Q: Do you recommend an Energy Audit when purchasing a home?
A: This is an area that is really gaining some steam. Buyers of all homes are more aware of energy efficiency when purchasing a home. A recent survey by the National Association of Home Builders found that the number one item on homebuyers list when looking for new homes is energy efficiency.
New homes have energy efficient rating systems like HERS (Home Energy Rating Systems) or EPS (Energy Performance Score). These scores are produced by independent third parties like Earth Advantage. These measures are much like a Miles per Gallon (MPG) for your car.
What do you do if you want to purchase an existing home?
Most existing homes do not have a scoring system. Some existing homeowners have done an energy audit. You can simple ask for a copy. For those who haven’t— it would be prudent to have one done prior to closing.
Clark PUD offers free energy audits for all residential customers using electricity to heat and cool their homes. Their audit is a “walk and talk” meaning no diagnostic equipment is used (blower door, duct blaster). It is a discussion about the customer’s bill and how they use energy followed by a visual check of systems, appliances and the exterior shell (insulation, windows, air sealing). Clark PUD also offers an online “home energy calculator” on their website. Customers can enter the information about their home and the calculator generates graphs and energy savings tips specific to their home.
The Energy Trust of Oregon is here in Southwest Washington offering a similar service to gas heated homes for Northwest Natural Gas customers.
Imagine buying a used car. Would you buy it by just merely kicking the tires or would you check it out with a trained professional? FYI— Home inspections do not cover the energy component. You will need to go the next step—hope this helps.
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