Reasons NOT to have a “Home Performance with Energy Star” assessment of your home
1) I work for the utility company and do not want to lose my job.
2) Houses need to breathe so that insulation and air sealing gets in the way.
3) My relatives work for the utility company and value their jobs.
4) I can’t afford it. Whatever happened to “free estimates”?
5) My rich uncle owns a utility company and maybe I’ll inherit it.
6) It is easier to just put on more layers of sweaters and outerwear.
7) I like sleeping in a cold room.
8) My ranch house is modern and therefore must be efficient.
9) We had a new home built and my builder said it was really efficient.
10) Older homes are always drafty and just cost a lot to heat.
11) I work out of the home most of the day and drinking alcohol gives me freeze protection.
12) Soon we’ll retire and move to Florida where we won’t need heat.
13) I installed CFL bulbs and had the “Express Energy” program install everything else.
Reasons TO have a “Home Performance with Energy Star” assessment of your home:
1) Major utilities actually support energy conservation programs like “Home Performance” because the cost of new power plants is so outrageous both in dollars, operational costs, and environmental impacts. One company proudly announced that utility wide conservation (i.e., insulation and air sealing) work allowed them to not build a planned power plant.
2) People and pets, not houses, need to breathe. Leakage reduction in homes by air sealing has the biggest return on your investment. Unfortunately, air sealing is mostly successful in those dark and musty spots where you do not want to go. Also, proper ventilation is a part of the “Home Performance” program.
3) Just don’t tell your relatives. Actually, if you invest in air sealing and insulation, you can gain the bragging rights of comfort, safety, and savings!
4) The multi-hour “Home Performance” assessment uses about $20,000 worth of equipment to investigate your home comfort and performance. You get what you pay for. A “free estimate” may not be the best choice.
5) Be honest, this is a pipe dream. That uncle will sell it to another utility to get money for his own retirement.
6) How many more layers do you put on to go outside? After insulation and air sealing, you can still keep the temperature low and wear your favorite sweaters and pocket the savings for home improvements, travel, or entertainment. You would be in control.
7) You can work your thermostat manually to sleep in a cold room, use an automatic setback thermostat for a cold sleep as well as heating up for the morning or scaling back at night before you go to bed.
8) Ranch houses are modern compared to historical homes but usually are not necessarily efficient. Many ranch houses have kitchen and bath drop soffits that are open to the unheated attic and sidewall cavities that often have only a partial batt of insulation. Or perhaps there is that crawlspace under the addition added to your ranch home.
9) New homes often are more efficient because energy codes require insulation around the foundation and exterior continuous foam over the stud walls. However, only new homes constructed through the federal “Energy Star” or Wisconsin “New Home” programs are tested and specify higher and better standards. Ask for other buyers experience with this builder’s homes more than taking his word for it.
10) This is just false and the reason why “Home Performance” programs exist and thrive. Air Sealing and insulation can work wonders in older houses and the thorough investigation and testing done confirms the good work. There is just no reason why your older home cannot be comfortable and safe, as well as saving you money.
11) Good luck with that strategy and life style. Actually, automatic thermostats exist that can lower the temperature of your home when you are away (thereby saving energy and money) and turn the heat on by the time you arrive home. If “adding antifreeze” out on the town, do not get a thermostat that can be controlled by your smart phone.
12) Actually, air sealing and insulation save you as much money on your summer air conditioning bill besides saving money on the winter heating bill. Air sealing and insulation are vital in southern climates for the same reasons: comfort, safety, and savings.
13) Many “free” utility programs that change light bulbs and add water saving items do save money. Such quickie programs gain savings by grabbing the easy savings that are cost effective (“low hanging fruit”). For your information, energy saving CFL bulbs and even one LED bulb are part of every “Home Performance” assessment of a home.