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  • Jackie Orsa

What is a home energy audit and why are they important?

Happy Earth Day! Does anyone else feel like the Earth should have this much positive recognition every day of the year? I wanted to take a minute to share with you an important place to begin when looking to improve the energy efficiency of your home. Energy Audits. An energy audit is a complete review of your home’s energy. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, homeowners can save between 5% and 30% on energy bills by making upgrades following a home energy assessment. Also, improving your home’s energy-efficiency could potentially increase the resale value, and will increase the overall comfort and health level of your home. When performed by a certified energy auditor, the process is completed in a few hours and they will identify “problem” areas. It will also establish a baseline before you embark on any energy saving renovations or improvements. From the audit, you can determine which energy-wasting problem you should tackle first.

If you are looking to sell your home an energy assessment can improve the marketability of your property. This assessment will also give you an opportunity to fix small items that may come up during an inspection and potentially give you a chance to add the repairs to the valuation of your home.

If you are looking to buy a home – ask to have an energy assessment done during the inspection period. This will help you determine if there are any repairs or fixes that can be negotiated.

Since we are in the middle of a pandemic and are limiting our exposure to people outside of our households – I know that having an auditor come to your house might not be in the cards for you right now. So, here are three ways you can do a basic DIY energy assessment. NOTE – this is a MUCH simpler process than what a professional auditor will do, their thorough assessment covers every nook and cranny of the interior and exterior of your home. I would highly recommend having a professional perform an energy audit when the time is right. However, this is a great place to start:

- Check light bulbs | Have you switched your light bulbs from incandescent to LED bulbs? LED light bulbs last much longer, are more durable, and use far less energy than traditional light bulbs.

- Check for air leaks | Air leaks can be found in many places throughout your home – windows, doors, floorboards, etc. An easy way to check for air leakage is by closing all doors, windows, and any other areas where air may enter a room in. Be sure to turn off any combustible appliances (ex. gas fireplace). Light an incense stick and walk around the room – if the smoke flutters and gravitates towards a particular place in the room – there may be an air leak. Another way is by walking around the room with a damp hand – if your hand feels cold in certain areas, that may indicate an air leak.

- Assess your appliances | How old are your appliances? Check the manufacturer’s guide on how often the appliance should be replaced and how often it should be maintained. If you have a heating or cooling system, most professionals recommend having it maintained at least annually. From the manufacturer guide you should also be able to find the Energy Star rating, then you can compare to what is on the market now and see if you could find a more efficient appliance.

Want to talk more with a certified energy auditor on the Big Island? Below are a few companies located on the Big Island:

Terrawatt 808.345.5447

Pono Home 808.364.9715

Da Solar Energy 877.331.1235

Happy Earth Day, aloha!

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