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What comes to mind when you think of energy efficiency? Turning down the thermostat to 65 degrees? Running around the house turning off the lights in unoccupied rooms? Compact fluorescent light bulbs? It’s true occupant behavior can contribute greatly for good or bad to reducing energy costs, and installing CFLs are a good, inexpensive way to lower consumption. It’s also important to keep in mind that energy efficiency isn’t about giving up things like comfort and convenience. It’s about getting more out of the resources we already use. We can enjoy a comfortable, well-lit home while being energy efficient and saving money too.
The question for many people is where to begin? An effective first step in evaluating our homes energy performance involves a combination of thorough visual inspection and diagnostic testing to identify deficiencies in the thermal, air and moisture barrier systems. This is typically performed with a blower door test along with infrared thermal imaging to quantify air leakage and pinpoint areas that require remediation. Testing of a home’s ductwork for leakage (a major source of energy loss and air quality problems) along with the operation of the HVAC and water heating equipment should always be included.
Inspection and testing of a home’s energy and envelope efficiencies before a remodeling or energy upgrade project can reveal valuable information about previously undiscovered issues and provide clear direction to solutions that will achieve the most impact.
Many homes in the Sacramento area were built before the energy crisis of the 1970s and the establishment of the California Energy Code in 1978. Many have little or no insulation, have leaky air and thermal boundaries along with inefficient windows and mechanical systems. The California Energy Commission estimates duct leakage rates on average for existing houses in our state to be in the range of 30%. This translates into additional heating and cooling costs of 20% on average.
Many companies offer upgrades to one or maybe two of these components but pay little attention to how all these systems interact with each other and the building as a whole. Few provide any pre or post diagnostic testing to verify if their efforts and expense were successful in improving energy efficiency.
Whether part of a green renovation project or an energy retrofit, efficiency upgrades do not have to be out of reach. Sacramento Building Performance’s whole systems approach to construction includes energy efficiency as an integral part of the design and decision making process, thus significantly reducing costs. In addition, government and utility provider incentive programs are also available to offset some of the first costs for projects that qualify, along with possible reduction in energy bills.
Call Sacramento Building Performance at 916-416-0676, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, to schedule a free consultation to discuss solutions to improve your homes comfort and energy performance.