Spring Energy Audit

Reader Contribution by Heidi Hunt

Recently, the neighborhood I live in had a notice in the community newsletter regarding a home energy audit program called Efficiency Kansas. For $100, a local company would perform the audit and submit a multi-paged report on what steps I could take to make my house more energy efficient. I signed up right away!

Our house is a 1927 one-story bungalow with a full basement plus an attic. The interior walls are lathe and plaster. Most of the windows are the original wood sash style, with storm windows. We have a fireplace that may or may not have an operating draft. A new roof was installed in 2009 and the furnace is less than 10 years old.

On April 8th, Daniel Kirkey and his team from the Energy Management Group in Topeka spent about an hour and a half looking, listening and measuring to assess the house’s energy efficiency. To prepare for the energy audit, we printed out the gas and electric usage from our utility bills and answered a questionnaire on the condition of the house and how we manage the energy systems in place. The energy audit cost us only $100, but the audit costs EMG $600, $500 of which comes from federal/state funding for home energy efficiency programs.

Part of the assessment includes a blower-door test where they seal up the front door, add a fan to it and suck air through the house. According to Daniel, the house should have its air replaced once every three hours — in my house, the air was replaced once an hour. Definitely not good! When Daniel turned on the blower, I could feel a strong draft whooshing past past my legs. In a week or so, we should have the results of the assessment which will include all of the possible steps we could consider to make the house more energy efficient, and thus cost us less to operate. The report will include what percentage of energy usage each action could effect. I’m sure it will be very enlightening! Watch for my report on a future blog post.

Here are a couple of quick videos showing Daniel in action as he checks out the attic and an addition crawl space.