(Barry Byers)

I Did A Do-It-Yourself Home Energy Audit

When we partnered with Energy Star I noticed a section called Do-It-Yourself Home Energy Audits. So I thought I would check it out.

First – Locate air leaks: “Check to see if air can flow through these places: electrical outlets, switch plates, window frames, baseboards, weather stripping around doors, fireplace dampers, attic hatches, wall- or window-mounted air conditioners.” I checked. There is one small place around the wall-mounted air conditioner, the rest are doing fine with no significant air leak. In fact, when I turn on my ERV to bring in fresh air there aren’t enough places for air in-flow, and I get a vacuum effect unless I open a window.

Second – More air leaks: “Check around pipes, wires, foundation seals, caulking, windows. Consider replacing your windows.” In my Monolithic Dome home, everything is sealed with polyurethane foam. No leaks. The windows are good, double-paned and energy-rated.

Third – Check the outside of the home: Check for air leaks, where two different building materials meet. The Monolithic Dome is one single piece. There are no connections for air leaks to develop.

Fourth – Insulation: Check the R-value, thicknesses in the attic, vapor barriers and insulate to at least R-19. My Monolithic Dome has an effective R-value of 60, and the polyurethane foam provides the best vapor barrier of any insulation available.

Fifth – Heating/Cooling Equipment: The recommendation is to change filters every month or two and if your units are more than 15 years old, consider replacing with a newer, more energy-efficient system. My little home only needs two Energy Star rated window units for our Texas heat. (Yes, I clean the filters.) Then for the winter I use two of the smallest space heaters you can buy. It doesn’t get much more efficient than that.

Sixth – Lighting: “Examine the wattage size of the light bulbs in your house…consider compact fluorescent lamps.” I only use the fluorescent lighting. These use very little energy, but also importantly do not add significant amounts of heat to the house, especially in the summer.

Well, my little Monolithic Dome home passed the Home Energy Audit beautifully. Now all I need to do is get my xeriscaping finished for a completely efficient home.