I think you all should read the last paragraph of this Washington Post article.

Hence: http://www.nachi.org/home-energy-inspection.htm

This is a great idea and much needed area of service. I will be looking into adding this to my services in the near future.

What’s with the lower cost?

Lead generation for full audits on homes that score poorly.

You wouldn’t buy a car without asking how many miles-per-gallon it gets, would you?

So why would a home buyer even think of buying a house without knowing how much the utility bills will be?

Home buyers are starting to ask about home energy, “How much does this home cost to operate?”

Historically, only energy auditors have been able to provide that answer (at $400-$600).

Now, thanks to InterNACHI, home inspectors can provide affordable energy inspections.

Check it out - http://www.nachi.org/home-energy-inspection.htm

You can have the owner/seller show the last 12-24 months of utility bills. This is what’s been done in my area for the last 20 or more years.

What’s the fee per report on this system? I’m playing around with it using my own house as a sample, the finished reports look nice. And will it be considered comparable to a HERS rating?

Insulation and window salesmen (along with some HVAC guys) plan to give this home energy score thingy away for free to get their foot in the door to upsell their products and services. Those who are discussing a fee are shooting in the $35 to $50 range. There are several group forums on Linkedin discussing this.

DOE designed it with the intention to be cheap for home owners (thinking that the lower the price, the greater the participation), which is why it omits any diagnostic testing necessary for legitimate audits or performance evaluations. There is not too much enthusiasm for it right now.

This INACHI version is not official (and it is NOT comparable to a HERS rating or even the planned DOE Home Energy Score) … but, frankly, the official version is about as useless as this and DOE is having a rought time selling it to potential participants. Utilizing old utility bills is even more useless since a family of six moving into a home that recently housed a bedridden Grandmother living alone for her last two years of life (and thousands of other similar examples) is going to see drastically different energy use and associated costs.

These efficiency calculators are all over the internetand are free to anyone wanting to do it themselves.

Home inspectors do have a lot to offer the energy efficiency industry … but these* “ratings”* and* “scores”* have very little to offer home inspectors, IMO.

I think one of the main purposes is to generate awareness amongst homebuyers regarding energy use.

There was a time (in my lifetime) when almost no one performed home inspections.

Overall consumer demand generation is still an obstacle.

I’ve run the NACHI HES against the same house I rated in REM Rate and there is some results that are close and others that are way off. The last house I did the two were way different in lighting and appliance usage. I’m not sold on it yet but I’m keeping my eye on it.

Again, no one is going to save money. They may save energy, but these utility companies will NEVER lose money; they WILL raise rates. Here in KC, our electric company applied to the states of Kansas and Missouri to raise rates 12% to everyone already. So, home owners will have to slash their energy usage by 12% just to stay even.

How do they do that? Spend $6K on new HVAC, $3k on new appliances, $2K on insulation, $5K on windows?

Good luck with that. This is only a major nationwide scam to get home owners to spend money to these contractors, and to get the utility people to raise their rates. It is a win/win for these people, at the cost of the pockets of consumers. Home owners are not stupid, as most governments think they are. JB has it right also.

Weather plays a part, number of occupants, number of pets, even the age of children who leave lights on and doors open. NACHI even has an inspection article on how to save energy. There are thousands of free tips on the internet. I offer over 10 pages of free energy saving tips to every client.

This is not going to happen, IMHO.

The biggest obstacle, IMO.


The Home Energy Inspection Tool is much better than just “utility bills.”
For one - the tool allows you to enter the number of people that are going to move into the house, and the report is based upon that.
Utility bills reflects the current occupants use - who cares about that?

The Home Energy Inspection Tool is much better than just “utility bills.”
For one - the tool allows you to enter the number of people that are going to move into the house, and the report is based upon that.
Utility bills reflects the current occupant’s use - who cares about that? Lookin’ at the bills is just not enough - and hardly worth paying an inspector for.

We have recently updated the algorithms for calculating appliances. The lighting is next, but the DOE likes to recommend the “low hanging fruit.” It’s very easy for homeowners to replace old light bulbs with newer, efficient ones. And that’s the DOE intention of making those recommendations. Engage homeowners in doing some home energy improvements that are easy. And for those major improvement projects, the report should connect to home performance contractors.

