The Green Gauge: Engage in your Homes Potential
By Marcus Renner
Savvy homeowners and buyers realize that a green, energy efficient home adds value while saving money and resources. What is the best way to find out if a home is efficient and sustainable? The Western North Carolina Green Building Council’s Green Gauge Assessment is a low-cost inspection that rates a home according to the U.S. Department of Energy’s Home Energy Score (HES) and documents the sustainable (or green) features in the home.
Green Gauge is perfect for existing homes or new homes that don’t use a rating system during construction. During a Green Gauge Home Assessment, homes are rated for energy efficiency based on the U.S. Department of Energy’s Home Energy Score (HES) criteria.
Each home receives a score on a scale of 1-10, a score of 10 indicates that it is incredibly efficient. Homes are also evaluated for a variety of other factors including water usage, indoor air quality, and building material sustainability. After the assessment, participants receive a straightforward, comprehensive report with recommendations on how to improve upon home efficiency and sustainability.
During the Green Gauge Assessment, an Assessor will thoroughly examine all areas of the home including the interior, attic, basement, crawlspace and exterior. Windows and doors, walls, roof, foundations, heating systems and landscaping will be documented and assessed for energy efficiency. Diagnostic tools including blower door analysis, infrared imaging and zonal pressure testing will pinpoint and quantify areas of air leakage. The assessment is a lot like taking your car to the mechanic; the house is plugged into diagnostic equipment and given a through once over.
If the home receives a low score, don’t worry. The assessment will list recommendations to improve the score and increase energy efficiency. Scores can be recalculated once the improvements are made. In fact, the Green Gauge Assessment will measure the potential carbon footprint reduction made once the improvements are in place.
One important outcome of an assessment is the discovery of issues such as mold, water leaks, and foundation problems. Left undiscovered, these findings can cause real and expensive damage to a home and affect the health of occupants. Green Gauge assessors look at a home with an eye for durability as durability and longevity are an often overlooked sustainable attribute.
A Green Gauge report is a great way for home builders and sellers to document the “green” features and efficiency of a home. A high Home Energy Score is enticing to buyers as it confirms that they are purchasing an energy efficient home. It can also be a valuable tool for potential homeowners who want to know how factors such as energy and water usage will impact their overall cost of homeownership. Not buying or selling? Green Gauge can help you identify ways to save money, increase comfort and indoor air quality, reduce the home’s carbon footprint, and take advantages of local utility rebates
To learn more or schedule you Green Gauge Assessment visit www.wncgbc.org.
Marcus Renner has worked in most sectors of residential sustainable building for over 22 years. He owns Conservation Pros, a residential and commercial building performance retrofitting firm. With over 1,500 buildings weatherized and 1,000 energy audits, Marcus and Conservation Pros bring the most experience to your home or workplace.