Our homes in the Grove tend to fall into three categories when it comes to energy efficiency. Those built originally as summer cottages with no insulation, those built with little concern for retaining heat or cooling before energy codes began requiring insulation, and a few built after the 1970s with ever increasing levels of insulation and efficiency. Many of the first two groups have made gradual improvements in insulation, storm windows and doors, efforts to deal with air leakage, and more efficient heating and cooling.
- How can you know how well your house is performing?
- How can you tell how much the improvements have helped?
- How can you determine whether there are more worthwhile improvements to make?
For those of us without that expertise, the first step is an Energy Performance Assessment or Home Energy Audit. You can research and contract one on your own or take advantage of
Pepco’s assistance in procuring the services. Their website offers three paths:
- The first is a free Virtual Home Energy Checkup where you fill out a questionnaire and receive an assessment and review without a site visit. It also then offers various free energy products including LED light bulbs, low-flow shower heads, pipe insulation, and power strips.
- The second is a free Quick Home Energy Checkup with a home visit by a technician who will visually examine doors, windows, furnace, AC, water heater, lighting etc. The technician will provide a report with recommendations and also the free products above. They also provide lists of approved contractors that can do some of the recommended work.
- The third is the Home Performance Assessment with EnergyStar Program. These are done by your choice of professionals certified by the Building Performance Institute from their ample approved list. The best firms do a thorough investigation of your heating and cooling equipment, doors and windows, insulation levels, ventilation, attics, crawl spaces, basements, pipe and duct insulation, water heater, humidifiers, appliances and lighting. A test for air leakage is done with a blower door device that pressurizes the house and infrared cameras that detect gaps in insulation. A report and recommendations are provided along with targeted advice as to which best fit your circumstances.
Learn more on Pepco’s Energy Assessments page.
Rebates for many of the recommendations are available from Pepco and they will do the paperwork to secure them. Pepco will cover up to $7500 of work. Many of the technician companies also execute some or all of the work or make recommendations of those that do. The audit is generally a $400 – $600 value but Pepco picks up all but $100.
Energy audit guidance is also available from the DC Consumer Checkbook and, if you join, assessments of companies. Learn more about what DC Consumer Checkbook provides.
These two sources can be used together of course, to select the best company to meet your needs. Or you can contact us (Bob Booher 240-688-8611) with any questions or recommendations of your own. Remember that there are tax credits for much of the work as well. We will be providing info on those later. Let’s start moving toward Net Zero.