification allows you to do Energy Star Certifications on new construction. I have earned enough over the last 1 1/2 years to double the amount it cost me to get my HERS Rater training and equipment. Energy Star certs are good - energy audits (at least in South Texas) are not money makers. If you get your HERS Rater cert this year there is a mandatory 2 day training course coming next year. It might be better to wait.

    BPI is the other certification. If the Home Star legislation passes the Senate it will put alot of federal money into the energy field.

    I do teach a combined RESNET/BPI course for about $2000 but do not plan on getting to Utah!

    If you have any more questions send me an email or call.


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    Default Re: Hers Audit

    Quote Originally Posted by Thom Walker View Post
    I'd like to point out that whatever improvements have happened, what Jimmy Carter said was true then and remains true today.
    For the record, during winter I keep my thermostat low, I put on a sweatshirt and I turn off lights when I am not using them.

    My point was that there are additional steps that can be taken to conserve energy (most without sacrificing comfort) beyond Jimmy Carter's methods.

    "Baseball is like church. Many attend but few understand." Leo Durocher
    Bruce Breedlove
    www.avaloninspection.com

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    Default Re: Hers Audit

    Back the orginal post...

    What is the going fee for an energy survey with a bower door, duct blaster, etc on a 2000sf home?

    How long does it take to do the evaluation?

    How long does it take to write the report?

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

  17. #17
    Philip's Avatar
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    Red face Re: Hers Audit

    All I can see is people making money on common sense. And I hate to see that, especially with government encouragement. If you are a couple of decades old looking at houses, or forty stories buildings for that matter, it does not take thousands of dollars of equipment to see where the energy is lost. This is plowed ground folks. I have come to the conclusion that we were just healthier people when the outdoors were most part of our indoors.


  18. #18
    Philip's Avatar
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    Red face Re: Hers Audit

    All I can see is people making money on common sense. And I hate to see that, especially with government encouragement. If you are a couple of decades old looking at houses, or forty stories buildings for that matter, it does not take thousands of dollars of equipment to see where the energy is lost. This is plowed ground folks. I have come to the conclusion that we were just healthier people when the outdoors were most a part of our indoors.


  19. #19
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    Default Re: Hers Audit

    Re: Hers Audit
    Back the orginal post...

    What is the going fee for an energy survey with a bower door, duct blaster, etc on a 2000sf home?

    How long does it take to do the evaluation?

    How long does it take to write the report?
    __________________
    Scott,

    In Houston the average price for Blower door test is 150.00 and the time frame for the test is usually an hour. It depends if the auditor is looking for leaks in the envelope.


  20. #20
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
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    Default Re: Hers Audit

    I met an Inspector in a class last week that started as an inspector and could not break into the ranks on inspectors lining up at the realtor doors.

    He does not have his HERS Rater but he did get training for doing energy audits for anElectric supplier, one of the energy companies. Needless to say there are many electric suppliers today. He does the inspection, duct blaster, door blower tests and then determines the homes needs. He gets paid directly from Energy supplier. He gets paid on the amount of Kilowatts he saves the client. Maybe some insulation. Seals the HVAC system up, adds some door sweeps, caulks some windows and averages about low 2000s per job at 2 if not three jobs a day six days a week. It is seasonal. Late fall and winter months does not have much going on other than picking up inspections here and there.

    Regular equipment, an insulation blower, used U-haul truck....maybe 30,000 later for all said and done which in a few weeks in the on season is paid for.

    Lots of ways to be in the energy business. The energy company pays everything for the kw savings, not the home owner.


  21. #21
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    Default Re: Hers Audit

    Understand the market for a HERS rating and an energy audit. HERS is used for new construction to qualify a home for energ star. More and more homes are being built to energy star standards. Your local utility may know how many energy star homes were built in your area last year. You can compare that to the number of raters.

    An audit is a very broad term. It covers everything from a check list done by a homeowner to full blown testing and everything in between. Most people are not willing to pay $400-$500 for a report. Then the question becomes how can you offer the services for less and still make money. You could set up a network of providers that will do the work right and get a referral fee. Bascially you have screened service providers so that becomes a selling point. The provders get qualified leads for which they will pay you a fee. You provide low cost audits and help people fix thier homes.

    In talking to a local utility that does low cost audits I found that they handed the owner a copy of the report. It then became up to the owner to find contractors to do the work. How many of those had the work done is one question. For those that hired someone to do the work, was it done correctly?


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