“In June of 2009, the City of Austin will implement the energy audit ordinance, which essentially states that 1-4 family homes 10 years or older are required to have an energy audit performed by a certified auditor . It is the seller™s responsibility to present the audit report before closing. This audit will consist of 4 primary steps:
- Check weather stripping on doors
- Check for solar/shade screens on windows facing west, south, and east
- Check R-value of attic insulation
- Perform a duct pressure test on HVAC ducts to locate leaks.
Many Home Performance contractors already offer this level of testing. They also offer more detailed audits that can include thermographic inspection using an infrared camera, a blower door test, and a duct blaster test. So it™s safe to assume these professionals will be a top choice by consumers to perform the Austin audits.
Using a Home Performance contractor would be an advantage if the homeowner is planning on making the suggested upgrades, as they™re prepared to do the actual work. A disadvantage might include having to sit through a sales pitch, and be persuaded to undertake more work than necessary.
Home Inspectors are another group of professionals to consider. Codes of conduct disallow inspectors from doing work on homes they inspect, thus avoiding conflicts of interest. Aspects of the energy audit are already part of the normal course of a home inspection. Approximate depth of attic insulation, condition of door weatherstripping, and condition (though not type) of window screens, are noted in an inspection. I would expect that many home inspectors will become certified to perform the Austin audits.
For some, the choice of auditor might become an issue of timing. If a seller is having a pre-inspection done, it might be practical to have the inspector perform the audit at that time. The seller will then have more time to decide on a course of action. For others, it may just be a matter of œcheapest and quickest. It will be interesting to see how this all plays out in the market”
You can read more about the Austin Climate Protection Plan in a prior article.