Posted by: SherlockHomesSY | 12 Nov 2010

The Learning Journey

Presentation Title Page

Home Performance Assessments


Learning Curve
– Ignorance is Bliss
– Nagging Awareness
– Beginning Research
– On-Line Home Energy Survey
– In-Home Energy Survey
– Diagnostic Home Energy Survey
– Comprehensive Home Energy Audit
– Experience

As I started writing about solutions to common home performance complaints I realized quickly I needed to talk about the progression of home energy audits. Otherwise, I’d be saying the same thing in every blog in this series. It fits that gap between recognizing there might be an issue and figuring out what to do next.

I learned the hard way there’s a learning curve between recognizing there is a potential problem and successfully doing something about it.  I was giving the answer before the person I was talking to knew there was a question.

Ignorance is Bliss

When we buy a house, we’re focused on how the house looks; not how it performs.  During this stressful time we’re trying to hold down a job and have a life while getting mortgages, appraisals, home inspections, and hopefully get through closing.  It doesn’t help most home inspectors are untrained in home performance.

Some of us try to get estimates on energy costs before or after closing.  When we all get our first bill, we wonder whether it’s reasonable.  We might ask our neighbors about their bills for comparison.  As long as our bill is average or better, we may never give home energy costs more than a passing thought.

Nagging Awareness

Two months after moving in, the home inspector’s interpretation of the overall condition of the house is meaningless.  Soon house behavioral quirks begin to be noticed.  Home performance begins to matter, only we don’t call it that.

Media of all kinds try to get you to focus on issues in your home.  The utility company sends short articles about how to better use your energy.  Renovators send junk mail.  Magazines discuss a variety of topics.  Television home improvement shows are noticed.  We begin to relate our house’s quirks to their message.

Beginning Research

With the Internet, we begin research.  We might go to the library.  We begin looking around for possible solutions to our quirks.  You may have stumbled on to our blog in the process.

Free Utility Company Audit

Eventually, we begin to take action.  Many utility companies offer free audits.  However the focus is very narrow, and the advice is general, but free.  If you’re like me, you’ll find the information incomplete, so you look for better answers.

On-Line Home Energy Survey

Recently, on-line home energy audits became available.  The first one is found here.  Expect more consumer home energy simulations in the future.  The plan is to provide you with a list of things you can do.  However, there is no priority or protocol for the improvements.  For legal reasons, this has to be the case.

In-Home Energy Survey

The alternative to an On-line Home Energy Survey is an In-Home Home Energy Survey.  The difference is someone like me, a home energy auditor, will come to your house.  However, the result is the same, but you do get a better understanding of your house.

Diagnostic Home Energy Survey

Wise home performance contractors will not touch your house without doing diagnostic testing, such as for air leakage, duct leakage, and combustion safety.  Would you let a doctor do surgery before checking you out?  The goal is to do no harm to the house or the occupants.

Real plans for improving your house are the result.  Your consultant will also begin helping you understand the physics of how your house works and how proposed changes will affect it.

This level of audit is usually enough for most homeowners.

Comprehensive Home Energy Audit

A Comprehensive Home Energy Audit adds home energy modeling to quantify current performance and allows evaluation of the effects of improvements.

When you want to do significant remodeling, energy modeling is worth it.


Educators know that book knowledge becomes understanding through experience.  In a sense, gaining home performance comprehension is a series of a-ha moments.

Building Consultant for Life

I am committed to being your building consultant for life.  You’ll be learning all the time through your home performance improvement adventure.  I’ll be there to explain things all along your journey.

I built my home performance website and this blog with your education needs in mind.  Eventually, this blog will explore all dimensions of home performance improvement.  In the process, many resources will be revealed.  We look forward to you joining us on our journey to improve our own homes while participating with you on yours!


Various levels of home energy audits are described in detail in my Slide Share presentation, Home Energy Surveys & Audits.

More information on the home performance diagnostic process is found on my website.

Until Next Time

Next time, the most common home performance complaint: High Energy Bills!



  1. […] energy efficiency. There’s a bit of a learning curve, and I’ll blog my way through it. Here’s a nice summary of the process I’m […]

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