Should I Have an Energy Audit INSTEAD of a Home Inspection for a Home I Want To Purchase?
We recently had an inquiry about whether or not a prospective buyer should get an energy audit instead of a home inspection before making the decision to purchase. This is a great topic, so we thought we should share some thoughts about this. First of all, an energy audit or energy evaluation, which is performed by a person that has specific certifications (to be discussed later), is NOT a substitute for a home inspection, which is performed by a Licensed Home Inspector.
For any potential buyers, we would encourage you to have an energy audit AND a home inspection performed. We (energy auditors) check overall systems, but a home inspector is looking for and at things more in depth that we do not touch. Keep in mind that you tend to get what you pay for with home inspections, so the cheapest is not necessarily the best. A home inspection by a licensed home inspector is a definite must prior to making a purchase decision. We (energy auditors) may notice and make note of moisture issues, foundation cracks, or glaring roof issues along with the other things we check during an energy audit; however, we are not qualified to tell you whether a foundation crack or moisture issue is causing serious structural damage – for example. We are there to primarily address comfort and efficiency issues during an Energy Audit. We run a blower door test on each home we evaluate, and this give us an overall picture of the amount of air leakage your home has to the outdoors. Read more about this important test on our blog. (What is a blower door test?)
Energy auditor certifications can vary from person to person and company to company. However, there are two main organizations in the United States that offer certifications that are considered to be the standard for energy auditors. BPI (Building Performance Institute) is an authority on certifying Building Analysts and Infiltration and Duct Leakage Professionals, and RESNET (Residential Energy Services Network) certifies HERS® (Home Energy Rating System) Raters. The staff members at Eco Three have certifications from BPI and RESNET, so you can feel confident you will get a quality audit every time.
Regardless of whether you opt for an energy audit, we suggest potential buyers definitely ask for power and gas bills or amounts for the last year or two, and ask if the current or previous tenant lived there full time (as we have seen some people think they are getting an efficient home with low bills only to discover that the previous owner only lived there part-time.) Also, ask the realtor what, if any, energy efficient upgrades have been done.
You may also want to ask if the seller would pay for us to do an audit. The audit includes a comprehensive report and customized scope with line item pricing for recommendations. If you decide to purchase the home and have an Energy Audit, then there are options for financing energy efficient upgrades from Eco Three as part of an Energy Efficient Mortgage or Energy Improvement Mortgage where all are bundled into one mortgage. Super convenient, right? Check out this page with more information. (http://www.resnet.us/energy-mortgage-faqs)
Feel free to call our office (Birmingham and surrounding areas 205-314-3500 or Gulf Coast Area: 251-615-1330) or email us for more information (firstname.lastname@example.org).