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What is energy efficiency?

If something delivers either more services for the same energy input, or the same services for less energy input, it is energy efficient. Two examples: An LED light bulb uses 10% of the energy required for an incandescent bulb to produce the same amount of light so it is more energy efficient. A direct vent-condensing furnace that’s 90% efficient uses as much as 50% less gas than an 80% furnace that is vented through a chimney and requires cold make-up air. That’s energy efficiency.

How much does an energy audit cost?
Whole house Energy Audits can range from $250 to $500 depending on the size of the home. A simple walk-through audit without the use of diagnostic equipment like the blower door and infrared camera can be done for $100. Energy Audits pay for themselves by uncovering major and minor leaks of energy that add up to big utility bills over time.

​What kind of report should I expect to get from a contractor after the assessment?
Once the assessment is completed, we will provide you with a report including information about the existing conditions of your home as well as recommendations to make your home more energy efficient.

Are government incentives available for energy efficiency?
Yes. In New Jersey there is the Home Performance with Energy Star program that will provide $2000 to $5000 rebates for energy savings of 10% to 25% or more using eligible measures that include at least air leakage reduction. Additional eligible measures include heating system, cooling equipment, water heater and building shell insulation. These incentives plus the energy savings can cover half the cost of the upgrades in the first year. Most systems pay for themselves within 5 or 6 years while improving the resale value of your home, and the comfort level! This rebate program requires that you use a Building Performance Institute (BPI) certified professional, which we have on staff.

What is BPI?
The Building Performance Institute (BPI) is a national resource for building science technology that sets standards for assessing and improving energy performance of homes. The Home Performance with ENERGY STAR Program requires participating contractors to be BPI certified, which means they are qualified to utilize advanced diagnostic equipment to test a home and identify high-priority energy efficiency improvements.

Where are the biggest air leaks in my home?
Some air leaks are easy to find because you can feel them like those around windows, doors, and through electrical outlets. Many are hidden air leaks in attics, basements, and around chimneys, and these are often more significant sources of energy loss. Addressing these big leaks first will have a greater impact on improving your comfort and reducing your utility bills. A blower door test is used to find these.

What is a blower door test?
The blower door is a door insert with a large fan. After closing all windows in the home, the fan is used to create pressure in the home equal to a 20 mph wind.  During the test, you can feel with your hand where your home is losing heat. With the home under pressure, the technician can determine the leakage rate of your home and compare this rate to industry standards. Typically, older homes have high leakage rates. Occasionally a home may have a leakage rate considered to be too low, and the home may require the assistance of mechanical ventilation to maintain acceptable moisture levels.

How do I know whether to add insulation to my home?
Have a professional energy auditor (like us) check out your home’s insulation levels. A proper insulating system includes a combination of products and construction techniques that protect a home from outside hot or cold temperatures, protect it against air leaks, and control moisture. You can increase the comfort of your home while reducing your energy use by investing in proper insulation and sealing air leaks.

Insulate your home when:

• You have an older home and haven't added insulation. 

• You are too cold in the winter or hot in the summer

• You build a new home, addition, or install new siding or roofing.

• You pay high energy bills.

What maintenance do heating and cooling systems require?
Many furnaces will operate much more efficiently and effectively if you change the filter at least twice a year.

How will energy efficiency help during a power outage?
With proper air-sealing and insulation, a small space heater could keep a large room warm enough thereby saving on your generator fuel, solar battery backup, or preserving the heat that is there.

What home energy improvements are the best investments?
An energy audit will identify where in your home energy is being wasted and prioritize the projects required to fix those areas. The result is aimed at reducing the amount of energy the home requires to operate and keep occupants comfortable. A home energy audit is just the first step in the process of lowering energy bills by making a home more efficient. Energy audits range from simple walk-throughs to more elaborate services performed by trained professionals.

Can a setback thermostat save money?
A thermostat is an on/off switch that turns your furnace on when the temperature drops below a set point. The thermostat maintains the temperature indoors within a narrow range. It works the same way for central air-conditioning in the summer. The EPA says homeowners can save about $180 a year by properly setting their programmable thermostats.  See Programmable Thermostats for more information on this topic.

How can low-flow showerheads and nozzles reduce energy?
Thanks to new technology, today’s super-efficient low-flow showerheads save water, reduce your energy bills, and still feel good to use. With the new generation of ultra-efficient showerheads, you can reduce hot water use—and energy consumption, up to 50% while still enjoying a luxurious, powerful spray. Before 1992, showerheads pumped out five or more gallons per minute (gpm), accounting for nearly 20% of indoor water use. Federal law cut that to 2.5 gallons, but the latest water-saving models do better still with 36% further reduction over a standard low-flow showerhead.

Are there any energy-efficiency opportunities when replacing my roof?
Energy-savings opportunities can be achieved by carefully choosing Energy Star roofing materials when possible. Some areas to consider when upgrading your roof include:
Insulation: When specifying or replacing a roof, insulation can be placed under the roof.
 • Radiant Barriers: In addition to traditional insulation, radiant barriers save energy both in the summer and winter by re-directing radiant energy in the facility. • Cool Roofing: Lower heat gain in buildings by reflecting the sun's radiant energy, and reducing air-conditioning use. To learn more about energy-efficiency opportunities for roofing visit: ENERGY STAR Qualified Roof Products
With an energy audit, you’ll learn how to best reduce your gas and electricity loads. And, if you are considering going solar, after energy efficiency upgrades, you’ll require a smaller solar system. You could use the excess solar energy to charge your future electric vehicle!

​Call us to schedule your energy audit today at 732-681-5296

732-681-5296 • info@EcologicalWizard.com • PO Box 2014, ​Neptune City, NJ 07754