Question: I own a 1920’s cottage that is not at all energy efficient. I truly believe that I should become more aware of what I can do on my part to help fight global warming. I have no idea where to start. Can you help me?
Answer: Thank you for wanting to make a contribution to avert this potentially disastrous greenhouse effect. An energy efficient home is certainly one way to go.
Since you have an older home and neither you nor I can ascertain for sure exactly what upgrades should be made, it is best to employ the services of an energy rater to evaluate and pinpoint specific, cost effective improvements.
Home energy ratings, performed by a trained and certified residential energy efficient professional, provide a standard measurement of a home’s energy efficiency. There are two types. A projected rating is performed prior to the construction of a home or prior to the installation of energy improvements to an existing home. A confirmed rating is completed using data gathered from an on-site inspection, which could include performance testing of the home.
The home energy rater reviews the home to identify its energy characteristics, such as insulation levels, window efficiency, wall-to-window ratios, the heating and cooling system efficiency, the solar orientation of the home and the water heating system. Performance testing, such as a blower door test for air leakage and duct leakage, is usually part of the rating.
The data gathered by the energy rater is entered into a RESNET (Residential Energy Services Network) accredited computer program and translated into rating score. The home receives a score between 1 and 100, depending on its relative efficiency. An estimate of the home’s energy costs is also provided in the report. The home’s energy rating is then equated to a Star rating ranging from one star for a very inefficient home to five stars for a highly efficient home.
So, having your home evaluated is the best place to start. Recommendations will be made for you to decide if it’s a step that you want to take.