Posts Tagged ‘energy audits’

A warm welcome to our newest locations! Buckeye, Boehmer and Tom’s!

May 1, 2014

This year we’ve spread our reach across the country, allowing us to help serve even more customers with three new locations joining our network!

new locations

Buckeye Heating and Cooling joins us from Columbus, Ohio. “We are thrilled to be a part of the GreenHomes organization,” said Brad Wentz, President of Buckeye Heating & Cooling. “We are proud to be able to offer Home Performance services to the Columbus region and provide homeowners with solutions to help lower energy bills and improve overall comfort and safety in their homes.” It is great to have them on board!

Out of the Dallas/Fort Worth area of Texas, Tom’s Mechanical is gearing up for cooling season and helping homeowners with more than their systems as a GreenHomes America franchise partner. “Above all, Tom’s Mechanical is committed to ‘doing the right thing’ for our customers and employees,” said Rich Ashton, President of Tom’s Mechanical. “By joining the GreenHomes America network, we can now offer even more home solutions for our customers. I couldn’t be happier about this next chapter for our company.

From the Pittsburgh Pennsylvania area I also want to welcome Boehmer Heating and Cooling. “We are a reliable and friendly company, dedicated to fulfilling our customers’ requirements for their homes,” said Steve Boehmer, co-owner of Boehmer Heating and Cooling. “As a GreenHomes America contactor, we are thrilled to also offer our customers Home Performance solutions. We look forward to providing homeowners with solutions to help lower their utility bills and improve the comfort and safety in their homes.”

GreenHomes America looks forward to assisting our latest locations help homeowners improve their homes, making them safer, more efficient and comfortable in the process. I encourage you to reach out them and see how they can help you!




Building Science Principles: consider going PRO?

January 15, 2013

bpi logoSome of you out there may know builders, home inspectors, Realtors, Bankers and Students, or may be one yourself.  Well, we all have something in common, “homes!” We live in them, own them, rent them, some work on them and we sure know when they are not working right.

Making a home comfortable safe and healthy takes a lot of work, and I think it only helps if we share that knowledge.  That is why we help educate homeowners on how they work and don’t work and how we can make them better.

Maybe you, or someone you know, is in a profession that could benifit from a little insight into building science.  Maybe you are looking to explore new career opportunities.  This could be a first step towards great things.  The certificate is a preview of some of the things one needs to know for the professional level certification our advisors obtain and we live by here at GreenHomes America.

At GreenHomes we pride ourselves in the training and certifications our employees will attain as well as sharing their knowledge with our customers. The study guide for the certificate is over 200 pages.  And more information can be found here:

Even if you are not interested in a certificate in building science, BPI has some good information for homeowners and explains why we do what we do, check it out!




Home Energy Audits: Worth the cost?

May 21, 2012

Recently Fox News had an interesting piece on energy audits.  It asks an excellent question; are they worth the cost?  As homeowners we can identify some issues in our homes, but it often takes and expert to pull it all together, and catch some of the bigger issues affecting our utility bills.

The article points out that not all auditors are created equal.  It mentions that blower door tests, Infrared imaging, as well as duct testing, are important for and auditor to perform.  And we agree.  In fact, we spend numerous hours training individuals to use the equipment, as well as getting them certified with the Building Performance Institute (BPI).  BPI’s focus is not on just energy efficiency, but also health and safety, and that in my mind is more important that just saving money.

It is important that our advisors have ongoing training and support, because homes—and the building science behind them—are complicated.   If I relate this to the medical profession, would you want an intern performing surgery while figuring it out on their own? Or, would you rather have an experienced doctor teaching the intern?

One thing not pointed out in the article is that saving energy is only part of it.  Don’t forget comfort, the reason we heat and cool our homes in the first place.  Acting on the recommendations in an energy audit can make our homes a more comfortable place.

Is it worth the cost?  If you take action, absolutely!  An audit isn’t worth anything if you don’t fix the problems, which is why it is so important to identify them—and provide cost-conscious improvements—making your home more energy efficient, healthy and comfortable.  You can learn more in our learning center.



Home Energy Savings–It’s Not Witchcraft

November 2, 2010

Caveat Emptor!  With Halloween just passed, I’m still reminded of some of the scary misinformation floating around out there.  And I’m not just talking about misleading advertising for space heaters.  There are some crazy ideas about how to determine what to do in your home to save energy, ignoring practical wisdom and experience.   Science, a good energy audit,  and quality installations get you there.

With energy-efficiency taking its right place as a cornerstone of good economic policy, the national security conversation, and environmental protection, the snake-oil and miracle cures are being hawked, including some that will hit the policy discussion at the federal, state, and local levels.  And a couple of good ideas in particular are being overinflated and overhyped as the solution to our home energy woes.

