I had the opportunity today to see my first in-person home energy audit on Spokane’s South Hill. I attended the official launch of Avista’s two-year Home Energy Audit pilot program. In partnership with Spokane, Spokane Valley and Spokane County, Avista is operating an audit program that provides comprehensive home energy audits in Spokane County.
The three government partners have pledged nearly $700,000 in federal stimulus funding, which will be matched by Avista as part of its ongoing energy efficiency initiative. Together, these funds will help offset a large portion of the cost for a professional home energy audit for qualifying residents. Get all the details here.
The first thing that really struck me about the audit was how comprehensive it really was and how in just a few hours, the homeowner was armed with a wealth of actionable information on how he could most effectively make energy efficiency repairs and modifications. He’ll also get a detailed report shortly after the audit is conducted.
A blower-door test helps show where air is
leaking into a home - and where your energy
is being wasted.
The most visible demonstration from the audit was the blower door test. A massive fan is attached to the home’s front door which simulates a 20 mph wind gust hitting the outside of every wall of the home. Then you can feel (and even see, in some cases), where air is leaking into the home. During this audit, a number of unsuspecting places in the home’s basement and second story showed obvious leaks.
Crawl spaces, a pet door and pipes were key items, but to my surprise, the home’s older windows actually held up quite well. What a waste it would have been had the homeowner spent thousands of dollars on new windows, when the windows weren’t really contributing to much of the home’s energy losses.
Every home is different and everyone’s use of energy is unique to their lifestyle, which is why a detailed audit is so important when making decisions about energy efficiency. Our audit program should help get the ball rolling for many interested homeowners in Spokane County.
I also took some video of the kickoff event, and will get that posted to the blog soon.