Piedmont Connect and StopWaste offer “Home Energy Score” assessment

Piedmont Connect and StopWaste recently hosted a tour of a Piedmont home that just completed a Home Energy Score assessment.

The cost for an assessments ranges between $350 to $450 and provides the homeowner with information on how to reduce greenhouse gas emission associated with heating and powering the home.

See images of the Piedmont Home Energy Tour below to see what’s involved in an assessment.

Tools of the trade (left to right): Manometer to measure air pressure, gas leak detector, combustion analyzer for carbon monoxide. (Lower Left) Bamboo eating utensils in blue case, courtesy of StopWaste, save water and energy to heat water and eliminate plastic utensils, which are difficult or impossible to compost even when they say they are compostable.
A large fan is part of the blower door used to determine how leaky (drafty) a house is. The faster the fan needs to blow air to keep the house at a certain pressure, the more the home leaks. This Piedmont house was twice as leaky as it should be for indoor air Quality. Typical sources of leaks include windows, doors, fireplaces and around the pipes under sinks. Air draft sealing is usually the least expensive thing you can do to save energy.
Peter Waring of Hassler Heating explains that a duct blaster can be used to determine leakage of a home’s duct system. The average home’s ducts leak 30%, i.e., 30% of the air that you pay to warm up or cool down at your furnace/AC never makes it back into your home. It leaks out in the attic or crawlspace. Leaky return ducts can also be a source of contamination by sucking air in from your attic or crawlspace.
Jeffrey Liang (left) of StopWaste demonstrates an infrared camera, which shows heat leaking down through the floor into the basement (right). This can be reduced by installing insulation between the floor joists.
The home’s furnace is relatively new. Between the furnace and the duct is an air filter. This air filter is tightly sealed, but often air filter cabinets leak and suck in air from the surrounding space. The furnace in the Attic is older and prone to spill combustion gases. A heat pump & air handler would be three to four times more energy efficient than these gas furnaces.
Heat pump water heaters and on-demand (tankless) water heaters are more efficient than this older tank-style water heater, which is also prone to emitting carbon monoxide into the space around it. If there had been a leak at the air filter of the nearby furnace, carbon monoxide could be sucked in and blown throughout the home.
The attic is the first place to insulate to improve a home’s energy efficiency, while the basement would be the second priority. This home has some attic insulation but could benefit from more insulation after the old knob and tube wiring is removed. Walls are usually the most expensive to insulate because they can require drilling and filling with holes in every stud bay.
Double-pane windows are another way to improve a home’s energy efficiency, but they cost much more than air sealing and insulation.

For more information, contact Peter Waring of Hassler Heating at Peter@hasslerheating.com or 415-717-569.

To get involved with Piedmont Connect, emailpiedmontconnect@gmail.com.

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