We love energy monitoring devices, from TED to Blue Line monitors to smart meters, watching how you use can help you figure out how to save.  But the devices themselves don’t save!  It’s changing behaviors (conservation) and increasing efficiency that save.  Don’t expect using a monitor alone to be the answer.

Similarly, there are a host of energy audits being touted, from a “home energy rating” (or “HERS” score) to online audits based on assumptions about what’s going on in the average home, with guesses from afar.  Many of these can give you a general idea of what to do.  But they can’t really diagnose what’s going on in your house specifically, and they certainly can’t generate a target plan or work scope for you home let alone actually do the work for you.

Would you go get surgery or start taking a bunch of medicine based on what the average person needs?  Or would you want a proper diagnosis of your health and any particular ailment you might have?  What you trust a recommendation for open heart surgery from someone who didn’t take your blood pressure or pull out a stethoscope or give you an EKG?  Would you schedule that surgery based on the recommendation of someone who used only a clipboard, and didn’t actually understand about the surgery itself?  Clearly not.

And you shouldn’t invest in home improvements without a good diagnosis, either.  I’ve talked about what a good home energy audit should look like several times before.  (See also see earlier posts, our website, or a video description.)  But it looks like we’ll have to repeat it as some of the wacky ideas can bounced around, even by some of the new hires at the Department of Energy (don’t you love it when policy ignores reality?) looking for the silver bullet, ignoring their own well-founded recommendations:

A professional auditor uses a variety of techniques and equipment to determine the energy efficiency of a structure. Thorough assessments often use equipment such as blower doors, which measure the extent of leaks in the building envelope, and infrared cameras, which reveal hard-to-detect areas of air infiltration and missing insulation.  (From the EERE website.)

 There are no silver bullets when it comes to making your home perform better.  But good science, proper assessments, and high quality installations can get you there.   It’s not that hard to do it right—but doing it wrong isn’t doing it right!


White House Releases “Recovery through Retrofit” report

October 19, 2009

On the White House Live today, Vice President Biden held an event releasing a new report Recovery Through Retrofit Report, that contains an action plan speeding up the adoption of home retrofits nationally and jump start a jobs recovery.   This plan is to address barriers without new money and by using authority the federal government already has.  Essentially, they’re trying to promote the type of retrofits that GreenHomes does today in New York, New Jersey, and Southern California to a wider audience through education, training and certification, and financing options.    They talked about home assessments using the latest tools and skills, and effective improvements. 

The announcement event can be watched on the White House You Tube channel.  You can also read more on the White House blog post

In today’s economy, people want to make their homes safer, more comfortable, and more energy-efficient, and crawling through attics and basements and air-sealing, duct-sealing, insulating, and installing high-efficiency heating and cooling equipment creates jobs right now, jobs that can’t be exported, and jobs that improve home economics and national energy security.  An idea whose time has surely come.


GreenHomes Energy Videos

October 5, 2009
We’ve collected several of our initial video which illustrate various home energy topics in both our video library and on You Tube

video libraryYou can find out about home energy audits, replacement windows, air-sealing, solar hot water, with plenty of more topics on the way.  Hope you find it helpful–and bookmark it if you do!


LEED and Heretics

May 7, 2009

Camden Watts has an interesting post about her very broad view of a session by Henry Gifford at the recent ACI conference.  Henry talked about the shortcomings from an energy performance perspective of LEED buildings.   He hits the nail on the head.   Frankly, relying on modeling complex buildings is difficult and imprecise, and many put why too much stock in these models, whether for LEED or for other purpose to estimate energy savings.  We’ve found modeling usually off and often wildly overpredicting savings.   At the end of the day, the models mean nothing.  What’s important is the actual performance of the building–whether a large commercial building or a single family home–from energy, comfort, and health and safety perspectives.   Thanks, Henry for the session–and thanks Camden from coming at this from an angle I hadn’t looked at it before!


NY Times Op-Ed on Renovating Buildings

April 6, 2009

There’s an interesting Op-Ed in today’s NY Times about the importance of renovating older buildings. 


Right on!  One caveat about a recommendation in the article.  Energy audits generally don’t save energy.  To do that you actually need to make the necessary improvements—and if you’re hiring a contractor, make sure they understand the diagnosis and root source of any problem, that the install the measures according to current best practices and the recommendations of EPA and DOE.  [Using a BPI accredited contractor is a good place to start.]   And insist that they test-out after the work is done to verify the performance of the work and that any combustion equipment in your home is operating safely.



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