Get Started | Home Performance with ENERGY STAR
Step 1: Evaluate
You’re ready to begin your home energy improvements. How do you Get Started? The first step is to have a professional come to your house to perform a evaluation. This is what LEAP clients refer to as the “a-ha” moment – the point at which they finally understand why they’ve been paying so much in energy costs, why their house is uncomfortable, or why their child’s allergies seem to be worse in the house than outside it.
LEAP’s Home Performance with ENERGY STAR (HPwES) program requires an in-home evaluation of some kind – it’s how we set a baseline of energy efficiency to ensure you reach demonstrable savings, and it informs the recommended course of action. A consultation with a professional will cover air and duct sealing, insulation, indoor air quality – as well as heating and cooling equipment – so that you have all the information you need to make cost effective decisions to improve your home. If you begin with a low-cost Home Energy Check-up performed by LEAP and decide to move forward with work, some diagnostic testing will be required before work begins at additional cost.
A Comprehensive Home Energy Audit includes diagnostic testing. If you’ve started the process with by having an audit performed, you’re ready for the Next Step: Choose a Contractor.
Step 2: Choose a Contractor
Now that your Building Analyst has has given you a comprehensive list of all the things in your home that could be done to improve its energy efficiency, safety, and durability, thoroughly review the report. Discuss any questions you may have about the report or his/her recommendations, and decide which improvements you’d like to proceed with. If your building analyst is also a contractor who can offer you an estimate for those improvements, you may choose to proceed to work with him/her or to choose another contractor or contractors from LEAP’s list of certified Home Performance with ENERGY STAR Contractors. For a list of participating contractors click here.
Within approximately 1 week of meeting your contractor(s), you will receive a custom bid for the recommendations he/she has made. If you are satisfied with your bid, both you and your contractor need to sign off on it. Otherwise, you can continue to negotiate with your contractor and request a revised bid. Now you are ready for the Next Step: Transform.
If you’re interested in financing or any incentives that might be available to help you pay for your improvements, please visit our re$ources page.
Step 3: Transform
It’s the moment you’ve been waiting for – getting your project up and running. Unless you want to be home, you’ll need to arrange for your Contractor to access your home by lockbox or another method. If you have a home security system, you’ll need to make arrangements to avoid having it set off. (Note: If you’ve chosen spray foam insulation, you should plan to be out of the house for 24 hours after the insulation has been installed.)
Follow a few simple tips to make sure your Home Energy Improvements are installed as smoothly as possible. The most important thing you can do ahead of time is clear the way for your Contractor. You want your Contractor focused on upgrading your home, not moving boxes to reach your crawlspace. Similarly, your Contractor should be concerned with how your home performs, not about knocking over a vase. Here are some steps you can take to have a speedy, breakage-free Home Energy Remodel:
- Move furniture, drapes or other furnishings away from heating duct registers, crawl space and the attic
- Place breakables in a safe place
- Clear a perimeter around your furnace/boiler and water heater
- Make sure pets are in a safe place, especially if they may be sensitive to contractors moving through your home
- Alert your Contractor if accessing the outside of your home will affect any of your landscaping, so precautions can be taken
HPwES sets high standards for Participating Contractors. We expect contractors to respect your home by wearing booties or removing their shoes, sweeping up debris at the end of the day, and asking your permission to store tools in your home until the work is done. The time a project takes varies depending on the improvements you’ve chosen to make and your contractor’s schedule. Once all work is complete, you’re ready for the Next Step: Test-Out.
Step 4: Test-Out
After each relevant phase of completed work, your Building Analyst will perform required tests. Many of these diagnostic test mimic those that were performed before work began in order to assess the efficacy of the improvements and to make sure there are health or safety issues which might have resulted from “tightening” your home.
When you participate in HPwES, you have peace of mind in knowing there are strong, published standards every energy services professional in our program must adhere to. Contractors participating in HPwES must are also subject to on-site Quality Assurance by the third-party sponsor of the program. Our local HPwES sponsor randomly selects five percent of each contractors’ HPwES jobs to review on-site. If you are interested in having a quality assurance check on your home, please contact us.
If your test out results indicate that you have improved your home’s energy efficiency by 20% or more, your home is eligible for the Home Performance with ENERGY STAR certificate issued by the program sponsor. To learned more about the certificate, please visit certify.
“I was pleased with every step of the process. One thing that stood out was the building expert who visited my home was surprisingly honest and objective. They clearly explained which recommendations would save me the most money and which were less important. So I felt confident making decisions on which upgrades to choose.” Joanne M.
“Before participating in the Home Performance with Energy Star program I thought my home’s major problem was windows and doors. After my LEAP home energy audit I realized no, the problem was air leaks and lack of insulation in the crawl space, the attic and the basement. LEAP then became an invaluable partner in getting my home air sealed and insulated, and lessening my harmful effects on the environment, protecting my family, and saving me money.” Bob H.