With the shortest day of the year behind us, we are right in the middle of the coldest part of Winter here in the front-range foothills. Not only is home efficiency important for your wallet and the environment, but it can also guide you in making some of the highest ROI (return on investment) updates to your home. And, because energy efficiency is such a hot topic these days, these types of upgrades might make the difference between your home and the competition when it comes time to sell.
Late last year, I had the pleasure of working with Andrew Sams of Alpine Building Performance, LLC on my home energy audit. The process was streamlined and easy to follow. First, I gave Andrew a quick call where I shared some general information about the house, like the age, structure type, etc... and we got an on-site time scheduled. Then, we met at my home and I walked through the house with him. After he got the lay of the land, I let him conduct his inspection and testing. Finally, Andrew reviewed the energy audit with us.
We have a home that was well-built in the mid 90’s, so when we reviewed the audit there were not too many big deficiencies. However, we were able to identify some items that will help make our home more comfortable and hopefully less expensive to heat during these cold winter months. He also put some great ideas on the radar for the future, like when it comes time to replace the water heater, furnace, or dishwasher.
I don’t think we will replace these items this year, but if any of them need maintenance or replacement, he gave us some great advice on replacement options that will save energy and money in the long term. I was also able to ask Andrew a little bit about his business and advice about energy audits:
What inspired Alpine to add home energy audits to its offerings? We believe that everyone deserves to live in a home that is healthy, comfortable, and resource-efficient. Helping homeowners achieve this goal is central to our mission and a home energy audit is the starting point for understanding how to improve your home's performance. Our standard home inspection incorporates elements of a home energy audit, but even the most well-intentioned real estate inspection has some limitations. A home energy audit is geared towards helping homeowners who currently live in the home vs prospective buyers of a home.
Why do you recommend home energy audits? Unless you live in a purposefully built high-performance home, your home has multiple opportunities for efficiency and comfort improvement upgrades. A home energy audit will identify and prioritize the improvement opportunities that will have the greatest impact on comfort, health, and efficiency.
Who do you recommend an energy audit for? We recommend an energy audit for anyone that falls into one or more of the following categories: 1) You have home comfort complaints; 2) You have high energy bills that you would like to reduce; 3) You suspect that your home may be unhealthy or causing illness; 4) You want to lower your home's carbon footprint/environmental impact; 5) You are considering home performance upgrades/remodeling but don't know where to start; or 6) You want to learn more about available energy efficiency rebates and incentives.
Sometimes the results of an audit can feel daunting. What’s your recommendation on the next steps after receiving the audit results? A good home energy advisor will help to explain and prioritize each recommendation in a way that is relatable and easy to digest. Understanding the positive impacts of the recommendations along with return on investment will help prioritize which measures to implement first. Like a good home inspector, an energy auditor's job is to identify the recommendations and then guide you to the proper contractor for further information like cost and scope of work. The audit is the first step in a process.
The bottom line is that Andrew and his team are the real deal. If you’re thinking about updates and upgrades to your home, I highly recommend having Andrew and his team perform an energy audit. It might help you save some money and could make a big difference if you're considering putting your house on the market.
Not ready for an audit but want good tips? Alpine Building Performance’s email newsletter is filled with great information ranging from why it’s important to clean your fireplace to a comparison of stainless and plastic dishwashers. Maybe not all of them apply to me, but most of their newsletters have great information and are a quick, educational read. Check out their website to learn more about Andrew's team and their services.