Energy Inspector – Every state should have one

A couple of week ago the New York Time published an article about a new inspector that the construction industry will have to deal with.  This person is the Energy Inspector.  From what the article states, the inspector is to observe the conditions of the insulation that is installed by the contractors correctly, making sure that there are not gaps that could cause the building owner money over the long term.

Now the energy inspectors job is similar to a  thermal bypass inspection that energy raters do for new home construction when the builder is seeking an energy star rating.  However the biggest difference is the inspector has the authority to make the contractor fix any mistakes.  Therefore, it would be great to see these inspectors start to pop up more throughout the country.

A New Enforcer in Buildings, the Energy Inspector

Wide Variation in Energy Codes

Residential Energy Codes

AUSTIN, Tex. — Peering behind a bathtub in a newly built house, an inspector, John Umphress, spotted a big gap in the wall insulation. “Somebody took a lunch break!” he complained to the builder, who sheepishly agreed to patch the hole.

With the fix, the house, already a model of energy efficiency, will use even less energy and save its residents money — for decades.

But that small catch would not have been made in many American towns. Mr. Umphress is a particular kind of inspector, an energy auditor, and Austin, with one of the toughest building codes in the country, requires an energy inspection before a building can be occupied.

Climate scientists and architects say that no single policy change could do more to save energy over the long run — and reduce the nation’s contribution to global warming — than building codes that make saving energy the law.

Since the energy crises of the 1970s, the United States has known it has an energy problem. Yet today, the energy requirements in building codes remain weak across half the country, and at least seven states have virtually no rules. That means that in many places, particularly the nation’s heartland, almost every new home, store and factory that goes up locks the country into unnecessary energy use for years to come.

The problem is not just construction defects like the one Mr. Umphress caught, though those are plentiful. In many places, builders are still using too little insulation. Citing cost, they have not adopted the most energy-saving water heaters, roofing materials or window panes.

Continue reading the article at The New York Times

About: Joshua Lloyd (115 Posts)

Joshua has a degree in architecture and is a LEED Accredited Professional that has worked in the design and construction industry for over 10 years, focusing his efforts on energy efficiency and building science. He has organized multiple events in Ohio to give young designers the opportunity to learn about “green” home design and produce actual projects. He was also a key player in Ohio’s first LEED for Homes Platinum project. Joshua is also a certified Building Analyst through the Building Performance Institute and performs home energy audits, assisting home owners in reducing their energy usage.