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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
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    Minnesota
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    103

    Default Home Energy Audits

    Just curious how many of you guys are performing energy audits; and if you are performing them where did you go for training, and what type you use? For example : blower door and infared or just one, or do you do a visual inspection. Also, if you perform them how have you advertised? Local Newspaper as an ancillary service?

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  2. #2
    Bob Spermo's Avatar
    Bob Spermo Guest

    Default Re: Home Energy Audits

    Randy,

    I am a licensed (Texas) HI and I have just become a HERS Energy Rater. This certification enables me to issue a HERS Rating index for a new house and also to inspect and sign for an Energy Star Rating. When you do HERS and Energy Star analysis and inspections you have to be RESNET certified. To get certified you need to attend a week long class, pass a test, complete 3 probationary ratings and sign on with a HERS Rating Provider. I have already had builders that I do phase inspections for ask me to do their Energy Star workups. All HERS and Energy Star ratings require a blower door and duct blaster test. The training/cert is not cheap - $1500 and is given by a number of rater trainers. I took mine through KBSI.

    I have just advertised in the local newspaper that I will conduct an energy analysis on "your" existing home. I am going to include a blower door test but not a duct blaster test. With just the blower door I can get the duct leakage outside of conditioned space.

    I also took an energy audit course (2 days) as part of my HI continuing ed. It was minimal at best. No blower door or duct tests required. I did not feel that this energy audit was beneficial to the homeowner.

    I think the combination of a HI that specializes in new construction phase inspections and the Energy Rater certification is a great fit.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Philadelphia PA
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    3,177

    Default Re: Home Energy Audits

    I got classroom training from Home Energy Tune-uP® - A Leader in Residential Energy Efficiency , but never did any audits. The training was great, though, so it was worth it. Come to think of it, maybe it was free.
    They have a web-based reporting system.
    They were trying to sell the idea of an add-on to the home inspection, which doesn't make sense to me. A significant fraction of my inspections go south. Why would someone spend extra for an energy audit on a home they may not be purchasing?
    I could do them as stand-alone, but I don't think they pay well enough to take time away from home inspecting.


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Minnesota
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    Default Re: Home Energy Audits

    Bob, how much are you or people in your area charging for a home audit? What about the home builders? Was the equipment expensive and if you dont mind me asking who did you get it through? KBSI? Ive looked around the area and cant seem to find anyone who does RESNET certification.


  5. #5
    Randy Navarro's Avatar
    Randy Navarro Guest

    Default Re: Home Energy Audits

    I took the training through KBSI for HERS rating and RESNET certification.

    I did quite a bit of research and came to the conclusion they were one of the best.


  6. #6
    Bob Spermo's Avatar
    Bob Spermo Guest

    Default Re: Home Energy Audits

    First of all an energy audit and an RESNET energy rating/analysis are different entities. An audit can done by by almost anyone. It may not require any equipment. Many local utility companies will do one for no charge. It is basically a visual inspection and when done under Home Energy Pro requires some building measurements. I do not know of anyone that is doing audits except maybe window salesmen and HVAC salesmen. The HERS Energy Rater goes through more training and certification. You can go to RESNET: Residential Energy Services Network | Setting the Standard for Quality for all the info on how to become a rater.

    Costs - training about $1500 - travel/hotel at training - $700

    Equipment - 2 companies - energy conservatory | home and Retrotec Energy Innovations Ltd. : Home. I went with Retrotec for about $4300. I already have enough customers - one builder with 5 houses and another with 6 that are going to use me. A HERS Rating Index/Energy Star analysis (includes paper work - house diagram and Remrate computer report, 2 visits, and blower door and duct blaster tests. I charge $.20 a sq ft of living space. This is slightly below the going rate. My 11 houses average 4000 sq ft so I'll make about $8800 which will more than pay for my investment. Every Energy Star built requires the analysis of a RESNET certified energy rater.

    I thought a long time before attending training and even longer before buying the equipment but it appears that it is going to be a worthwhile investment.


  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Western Montana
    Posts
    261

    Default Re: Home Energy Audits

    Randy,

    I have been having the same thoughts as you, is there some way I can diversify my business, especially in this current real estate down turn. Also, giving the upward sprial in energy costs, you would think home owners (not necessarily home buyers) would want to find ways to save money on home heating costs. Even though the cost of gas BBL has dropped a bit in the past few weeks, I think that energy costs will still be major concern in the years ahead.

