Five Percent: Conserve Energy

Climate Change Is Important: Energy Conservation is the First Step

May 12, 2009

Home Energy Audit — Pays For Itself Quickly

Category: Conservation,Energy Audit,Household,Save Fuel – Tom Harrison – 11:53 am

Uninsulated Ceiling

Uninsulated Ceiling

Thanks to the lead from EnergyCircle I hired Flemming Lund from Infrared Diagnostic to do an energy audit on my house. I am kicking myself that it took me so long to make this investment. Based on preliminary numbers, I think I will save between 15% and 20% on my heating bill and probably completely eliminate the need for air-conditioning. The payback on both the inspection and materials to mitigate is certainly less than 18 months, probably a lot less. My house is pretty tight; I bet most houses could do even better.

I’ll write more about the details in another post, but it occurred to me that many, if not most houses could get a payback. If someone like me (obsessive, crazy) failed to take this simple step for at least 5 years, there’s something wrong. Here are some of the things I think need to happen:

  • The rapid payback opportunity should be promoted more visibly;
  • It should be a lot easier to find the companies that do this kind of service in your area;
  • If there’s a tax incentive, I don’t know about it, but there should be;
  • Utilities should have an incentive to promote this kind of action, and even do no-cost financing of the audit cost;
  • There should be a good, current, easily accessible registry of contractors and “finder” tool on the EnergyStar site;
  • There should be some certification for contractors who can do the audits, as well as those who can do mitigation; and
  • Everyone should know that it’s easy, quick, low-cost, and has no downsides!

And probably a few others.

I watch, read and listen to many energy conservation articles. They’re all good, but they tend to be laundry-lists. When it comes to houses there are scores of things that can be done and I suspect people listen, nod along, then maybe do a couple things here and there. Wouldn’t it be cool if there were a single “valet service” that would negotiate all of this stuff for homeowners?

I would certainly respond to a message that said “Want to save $300 dollars a year? We’ll come to your house and take a quick look around. If we find opportunities to save we can arrange to have all the work done. There are many simple changes that will cost little or nothing and save you big bucks on your energy bills, and help save the planet while you’re at it!”


  1. Good recommendations–there are a lot of simple things people can do. And there are deeper improvements the make homes more energy-efficient (and safer and more comfortable at the same time) . Regarding the home energy audit, it’s important to get the right audit–accurate and actionable and looking at the right things like duct leakage, air infiltration, and equipment efficiency and combustion safety and an analysis of utility bills. For a bit more background on audits and additional links, follow my post at

    Thanks and good luck!

    Comment by Mike Rogers — May 16, 2009 @ 6:34 pm

  2. Mike —

    Thanks for the link to your site (and the links in your article). Our auditor provided all of this information in his report, and it will be very helpful.

    I am still thinking that many homeowners would benefit from a service that goes beyond the audit itself, including hiring of subcontractors to do the remediation. Obviously a more tricky (and costly) proposition, but it seems like the kind of think that would ensure the recommendations get done, and done correctly, too.


    Comment by Tom Harrison — May 16, 2009 @ 8:59 pm

  3. […]My First Attempt: Failure — A while back, I had an energy audit and found that my house leaked like a sieve — a condition that left our efforts to insulate, […]

    Pingback by Step 2: Insulate, Step 1: Stop Drafts | Five Percent: Conserve Energy — December 6, 2010 @ 1:40 pm

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.