BY BRENNAN PRALLE, IHP CO.
Your home has three functions of practical utility: safety, health and comfort. Your home is comprised of systems working together to accomplish these tasks. These systems include the frame assemblies, fenestration, insulation, water and sewer piping, electrical wiring, mechanical systems and their controls. How well these systems are accomplishing the three functions can be measured and scored.
“Home performance” is the professional discipline of evaluating these systems separately and as part of the home team. Home performance professionals have to undergo training and earn their certifications through the Building Performance Institute (BPI) “Building Analyst” and/or the Residential Energy Services Network (RESNET) “Energy Rater.” Look for these certifications when choosing your home performance professional.
Performance scoring of your home as compared to an average home can be provided by RESNET’s Home Energy Rating Score. Recently, the Department of Energy developed the Home Energy Score as part of their Better Buildings Initiative. The DOE standard is being incorporated into building codes and realty standards across our great nation. The purpose of all these efforts is to provide you with verifiable information about how your home is performing. You can then make an informed decision on recommended improvements. Xcel Energy administers the “Home Performance with Energy Star” accelerated rebate program to encourage this comprehensive approach.
High efficiency furnace or air conditioner stresses how much energy you will save. However, the actual savings for your home may be more like $500 over 15 years. Lennox provides a great comparison calculator on their website: https://www.lennox.com/buyers-guide/tools/energy-savings-calculator. New windows are likely to never pay back your investment during their useful lifespan. Renewable power and heat generation are true “savings” vehicles that can return your investment in equipment within reasonable timeframes. However – can you put a price on having perfect safety, health and comfort in your home? Some drive Lincolns, some drive Fords.
Conversely, why suffer through a plurality of contractors pushing new equipment if all you want is for the equipment you have to work reliably and well? (Equipment does not spoil after 15 years!) Most HVAC equipment can be overhauled, causing them to be more effective and efficient than when they were brand new. Window inserts provide the same results at a fraction of the cost. In fact, the most effective improvement activity involves caulking and your pointer finger. Have you checked your detectors this year?
If you’re interested in learning more about your home’s ideal performance feel free to contact Brennen Pralle at 720-589-7651.