Homeowners encouraged to have energy audits done

Published 8:00 pm Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Energy inefficiency in homes can lead to higher bills and lower quality of life.

Local energy professionals advise homeowners have an energy audit completed so those problems are alleviated.

A home energy audit can be completed at a $50 out-of-pocket cost for a homeowner, said Freeborn-Mower Cooperative Services Director of Energy Services Mike Murtaugh. The rest of the $275 cost is covered by Freeborn-Mower. Half of the $225 cost is shared between the entity and Minnesota Energy Resources for natural gas customers.

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“It’s our No. 1 suggestion when people call and want to do something about lowering their usage,” Murtaugh said of conducting a home energy audit.

Greg Ernst, energy consultant for G.A. Ernst & Associates, conducted an energy audit of a house Murtaugh owns on Wednesday.

“It’s going to be helpful for knowing what we need to do when we remodel,” said Murtaugh, who added he learned there might be a need for radon mitigation, and he discussed addressing ventilation in the house.

“This is the No.1 thing you can do to find out what’s going on,” he said.

Ernst said audits include evaluating gas and electricity use, determining costs associated with heating and cooling homes, refrigeration costs and deciding whether appliances for heating and cooling should be replaced.

An inspection of the building is conducted to determine airtight and insulation levels.

“It’s kind of a three-pronged approach, starting with the equipment, moving on to thermal envelope and then durability — durability being ventilation,” Ernst said.

There are multiple reasons to conduct a home audit, he said, including improving home comfort and the home’s durability, as well as reducing energy costs.

Anyone interested in conducting an energy audit can contact Freeborn-Mower Cooperative Services or Minnesota Energy Resources.

About Sam Wilmes

Sam Wilmes covers crime, courts and government for the Albert Lea Tribune.

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