May 27, 2009

Home Energy Cost Cutting Project : Energy Audit Results

Previously I explained that I was going to start a project to cut our home energy costs. The initial plan was posted here.

The main steps of the plan are:
1. Get a home energy audit.
2. Review the results form the audit
3. Prioritize the energy saving options.
4. Implement best options

Last week we got stop #1 of the plan done.

Our local utility offers a free home energy audit. We took advantage of this audit. The audit was basically just a walk through inspection. I wasn't sure entirely what the audit would consist of before we signed up. I had hoped that they would do some air leak testing with a door blower or things like that but they did not. Thats OK though since the audit we got was free.

Recommendations of the audit:

Get an air leak test
Get a duct leak test
Air sealing and weatherstripping
Duct sealing
Increase insulation in attic from R18 to R38
Increase insulation in crawl space from none to R30
Increase duct insulation from R2 to R11
Add a new energy efficient heat pump
Upgrade to an energy efficient water heater
Investigate solar power

They recommended that we get our ducts and the home tested for leaks first. If the ducts needed work then it would be best to get those tested and done first since they are covered by insulation in our attic. You wouldn't want to add insulation then have to test the ducts and fix the ducts after that since it would disturb the new insulation.

Most of the options would give us good energy improvements. The new energy efficient water heater and the solar power were not so clear so they suggested we investigate those further. Our water heater is in pretty good shape and doesn't need to be replaced anytime soon. Solar may or may not be worth the investment for our home and it would take a solar expert to take a better look at our home and figure the cost and benefits.

The auditor also explained the different incentives we can get from the IRS, state and the utility. For the insulation we can get $0.25 per square foot from the utility for the attic and $0.40 per square foot in the crawlspace. The utility will also pay 50% of air sealing up to $400.
The IRS will give a tax credit of 30% up to $1500 for any of the insulation or heatpump. We could also get up to $750 for a heat pump between my state and the utility. If we did all the insulation, air sealing and added a heatpump we'd be eligible for about $3,500 in tax credits and rebates. I'm guessing that would cover about 25-50% of the costs.

After the audit results this gives us an additional step in our plan. The next step : Step 1.5 will be to follow up with air seal and duct leak testing. We'll take care of that next. We'll have to call a few people and get someone to come out. It will probably take a couple weeks to get this step done.

In addition to performing the audit they also gave us some Compact Fluorescent Lamps, free low flow shower heads and aerators for our sinks all entirely free. I figure we got at least $25 worth of free stuff. That free stuff was a nice bonus.

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