There are a number of things that get checked when your building is audited for energy usage. While an audit may sound bad, it is actually very helpful in finding ways to make your building energy efficient and in the end saving you money. Here are the things that Highlands Energy will check for you:
- Outdated Windows
- Inefficient HVAC
- Gas Appliance Ventilation
- Lead Paint
- Moisture and Mold
Eighty percent of all inspections done by Highlands Energy find outdated windows. Outdated windows can cost you a lot of money because they let in too much heat or too much cold causing the heat and AC to run too often. Changing outdated windows will make your building more energy efficient. There are two types of energy efficient windows: dual-panes and low-E coatings. Dual pane windows consist of two panes of glass with an air or gas chamber in between them. The chamber acts as a buffer against temperature changes and to reduce noise. Low-E coated windows block out infrared light out in order to keep the heat out in the summer and to hold the heat in during the winter. They also block harmful UV rays, which can cause furniture and carpets to fade.
There are a number of ways that your HVAC system could be running inefficiently. A leaking vent or duct can cause heated or cooled air to make its way outside, instead of indoors as intended. Properly sealing your vents and air ducts with butyl tape or mastic will drastically improve energy efficiency.
Manual thermostats can cause problems if you are constantly trying to get the HVAC system to work harder for the temperature you want. It is better to have a programmable thermostat so that the heating and cooling is consistent and only being used when you need it.
It is important to have routine cleanings and replacements of air filters in order to maintain efficiency. By keeping your equipment maintained you can increase efficiency up to 15 percent. Old systems tend to be not as efficient as the newer ones and may need to be replaced. Seventy-two percent of all inspections on HVAC systems show inefficiencies.
There are risks and hazards associated with improper ventilation of gas appliances like carbon monoxide and fire hazards. Carbon monoxide can occur when fuel is incompletely burned and an improperly ventilated gas appliance leaks the toxic gas. Since carbon monoxide is colorless it often goes unnoticed until a test is done or an illness or death occurs. Gas leaks also pose as a fire hazard when exposed to an open flame, like a pilot light. Thirty-four percent of all inspections find problems with gas appliance ventilation, 50 percent find gas leaks, and 30 percent find fixable carbon monoxide issues.
Buildings constructed prior to 1978 may contain paint with lead additives. It was added to quicken the drying process, repel moisture, and increase durability. But since then, lead has been found to be a hazardous material and can cause many health issues, such as nervous system damage, kidney growth, and reproductive issues. If a building has lead based paint it is vital that it is removed properly. Improper removal can cause more issues such as lead dust filling the air which can damage the respiratory system. It is best to leave lead paint removal to trained professionals. Sixty-seven percent of all inspections find lead paint issues.
While mold is more common in areas that have high humidity, it can still be found as a result of roof leaks and plumbing issues. Over time mold can cause structural damage to walls, insulation, and other parts of your building. Mold can also cause health issues such as respiratory illnesses, allergic reactions, migraines, fatigue, and asthma. Mildew, while not as dangerous as mold, is still be a serious problem that should be taken care of. Inhaling mildew spores can cause headaches, coughs, and sore throat. Thirty-six percent of all inspections find untreated mold and mildew issues.
Asbestos was once a highly sought after material because of its fire resistant and insulating properties. It is now found to be a health risk when the fibers become airborne, entering the respiratory system. A few of the illnesses associated with asbestos exposure are asbestosis, a chronic lung disease that causes scarring of the lung tissue, and mesothelioma lung cancer. Sixty percent of all inspections in buildings built prior to 1975 find untreated asbestos related issues.
Energy audits can help you save money and ensure you and your employees’ safety. Highlands Energy will do a free comprehensive efficiency and safety audit for your building.
About Highlands Energy
Our mission is to provide effective energy solutions that make an immediate impact on the comfort, safety and bottom-line for families, schools, and commercial clients.