Energy auditors are trying to get to the space that home inspectors occupy.
And today, homeowners are starting to ask questions about “energy.”

How much will this house cost to operate? Does it waste energy, and will it waste my money?

Auditors are saying that THEY, more than any other type of inspector, can provide that answer… for about $300.

They’re starting to compete. Energy auditors will do anything to be in your position. They’ll fight, scratch, claw, bite, cheat, steal, anything, do anything to get where you (the home inspector) are.

I suggest we’d better start saying something about “energy”.

What would happen if tomorrow thousands of REALTORS recommend to their home-buying clients that energy auditors (who can do some home inspection stuff too) may be of better service?

Let’s secure our place - by talking “energy”.

More like $450 to $850, actually. It won’t get down to the typical “home inspector $300” for a few more years and after I retire, hopefully.

You are correct in much of your post, though, Ben … but there is this very important consideration.

Home owners who pay energy auditors expect to be entitled, from their audits and subsequent improvements, the benefits of energy efficiency mortgages, state and federal tax credits and rebates and utility company rebates and other incentives — in addition to the improved levels of comfort, efficiency and indoor air quality to his home.

A home inspector who simply passes a NACHI class, using the NACHI energy calculator and adding “energy auditor” to his business card will not be able to provide *any *of these benefits to his clients. Even at the cutrate fee of $300, his clients will actually be penalized for using him if he does not seek and obtain all of the required prerequisites.

Now, don’t get me wrong … inspectors do not need to seek and obtain every certification that is out there. For every government incentive that comes down the pipe, somebody will invent one or two new certifications to go with it. Just for this simple little $50 home energy score thingy that the DOE invented (and will make about $50 per for anyone willing to waste their time on it), there are four brand new certifications being developed with it that will make money for those who train in it and award it. Once you get all four … next year will bring six more that you “need”. Don’t waste your time.

Frankly, rebates and tax incentives are what is holding the industry back. People are not focused on the hundreds of dollars being saved, the cleaner environment, the increased levels of health or comfort … but, instead, are being directed to the “$50 rebate” on a new water heater. I think we need to get away from this, totally.

Inspectors should find a niche within the energy industry and carefully learn and become credentialed in their craft. Get a certification that will entitle your clients to something … and go for it. Don’t follow, but lead and don’t go cheap.

James makes some good points. But I do see how going out to a house and providing a HES score would only add a minimal amount of time and effort to my inspection. It would allow me to show the people who didn’t want to spend the extra $600 or so for an audit to see where the house stands. The problem is that most people won’t have the money to do the retrofits since they spent all their money on buying the home and they are probably not going to get the EEM so late in the process.

It is a nice add-on to a home inspection … but it does not replace the need for a full energy audit any more than calling out a 1/8" horizontal crack in a foundation replaces the need for a professional evaluation.

The more that home inspectors actually learn and understand about the energy efficiency industry, the more they will be able to take the lead in it … and the lead does not come to those who attempt to “dumb it down” to their own levels of expertise and replace sophisticated analysis with easy money quick fixes.

If you lack the certifications to do a legitimate analysis … this type of inspection add-on can allow you to provide a small amount of information … and then refer one who can provide a more complete analysis, much as you refer other specialists to address material defects. Telling a client to “add insulation”, use CFLs and convert to Energy Star appliances is NOT an energy audit and does not replace a need for one.

Again, the product available through NACHI inspectors for $50 is already free to any home owner wanting to do his own on-line survey. It does not replace or eliminate the need for a diagnostic energy audit. It simply addresses common issues that home owners can do on their own prior to taking the next step.

Home inspectors making a few extra dollars to promote a “first step” toward energy efficiency are providing a somewhat legitimate service while inspectors claiming to be providing a service that “replaces” anything are grossly misinforming their clients. If you want to charge people $50 to provide them with a report that is otherwise free of charge, you don’t have to lie and tell them that your service replaces diagnostic testing, computer modeling and analysis. It’s not necessary.