By Dan Jape
Is your home efficient and safe? Or do you have issues that may affect your family’s comfort, indoor air quality and safety? Many houses today are improperly insulated and sealed, allowing more energy dollars to leak out and be wasted than are being used to actually heat and cool the home. Improperly sealed attics and basements can cause dust and airborne pollutants to enter your home, causing humidity and mold issues along with foul odors and possibly harmful gas buildup. Having a complete Home Performance Evaluation can assure you your home is performing at peak efficiency and your family’s health and safety is not compromised.
The Building Performance Institute, Inc. (BPI) is the nation’s premier standards development and credentialing organization for residential energy efficiency retrofit work. BPI sets the standards for home performance and they are helping build an industry, creating a workforce, and supporting programs through professional certification, contractor accreditation, and quality assurance services. Most all of the local utility rebate and testing programs are set up to utilize BPI standards and guidelines. For example, to qualify for current Georgia Power rebates of up to $2200, a BPI auditor must first visit a home and perform a complete and thorough audit which analyzes a home’s thermal envelope and checks for proper sealing and caulking along with the proper insulation. A health and safety inspection is also performed to make sure there are no potential hazards in the home from carbon monoxide or other potential harmful gases. Gas appliances are also inspected for safety, complete combustion and for proper operation.
During the audit, a large fan is installed in the front door of the home to draw air through the cracks and leaks, making it easy to see where energy dollars are being wasted. After all this testing is done, a complete plan of attack is written up giving an outline of the corrective action that needs to be performed. After this remedial work has been completed, a second inspection is performed to make sure the home is now an energy-tight, safe and healthy environment to live in.
Many utility companies offer a free “energy audit”, which is just a quick visual assessment of your homes insulation and thermal envelope by an employee of the utility. This service is not to be confused with a complete and actual audit by a BPI certified auditor since they are two completely different types of inspections with different goals and methods. If you are in need of a very in depth study of the potential problems in your home and you want to qualify for any local or federal grant money or rebates, you must utilize the services of an actual BPI auditor. In Atlanta, if you are a customer of Georgia Power, you can get up to $200 to pay for the cost of this audit, which normally is around $400.00.
BPI standards are cited by the Home Performance with ENERGY STAR® program from the Department of Energy (DOE) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), as well as several state Weatherization Assistance Programs. Reliable Heating & Air employs BPI auditors to perform home performance audits in the State of Georgia. If you need help finding a BPI certified company in your area, go to www.BPI.org and go to the “Certified Professionals” section and look in your zip code.