1. What is a SynerGreen Home Energy Audit?
A SynerGreen Home Energy Audit, also known as a Whole House Performance
Assessment, uses building science protocols to test, diagnose and create recommendations to make your home comfortable, safe, healthy, energy efficient and durable. A Whole House Performance Assessment report will compare your house to a house with building science standards and will show you problems that, when corrected, will save you money.
2. What Does a SynerGreen Home Energy Audit Consist Of?
SynerGreen’s Home Energy Audit consists of the Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Home
Performance with Energy Star and Building Performance Institute’s (BPI’s) building science
testing protocols. It consists of inspecting and testing the house as a whole operating systemfor comfort, safety, health, energy efficiency and durability.
A. Homeowner Interview and Walk-Through - determines the clients’ requests or concerns and to understand the operation of the house.
B. Energy Bill Analysis - 24 months of energy bill information (monthly kWH’s, therms or gallons and associated costs) is entered into a spreadsheet to determine the energy consumption and identify the base-load and seasonal consumption and costs. The total energy cost per sq. ft. of living area is compared to an “Energy Index for Buildings” to assess building energy efficiency. Energy bill information is available on-line from your utility company.
C. Site Inspection - determines house orientation, water management, roofing fitness, attics, crawl spaces, vent terminations, etc.
D. Combustion Safety Testing and Analysis - includes inspection of natural gas, propane and fuel oil appliances, carbon monoxide content, air tests, furnace exhaust levels, water heater efficiency levels, etc.
E. Ventilation Analysis – Ventilation is the planned addition of fresh air from an identified source.
F. Infiltration (Envelope Integrity) Tests and Analysis – Infiltration is the unplanned air leakage in the living space and only comes into play when there is a driving force present; wind, pressure imbalances from leakage in mechanical equipment, stack effect, etc.
G. Insulation and Air Barrier Performance Inspection
H. Heating Equipment Analysis
I. Cooling Equipment Analysis
J. Duct Testing and Analysis – DOE determined the average forced air duct system has a leakage rate of 25% to 40%. SynerGreen minimum acceptable duct leakage targets less than 5%, or if ducts are inaccessible, whichever is economically feasible.
K. Appliances Testing for carbon monoxide on natural gas or propane appliances.
3. What is Base-load and Seasonal Consumption?
Energy consumption is classified into 2 categories: Base-load consumption and seasonal
consumption. Base-load consumption consists of water heating, refrigeration, clothes dryer, lighting, entertainment center, spa, swimming pool, etc. Seasonal consumption consists of heating and cooling usage.
4. What is Stack Effect?
Stack effect is the draft established in a building from air infiltrating low (the floor area) and exfiltration high (the ceiling area).
5. I know That I Need a New Furnace and I Need Attic and Crawlspace Insulation to
Make My House More Comfortable and Energy Efficient. Why Do I Need a Home
A SynerGreen home energy audit will:
A. Inspect and analyze your existing furnace and duct work and recommend the
correct energy efficiency and capacity for a replacement. Most existing furnaces are
replaced with the same sizing and capacity as the existing furnace which is too large
for the cubic footage of your house.
B. Inspect and analyze your existing attic, crawlspace and wall insulation as well as
its air barriers. Most air barriers do not operate properly by enabling air leakage
inside and out of the house. Placing insulation into an improperly performing air
barrier defeats the purpose of properly performing insulation.
6. What is an Air Barrier?
Any part of the building that offers resistance to air leakage. An air barrier is effective when it stops air leakage. Sheetrock, lathe and plaster, sub flooring are some examples of air barriers.
7. What is Air-Leakage (Also Called Infiltration)?
Any unwanted air that enters your house from the outside or any wanted air that move
out of your house. An example is winter cold air entering your house from the outside and warm air moving out of your house dependent on pressure differences.
8. What is Air-Sealing?
Placing caulk or foam into air barrier openings so that air barriers perform properly. It
involves sealing all electrical, mechanical and plumbing penetrations from the attic,
crawlspace, basement and exterior walls to the living spaces.
9. Can You Air-Seal a House Too Tight?
Yes. The American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers
(ASHRAE) recommends a house ventilation rate of 0.35 air changes per hour (ACH) or 8.40 air changes per 24 hours. But, if a house is air-sealed too tight to ≤0.25 ACH, mechanical ventilation is required that brings in outside air and expels inside air.
10. What are the Testing Logistics?
The testing logistic instructions are found in this link. A BPI Certified Building Analyst and Envelope Professional will follow the above protocols. It will take approximately 4-6 hours to perform the testing and collect the data. The Whole House Assessment Report will follow the testing and contain testing data, pictures, infrared images and a work scope for energy upgrade work. It will also show your house data compared to building science house data so you can see areas where improvements can be made.
11. Is it Necessary for the Homeowner to be Home During the Testing Period?
It is not necessary for the homeowner to be home for the test period but it is highly
recommended because homeowner questions arise that we can answer. We will do our best to accommodate your schedule when you are available.
12. What are SynerGreen’s Professional Certifications?
A. BPI Certified Building Analyst
B. BPI Certified Envelope Professional
C. Efficiency First Founding Member
D. Build It Green Certified Green Building Professional
13. What are Some Home Energy Audit and Building Science Websites I Can View?