What is an Energy Audit?
An energy audit, also known as an energy assessment, is the first step to assess how much energy your home or building consumes and to evaluate what measures you can take to make your home or building more energy efficient. Energy audits can include analysis of existing lighting, heating and cooling systems, building envelope and insulation, appliances, refrigeration, signage, windows and doors and even land grading/drainage. An Energy Audit Report typically follows the on-site review, which will show you were the issues are, provide recommended improvements to save energy, include the associated cost to implement the energy saving improvements, forecast the percent of energy savings, individually and cumulatively, if improvements are made, and list any rebates or incentives you would be eligible to receive.
What is a “Full Equipment” Energy Audit?
There is typically a fee associated with a full equipment Energy Audit and it is the most comprehensive audit, which includes testing your home or building using specific equipment. The equipment and testing includes a blower door test to determine building tightness, a thermographic scan to check for heat loss, testing your air distribution system to determine system efficiency with a duct blaster or pressure pan, furnace or combustion appliance testing, computer modeling using the information/data collected, and possibly an analysis of your historical utility usage. The full equipment audit provides a more reliable return on investment forecast and how quickly the capital-intensive improvements will pay for themselves in energy savings. Improvement recommendations resulting from a full equipment audit tend to show the highest energy savings as well as considers the whole building not just specific areas and relate your eligibility for associated rebates and/or incentives. An Energy Auditor may be able to perform a less expensive walk through audit by visually examining areas of the home/building, but there is no substitute for a comprehensive audit performed by a certified auditor when looking for significant “whole building” energy savings. View this YouTube Video of a Full Equipment Home Energy Audit.
What is a “Walk Through” Energy Audit?
A less expensive “Walk Through” audit will include an on-site review and evaluation of your home or building, without using any test equipment, to identify any existing energy inefficiencies in the home or building. This visual inspection of the structure looks at the age and condition of equipment, and examines existing levels of insulation, the condition of windows and doors, looks for issues of high moisture accumulation or water damage, and obvious points of outside air infiltration. The follow-on Energy Audit Report will provide an overview of findings and list recommendations for improvements along with associated cost to implement improvements and your eligibility to receive specific rebates and/or incentives.
Can I just get a cost estimate on the Duke Energy Rebate items?
Yes. Most often these specific cost estimates are free and result in you receiving a hard copy of a "cost estimate" to accomplish the specific rebate or incentivized work in your home or building. If during the on-site review of the specific rebate/incentive items the auditor notices any surrounding energy improvement opportunities these could be listed in the cost estimate as well but the auditor would not typically look at the whole house or building only specific areas.
What are the rebate amounts associated with the Duke Energy Program?
There are varying amounts of rebates offered by Duke Energy and we are authorized to offer and file for any or all of the three categories listed on our Rebate Page. There are specific Trade Ally’s associated with the installation of heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems who, as a licensed General Contractor, we are able to sub-contract with and still gain you the associated rebate for new equipment installs accordingly. Please review the table below for the rebates and requirements we are authorized to obtain for you and you may go to the Duke Energy Smart Saver website to view available rebates and authorized HVAC Smart Saver Trade Ally's.
What is “computer modeling” of your home or building?
After completing an Energy Audit the auditor can input the data we collected on your home or building into a computer simulation program that will produce a forecast of the energy savings you would experience if certain improvements were implemented on your home or building. These energy savings are not guaranteed but offer a comparison of typical savings produced based on historical data collected from across the country or world-wide. Energy savings forecast can also be provided by the auditor based on their experience with various improvements but all-in-all the computer generated energy savings forecast offer valuable information to help you in your decision making process.
Can I phase-in/stagger the implementation of recommended improvement measures over time?
Yes. In our Energy Audit Report or cost estimate we list improvements measures by priority with respect to implementation to achieve the most beneficial return on your investment. As such, if you wanted to implement the measures over a period of time we would suggest starting with priority 1 and moving to the highest priority as finances or time allow. We can work with you and keep cost unchanged for approximately two (2) years from the start of the work, with exception to the cost of insulation.
Do you offer financing to your clients?
Yes. We are an approved contractor with AFC First Financial who is a national leader in financing and programs for Energy Efficient Home Improvements. All homeowners who are making qualifying improvements to their primary residence or vacation home are eligible. Good credit and the ability to repay are required at any income level. The “EnergyLoan®” is for energy-related and renewable energy improvements. All work can be financed if at least 50% of the project is comprised of either Heating & Cooling, Air Sealing & Insulation; Windows & Doors; Electrical & Plumbing; Geothermal, Solar & Other; or Whole House Home Performance with ENERGY STAR. You can apply or get more information on this finance program at www.Energyloan.net or by calling 888.232.3477.
As the owner, can I select which measures I want to implement?
Absolutely. We want you to make the decision on which measures you want to implement and when. We provide the recommended improvement measures to you in a prioritized order for you to review and select. While they are prioritized and we encourage your selection in that order we accept your decision to implement the measures in any order you wish. If you were to implement the measures in the order we recommend you would experience the fastest return on your investment but if you were to implement all of the measures in a different order over a period of time you would still experience the same cumulative energy savings in the end.
What is an “Energy Savings Seminar?”
An Energy Savings Seminar is where we meet with neighborhood groups, multiple owner groups, Home Owner Associations, Condominium Associations, Apartment Associations, Real Estate Groups, etc. interested in learning more about saving money on energy. These groups are presented with money saving principles and practices by an ESRA Facility Management representative and offered additional incentives for improving their homes. Our suggestions and improvement measures have a number of positive impacts on a home or building owners’ indoor space. The items we present in the seminar and on the job site go a long way to improving the comfort and indoor air quality of your living spaces as well as saving you money on your utility bills. We go a step further than just saving you energy and offering the rebate from Duke Energy, we also offer the group the opportunity to award their agreed upon 501(C)3 non-profit charity a 5% contribution from us for the groups movement in making their homes more energy efficient.
How can I schedule a seminar for my group?
Contact our office and speak with Robert Rogers or Khalif Galloway to setup a seminar. You can reach us at (336) 210-0201 or email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
What does a 5% charitable contribution from ESRA really mean?
If a group of owners collectively allow us to accomplish energy audits and subsequent improvements on their homes or offices, we will in-turn donate 5% of the total revenue from the energy retrofit work to the groups’ agreed upon listed and qualified 501(C)3 non-profit charitable organization.
What are the guidelines or limits of the 5% charitable contribution?
The homes or buildings audited and improved must be in the same neighborhood, group, or association. The group members must agree on the “single” eligible non-profit charity to receive the donation/contribution. Our scope of work must include at least three homes or light commercial buildings in the group. No limit on number of homes or buildings to participate in a single group. The organization selected to receive the donation must be agreed upon and submitted to ESRA Facility Management before agreeing to establish the “group” contribution. The receiving organization or charity must be local or have a local branch to receive the contribution. Local is defined as being established in or within 50 miles of Greensboro NC.
What is an “Energy Retrofit?”
An Energy Retrofit is the renovation or refurbishment of an existing home or building to upgrade the energy performance of the associated assets for their ongoing life. Often retrofit involves modifications to the existing buildings’ systems, equipment, and/or envelope to improve energy efficiency or decrease energy demand. In addition, retrofits are often used as an opportune time to install new more energy efficient products or equipment replacements. Energy efficiency retrofits can reduce the operational costs, particularly in older homes or buildings, as well as help to attract tenants and gain a market edge.