Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Energy Upgrade California and EnergyPro, part 1

On January 20, I attended the morning session of an EnergyPro / Energy Upgrade California workshop. I have used EnergyPro for many years to do T24 compliance calculations and documentation for building permit submittals, so I was interested in learning about new uses for a very good software program. The workshop explained how EnergyPro can be used to analyze the benefits of upgrades to home energy-efficiency measures; things like adding insulation, fixing leaky heating ducts and replacing old furnaces and windows. The Energy Upgrade California program offers rebates to homeowners for qualifying improvements. Requirements for documenting such improvements are fairly technical - that's where EnergyPro can help. The software includes extensive capabilities to model a wide range of energy-efficiency improvements, and the ability to generate reports for documentation.

The workshop did not assume any prior knowledge of EnergyPro, so the morning session was spent in a basic introduction to the workings of the software. It seemed to me that about one-third of the attendees were already familiar with EnergyPro, so there was not too much new information for us. Of interest to me was instruction on the use of some sections of the software I'm less familiar with, including detailed modeling of HVAC system features. For my usual T24 compliance work, it's not necessary to go into such detail in that area.

I was sorry that I could not stay for the afternoon workshop session, which got into the actual production of Home Energy Assessment reports, and others required for the Energy Upgrade California rebate program. Energy analysts for the rebate program are required to possess knowledge, which I currently lack, of various testing procedures to show before/after improvements in energy efficiency. However, the preparation of a Home Energy Assessment report can be a very effective sales and marketing tool in itself. The report shows homeowners how much money they can save on their energy bills by installing specific energy-saving measures. I plan to get into that area, in partnership with contractors equipped to do the necessary testing.