Over the span of the last two years, we have received a lot of questions regarding our services. We’ve collected the most common questions and created a FAQ page just for you.
Already own a home:
What is a home energy audit?
In summary, a home energy audit tests a home’s energy efficiency and identifies areas of wasted energy usage. Depending on the home’s eligibility, there are several tests that can be performed. One test is a blower door test, which tests the whole house air leakage. A second major test is a duct blaster test, which tests the leakage in the duct system. Our energy auditors also evaluate the insulation levels in walls, attic, and crawlspace, and also completes safety tests such as gas leakage and carbon monoxide tests. Unfortunately, we cannot determine which tests can be performed until we arrive at your home.
How much does the energy audit cost?
If you are an Entergy or SWEPCO customer, then the audit is FREE. If you have a different electric company, then you have the option of a walk-through audit for $75 or a full comprehensive audit for $300. The difference is that the comprehensive audit involves the blower door and duct blaster tests as mentioned in the previous question.
How do the utility incentive programs work?
Entergy and SWEPCO have funding available to spend towards energy efficiency for Arkansas homeowners within their respective service areas. As part of the program, the incentives cover the cost of an energy audit to determine if you have areas of improvement. The second tier of the program also offers incentives towards the energy improvements, which typically covers between 30-80% of the costs. The energy auditor calculates and reviews the incentive amounts with the homeowner at the end of the audit.
How long do the utility programs last?
The best answer for this question is as long as funding is available. Your best bet is to sign up for an energy audit right away to take advantage of incentives.
I live pretty far from your office. Can I still get an energy audit?
Yes, but we do charge a travel fee for those that are outside a 30-mile radius of our offices. However, if you have two friends or neighbors that sign up, we will waive the travel fee.
How long does an energy audit take?
It depends on the size and complexity of the house. It can be as little as 20 minutes to 4 hours.
How do I prepare for my audit?
Prior to your audit, please make sure there is access to all the rooms in the home including all the air vents, access to the heating and air unit(s), and full access to your attic and crawlspace (if applicable). If you have any pets or valuables, please make sure they are put away. Also, please have your electricity account number available for our auditors.
How much will energy improvements cost?
It depends on the complexity of the home and how many improvement measures you decide to complete. By having an energy audit done, the energy auditor can review areas of improvements, the costs associated with those improvements, and how much the utility incentives will cover.
I just need heating and air service. Do I need to schedule an energy audit?
No, an energy audit is not required but it is highly recommended.
Are there low-income programs available?
Yes, although Home Energy Rx does not have a low-income program available internally for single-family homes, you can apply for free low-income energy improvements at ElevateUs.org.
Thinking of building a home:
What is an energy rating?
Includes a computer based software analysis of a specific residential building and verification of as-built details. By analyzing the structure of the home based on specific R-values, equipment and appliance efficiencies, and construction detailing, we gain information where and how much energy is used within that home, both in Btu’s and $’s. This allows us to propose changes to any specific area that could create the most energy use savings. In turn the builder and the homeowner can look at budget of the construction and see where it would make most sense or create the best payback. During the process, an energy rater is a third party verifier and a QA/QC for the property owner and the builder. We do also provide all the resources and information to all parties to help build a most efficient home possible. Upon completion, nationally recognized final reports and any other additional Certifications are issued.
How much does it cost?
A new home energy rating start at $695 and go up from there depending on the services provided. Call (501) 414-8094 for more information.
How much can I expect to pay in utility bills after completion?
It’s all based on the size and type of the house. Each home is a different plan with different construction details, different surface areas, R-values, equipment efficiencies, window types, etc.. This can only be answered once modeling is done based on the proposed specifications. We can project savings from current code built similar home, but again, once the model is completed. The best value in an energy rating is that it allows us to see where to improve on energy usage but implementing the most cost effective measures. Each building component is shown how much energy it will require and the builder can estimate any proposed improvements. Simple air and duct sealing detailing, once implemented and verified by testing will generate savings that pay for themselves. Most of the time batt insulation is installed poorly lowering the effectiveness of the R-value. Even though the builders and all the sub-contractors are professionals, that will not mean that they will provide professional quality during construction, especially what is behind the walls, in the attic or under the house, out of view of the home buyer or owner. An energy rating is also Quality Assurance / Quality Control, by a third party verification.
Does an energy rating increase the value of my home?
Yes but that is ultimately determined by the appraiser. The HERS rating system is approved by the US Mortgage Industry and part of our rating report contains documents that are for the appraisal and mortgage purposes. The New Home Energy Efficient Mortgage Report will show the monthly energy savings from the energy efficiency improvements as well as the increased Value from these savings. The appraisers and the mortgage banks have a hard time figuring this in and is often difficult to process unless you do find a knowledgeable appraiser and home builder.
Currently renting a home:
Can I still benefit from an energy audit as a tenant?
Yes, you can still benefit from an energy audit if you are an Entergy or SWEPCO/SourceGas customer. Please have your landlord call us at 800-585-8888 or have him/her visit our Rent Homes Program for more information.
I manage/own rent homes. Can I participate?
Yes, there are free programs available for eligible rent homes within the Entergy or SWEPCO/SourceGas service areas. We work with both owners and property management companies to complete energy-efficiency improvements. Please visit our Rent Homes Program for more information.
Are programs available for public housing, condos, town homes, or multi-family apartments?
Yes, there are free programs available for public housing, condos, and town homes within the Entergy or SWEPCO/SourceGas service areas. Each building structure must be a four-plex or smaller and have central heat and air. See our Public Housing Program for more information.
For multi-family apartments, if the buildings are four-plex or smaller, they may be eligible under our Rent Homes Program if within the Entergy or SWEPCO/SourceGas service areas. If they are larger than four-plex, there is only one program available if within SWEPCO service area (doesn’t have to be in SourceGas area). They must also be 100% electric. See our Multi-Family Programs for more information.