Energy Audit

While unemployed, I am networking with new groups and people. Last night, I attended a Net Impact Nashville meeting at a local coffee shop.

Frothy Monkey is owned by Miranda Whitcomb Pontes, a small business owner who tries to be environmentally sound in her shop. Miranda calls it “demonstrating good eco-business.” The shop offers all natural products regardless of the costs. She was the first independent shop in Nashville to use ecotainers, which are made from corn products and can be recycled, for her coffee. Since she owns the property, which is a remodeled old house, six trees were planted on the property last year.

Since she did the remodeling five years ago, she said that she would be more environmentally friendly if she redid it now with her choice of materials, although she did use bamboo on the ordering counter and old brick from a torn down church on one wall.

Another local businessman was there to do an energy audit of the Frothy Monkey. Barry Westbrook of DocAir conducted some tests for us to detect energy problems. Miranda confessed that the air conditioner ran year round in the shop and admitted that she is not always an environment angel. Is anyone?

Barry used a special thermometer to show us the temperature on the ceiling versus the temperature on the floor of the building. He used a special smoke maker to illustrate air leaks around windows, recessed light fixtures and doors.

For us homeowners, he told us of places in our homes that can be helped with a caulk gun. The drop down ladders leading to attics are one of the worst areas of the home for poor insulation he explained. Yes, we have one and do not even use the attic. I nudged my husband and said that we should put a board over the opening in ours.

He asked who of us had the large air return on the central heating and air conditioning system? My hand was raised. “Well,” he said, “Is the space inside large enough to drop a cat?” I knew that two cats and a medium dog could be tossed inside mine. “It’s full of air leaks and it is not giving you clean air despite an expensive air filter inside.” Oh, thank goodness, we bought the filter economy pack last time, I thought.

Westbrook told us that one day we would all know our HERS [home energy rating standard] score, as well as we know our credit score. Uh oh, I forgot my credit score, although I know it is good. He told us that soon we will be able to get a free energy audit through our utilities company.

While we are currently unemployed, I doubt we will be making any energy adjustments to our house, although I may invest in a caulk gun. I always feel a little air blowing in the windows.

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