Home Performance Evaluation Reports
The Home Performance with Energy Star program uses a whole-house approach to improve energy efficiency and make a home more comfortable. We evaluate the house as a whole—including heating and cooling systems, ductwork, building envelope, windows, insulation, lighting and appliances—and propose specific remedial measures.
The comprehensive evaluation is not usually a pre-purchase home inspection. We can perform a more limited (and less expensive) home energy evaluation for a pre-purchase situation, according to your specific interests and requirements.
This comprehensive inspection documents the building performance through a number of tests. We measure the building envelope performance with a blower door (also known as an infiltrometer). This pressurizes the building, and measures how much the structure leaks through the various cracks and gaps that exist—many of which are not visible. We can use a smoke generator to see where there are air currents that reveal leakage, or an infrared camera to see where air leakage causes temperature differentials.
We also measure the leakage in the heating/air conditioning system in a similar fashion, pressurizing it to measure the leakage and then possibly pressurizing it with smoke to see where it leaks. The age, capacity and condition of the system are also noted. In some cases, we may measure the amount of air coming from each of the supply registers and going back into the return, to see how balanced the system is overall. We may evaluate the system with respect to the room sizes and heating/cooling requirements of the rooms; this can further help us understand the system performance and its deficiencies.
Various appliances and lighting installations consume significant power, and many people are not aware of how much they use. Swimming pool/spa circulation pumps in particular are energy hogs. This inspection documents that usage.
The windows are also evaluated. Many older windows cause higher energy use because they may be leaky, transmit heat into the house in the summer to increase the air conditioning load, and leak heat at night and in the winter. These conditions can also cause drafts and comfort issues.
Not too long ago, houses were built without insulation. Today’s standards require insulation in walls, floors, and attics. Older insulation (especially in attics) may be failing due to settlement, displacement or compaction from workers, or it may be contaminated by animals. Even newer houses may have defective insulation installations, because if insulation is not 100% properly installed, it can loose much of its effectiveness.
Water usage in Los Angeles consumes a large amount of energy (about 25% of the state’s total energy usage). Cutting down on water usage can be painless but yield substantial benefits, both financial and spiritual. We evaluate the opportunities to reduce water usage overall, as well as hot water usage.
We check combustion appliances—furnaces, water heaters, stoves, cooktops, ovens—to make sure they are operating safely, both before and after the upgrade work. Proper ventilation is important, and we make sure that when the building envelope is tightened, adequate is still available.
In this way, we identify upgrades that can lower utility bills, ensure uniform temperatures throughout the house, result in fewer drafts, provide enhanced ventilation, and give better temperature and humidity control, while maintaining or improving related safety issues. We prepare a comprehensive proposal detailing these specific remedies and their costs, and can implement it for you—making sure it is done right.
The Home Performance with Energy Star program is administered by the California Building Performance Contractors Association, and includes verification testing on a sample of our houses to ensure that we continue to meet professional standards.
In February 2007 George inspected what is now my hillside home. I cannot overemphasize his thoroughness or attention-to-detail. He answered all of my questions and his report was especially detailed, leaving out nothing. Before making a purchasing decision I felt incredibly confident that I was well informed. I would only call George for my next prospective purchase.
R. S. Clark
Los Angeles, CA