    Bob gave the best and most thorough answer, HERS vs an informal energy audit. Here are some additional thoughts.

    I'll let you decide on the merits of going through HERS certification, costs vs number of builders wanting HERS certs in your area. Even though like you, I live in a northern state (Montana) where you would think builders would want to become Energy STAR certified, at least in my area I have only seen one so far, so am not sure that the cost of HERS training would pay off. So, that would depend on the builders in your area.

    My local gas utility does offer free energy audits, including a blower door test, so it would be stupid to try to compete against a free service. But you have to wait 3-5 months. If you have all electric heat (common for homes built in the 70's), then all you get is a do-it-yourself questionaire to fill out. If you are rural and have Propane, then you are on your own. Therefore, I keep thinking there might be *some* market for doing energy audits, how much is hard to guess. I suspect home owners would only be willing to pay somewhere in the $100 to $150 range maximum (less if the audit does not include a blower door test). There are many internet web sites that offer do-it-yourself lists on how to improve your homes energy efficiency.

    If I want to provide a decent energy audit service, then I would have to purchase a blower door kit, and those start out at about $3000-$4000. While I am still debating the decision, I am increasingly doubtful that it would pay off, partly because of the population size of my area. If you live near a bigger population center, the numbers may differ.


  8. #8
    Dave Burch1's Avatar
    Dave Burch1 Guest

    Default Re: Home Energy Audits

    Randy,
    Interestingly enough I just completed the training last week, here in the Virginia area. The training was excellent and far exceeds the Home Tune up training. That is not to say the the Home Tune up training is bad. But, I wanted to be able to offer Energy Star ratings and energy ratings for new and existing homes. In order for my rating to be used by a builder or a mortgage company/lender I had to have the prescribed training. I still have some other steps to complete prior to full certification. The RESNET site will give you a lot of info on the process.

    I recommend researching your market extensively. I was lucky in the a couple of builders that I already do Infrared work for had asked me if I could do this work for them as well. That really helps me justify the equipment cost. I bought my Blower Door and Duct Tester from Infiltec. Real nice guys and they spent a significant amount of time showing me how to use it. Hope this helps.

    Dave


  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Minnesota
    Posts
    103

    Default Re: Home Energy Audits

    Thanks for all the input gentleman greatly appreciated. I think I will def. be doing more research for my target market, awesome input either way, thanks.


  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Alpena, MI
    Posts
    8

    Default Re: Home Energy Audits

    Hey all,

    Just thought I would through my 2 cents in, I am also an HI, but my main 40 hr a week job is as an Energy Auditer, More along the lines of a State Weatherization Inspector, Here in Northestern Michigan there are onlt 2 to 2 State Weatherization Inspectors. There are a lot of guys that are offering Energy Audits to folks which end up just being a sales ply. Those guy's just piss me off when we are out there trying to help. Just thought I would put in my monthly post

    thanks
    Rick


  11. #11
    Chris Garcia's Avatar
    Chris Garcia Guest

    Default Re: Home Energy Audits

    Hey all, I just got certified this year as a Hers Rater this last Feb and did it through Cal Certs in Sacramento, Ca, cost around 1500.00 as I did it for Remodel / New construction and Existing Home , so I can cover either or, was a great class and well worth the effert. I decided to add it to my resume of stuff to do, I don't have the equipment yet as it's about 2200.00 for the duct tester another 2k for a flow hood and about 2200.00
    for a blower door, the other thing I want to get is a thermal imager camera, but those are 3k to 6k for a good one.Just something to think about.Chris


  12. #12
    Claire R's Avatar
    Claire R Guest

    Default Re: Home Energy Audits

    I just completed RESNET and BPI training. I am not a HI but am going into energy auditing. Together, the classes are great. RESNET teaches blower door and duct leakage testing (along with energy star requirements). BPI teaches combustion zone analysis and use of the TREAT software package.

    PA is doing lots of promotion of home energy audits right now. In case anyone is wondering, I took mine through PSD.


  13. #13
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Ormond Beach, Florida
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    26,248

    Default Re: Home Energy Audits

    Haven't posted this in a while (last time I went to I forgot where I put the photo), but here is a *real* blower door test.

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