Today the utility companies hire outside companies to conduct these so called "free" energy audits. The objective is to point out the most profitable making energy saving steps. Profitable for the auditing company who wants you to sign an agreement to pay them to do all the work to save yourself (the homeowner) some energy and money.
However, the audits are far from complete and lack comprehension since the entire audit fails to cover every possibility in all areas of the house. These companies will "WOW" you by bringing in exhaust fans and set them up in your front door to create negative pressure inside the house. This is very impressive and is telling if the house has leaks and infiltration of outside air. Well, no fooling Sherlock, all houses have leaks. The KEY is to know how to evaluate the situation and find where all the infiltration is actually occurring so you can consider a specific fix!
These companies come in and to make money they have to get a signed contract from you to allow them to install more insulation, a new heating system, or a new central air conditioner. The contract will have you making payments for 15 to 20 years and your payback would be in 21 years. (I am not pulling numbers from thin air, these are numbers from friends who had these audits done and the numbers were atrocious while ignoring a multitude of actions that are more affordable with paybacks of only a couple of years or a few months.)
When I managed the Energy Saving department for the utility that I worked for, we recommended steps based on feasibility, payback, and we were not there looking to implement the recommendations! We left the "When, Who, and How," up to the homeowners.
We point out approximate payback times for each suggestion we make and we charge a fee. Yes, our Going True Green Sustainability Audits are not free. Let them be on site or done by Skype or FaceTime, our fee is based on the time it takes to conduct a complete audit. Your payback on our fee will be less than one year when you implement between one and three energy saving actions we recommended. And we leave the implementations up to you. Hire who you trust, negotiate your best price, and do the work when the time is feasible for you.
Now, if you have any questions or concerns when dealing with a contractor and you are hearing a different story from them that will cost you more money than originally anticipated, we are still available to help. Let it be to confirm facts or squash out a bunch of lies. We will give you the verbiage and questions to ask that will put any contractor's ability to "spin the truth" into a tailspin.
I will never tell friends to have one of these Free energy audits again, they are not like the energy audits I conducted back at the start and if you had one done already, don't hesitate to contact us with questions before signing any contract. We will be happy to help with free info and my free blogs! However, we will need to charge if you hire us to conduct one of our sustainability house audits, because we cover every detail and we are very proud of our work, which does in fact have great value. Thank you.
Bill Lauto, at GoingTrueGreen.com
International Sustainability and Energy Consultant
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