Remodeling with energy efficiency in mind generally doesn't require additional labor, just careful selection of materials and more attention to installation details. The
Energy Efficient Rehab Advisor (www.rehabadvisor.com), a free Web-based tool developed for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development by D&R International Ltd. and the New Jersey Institute of Technology, helps identify key energy-efficiency measures for almost any remodeling project. It also provides a cost estimate and expected savings for each improvement. Recommendations were developed with the U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, based on Energy Star specifications where applicable.
The tool shows clients "why they should spend the kind of money they spend" on energy-efficient upgrades, says Paul Floramo, of Capstone Kitchen and Bath Studio in North Chili, N.Y. Using the pull-down menus at the bottom of the home page, enter building type, your role on the project, building age and the project's location by climate zone. The next page outlines your advantages of increasing the energy efficiency of the home. Select a remodeling project from the list on the left, and the advisor returns recommendations specific to the type of project, building and climate. The tool also highlights the benefits of each measure, which may include lower energy bills, better indoor air quality or reduced maintenance.
These recommendations are designed to achieve energy savings 30 percent above the 1993 national Model Energy Code. The Rehab Advisor works on the assumption that you are adding, replacing or upgrading the feature anyway. So, it calculates and displays the added cost for each recommended energy-efficiency measure. Similarly, the tool estimates the payback period for this additional cost only.
The Rehab Advisor's recommendations are based on the typical home in each region. The cost and savings data are best used as a guideline or blueprint for planning purposes. The advisor does not take the place of having an energy management professional involved with your project, nor should its recommendations be considered gospel. The climate zones do not address the more extreme climates within each area. And in areas where local codes require higher efficiency than the national code, many of the recommendations are al-ready mandated. PR
Michael Blanford is a research engineer with the Office of Policy Development and Research at HUD. Glen Salas is a senior engineer with the environmental consulting firm D&R International.