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Re: [hreg] Energy Audits and SRE

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  • JOHN GARDNER
    The complete HERS Home Energy Audit is performed by RESNET Certified home Raters. If you look on the RESNET website (www.resnet.us), you will find a Rater Code
    Message 1 of 2 , Apr 21, 2008
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      The complete HERS Home Energy Audit is performed by RESNET Certified home Raters.
      If you look on the RESNET website (www.resnet.us), you will find a Rater Code of Ethics. A few of these are:
       
      Raters shall commit to objectivity and neutrality in conducting a rating and in making any recommendations.
       
      Raters shall make no representations regarding their services or qualifications that are false or misleading in any material respect
       
      Raters shall fully disclose all applicable charges, as well as the general scope and deliverables or services, prior to conducting a home energy rating or providing other services
       
      Raters shall avoid conflicts of interest with regard to their professional activities and financial interests, When a Rater becomes reasonably aware that an actual or potential conflict of interest exists, the Rater shall not provide services until full disclosure has been made to the client and Rating Provider, and the conflict is waived in writing by all parties.
       
      Raters shall inform their clients that they have the right to obtain competitive bids for any work to be performed on a home by the Rater or Rating Provider.
       
      Raters shall report violations of this Code or other concerns regarding the professional conduct of other raters to the RESNET Executive Director for review and possible remedial action.
       
      If the homeowner feels there is a conflict of interest or a misunderstanding, they should ask for the following info:
      1) I need a copy of your RESNET Raters Certificate.
      2) Who (name and phone) is the Raters Provider.
       
      At that point they should contact the provider and or RESNET and discuss the issue. If the Rater is at fault, their certification can be withdrawn or put on suspension.
       
      This is an unregulated activity at this point in time. I suspect this will change in the near future to maintain the integrity of the industry and particularly the "Energy Star " good name.
       
      There are many cities around the country that are thinking of requiring HERS ratings on all new construction and recommending it be done on a resale. There are examples where an existing "Energy Star" home is for sale and does not pass the rating qualifications for an "Energy Star " home. This could be because the codes have changed and it does not meet the new standards or it could mean the "Energy Star" label was inappropriately applied when the house was built. Either way the new buyer and the owner have a problem that has to be resolved.
       
      There is no reason why a Rater and their company cannot provide the Rating service and the improvements as long as the homeowner is comfortable with that and all disclosures have been made.
       
      John Gardner
       


       
      ----- Original Message ----
      From: Chris Boyer <boyer.chris@...>
      To: HREG <hreg@yahoogroups.com>
      Sent: Sunday, April 20, 2008 5:37:44 PM
      Subject: [hreg] Energy Audits and SRE

      Energy Audits help people identify where they are wasting energy; and, on new home construction, keep builders honest about what they are building.  With rising energy costs, efficiency is becoming a necessity.  It is a new industry, and a lot is happening as the industry matures - good and bad.  Many homes were built during an era when energy was cheap, and not much thought was put into saving energy - now with high energy prices, these homes are sick.  I like John Miggin's analogy comparing an energy audit to a doctor visit.  And Stephanie had good points too; the next time I buy a home, I will get an energy inspection.
       
      How can you be sure that a company will give you a good energy audit? 
      1)  Look for certification.
      2)  Look for experience.
      3)  Pay when you get the report, not before
      4)  Is the company primarily selling one service (like Air Conditioning) and the energy audit strangely focuses on that service?
      5)  You get what you pay for...(don't trust anything free)
      6)  Ask what you get from the energy audit before signing up.
      7)  A good energy audit will show you where you are wasting energy.  It will tell you several ways how you can fix it.  And, it will give you a payback calculation on each recommendation.
       
      Tony of Beacon Energy gave a great presentation at an HERG meeting last year on the energy audits that his companies performs.  I think everyone who came to the meeting was impressed and agreed that the energy audits were valuable.  Would the HREG group like to see another presentation on Energy Audits this year?
       
      Kim brougth up a good point about the ethics of Energy Audits, and the industry is having that problem.  There are many companies that sell one service, and the energy audit is a way of pushing that service on the customer.  That is not good.  But let's not shoot down all energy audit companies.  We need good companies that will do these audits.  Beacon Energy and Standard Renewable Energy are both HREG business members - I'd start with them.
       
      Standard Renewable Energy (SRE) performs awesome energy audits.  There is a basic audit and a more expensive comprehensive audit.  They do recommend how to improve your energy bill and they provide the home owner with all the services - some they do themselves and some they sub-contract out.  They are not trying to sell any one service - they are trying to give people the best solution and the means of achieving it.  They also tell people about solar energy options in the audit report.  They are not being sneaky - they clearly state the cost and benefits.  They are educating people about what solar can do, and I hope that is not objectionalbe to this group.  (Note: NewPoint Energy Solutions was a division of Standard Renewable Energy, but just got rid of division names and now use the parent name.)
       
      As Director of Technology at SRE, I'm on the team that screens through the "energy savings" options that are out there and qualify them as real.  Other people on the team are experts in building construction, HVAC, lighting, etc.  There are a host of energy saving gadgets out there that are scams.  For example, Radiant Barriers can only help a small fraction of homes in the Houston area.  And out of the hundred or so of radiant barrier products, only a few really have good "emmisivity" properties.  We won't recommend it unless it will help, and we will only recommend a product that works.
       
      Green Mountain agreed to advertise SRE's energy audit services because Green Mountain has a mission statement to be "Green" and they are living that by helping customers reduce their energy bill.  In addition, there are so many customer in Texas that want renewable energy, that demand is overrunning supply.  The only way to keep renewable energy at a competitive price with coal is to have renewable energy consumers reduce their demand.  The customer aquisition cost (marketing) is a large part of the energy audit cost, so by having Green Mountain advertise, SRE can offer the audit at a lower price.  It is a win situation for GM, SRE & the customer.
       
       
       
       
       
       

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