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Have a question? Contact us with additional questions.

  1. What are some of my home's comfort health and energy issues that an energy audit can diagnose?
  2. How do I know if my home needs an energy audit?
  3. Why should I hire a contractor through the Maryland Home Performance program? How much does an energy audit cost?
  4. How do I prepare my house for a Home Performance energy audit?
  5. Before a contractor comes to my home, I would like recommendations on how to improve my home's efficiency. Is there a resource to help me do that?
  6. What if I have asbestos in my attic or insulation?
  7. What do energy improvements cost?
  8. Who sponsors the Maryland Home Performance program?
  9. How does the program approve its contractors? What is their level of experience?
  10. I live in an apartment or condo. How can I reduce my energy bill and use less energy?
  11. Can I use energy efficient improvements as a selling point?

1. What are some of my home's comfort health and energy issues that an energy audit can diagnose?

For descriptions of these issues, please click on the term below.

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2. How do I know if my home needs an energy audit?

If your home has any of the issues above, you could benefit from a Home Performance energy audit. If you are paying more than $1 per square foot a year for your utility bills, you are literally throwing money away because your home is inefficient.

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3. Why should I hire a contractor through the Maryland Home Performance program?

The Maryland Home Performance program is the best way for you to:

  • Hire highly trained, qualified contractors to do an energy audit on your home
  • Get a blower door test
    - A blower door measures the airtightness of a home and is used to locate air leaks. This special fan can ensure that air sealing work is effective. To find out more about blower doors, click here.
  • Get energy improvements or energy upgrades done on your home
  • Make your home safer.
    - A contractor will test to determine levels of:
    • carbon monoxide
    • back-drafting of all vented appliances
    • safety hazards

How much does an energy audit cost?

The cost of the energy audit depends the home’s size, age and sometimes, location. A Home Performance contractor will typically charge $250 to $600. Some contractors deduct this cost when you do energy improvements.

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4. How do I prepare my house for a Home Performance energy audit?

Prepare for your Home Performance energy audit by doing the following: (For a printable version, click here):

  • Get at least one year of your home’s energy usage data (this information should be listed on your current utility bills)
  • Note where you have broken or defective windows and doors
  • Note drafty areas or rooms that are always too hot or cold
  • Remove clutter and obstructions around your water heaters, AC units, and furnaces
  • Close all windows and outside doors
  • Shut fireplace dampers, fireplace doors, and wood stove air intakes
  • Remove ashes from fireplaces
  • Remove anything you do not want your Home Performance contractor to see. The contractor will need to go into every room and closet in your house as well as the basement and crawlspace.

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5. I would like recommendations on energy savings before a contractor comes to my home. What can I do to especially tailored for my house?

You can use the ENERGY STAR Home Energy Yardstick to compare your home’s energy efficiency to similar homes across the country and get recommendations for energy-saving home improvements from ENERGY STAR. All you need is five minutes and your last 12 months of utility usage (which is usually noted on your most recent bill).

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6. What if I have asbestos in my attic or insulation?

Vermiculite insulation looks like kitty litter (photos and more information).  Check to make sure you do not have asbestos (which can be found in vermiculite).

If you have asbestos or vermiculite insulation, do not disturb or touch it.

Call a remediation specialist before getting an energy audit.
Click here to find asbestos abatement contractors.

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7. What do energy improvements cost?

The national average for whole-house energy improvements costs is  $8,000 to $10,000. The cost depends on the size, age, condition, and complexity of the house. Comfort and energy improvements can cost between $500 to $25,000. However, energy efficiency improvements are the only home improvement that actually pay you back. The average energy savings for a home that undergoes energy improvements is over 20%, with many homeowners saving more.

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8. Who sponsors the Maryland Home Performance program?

Sponsored by the Maryland Energy Administration, Maryland Home Performance is an energy efficiency program inspired by Governor O'Malley’s initiative, EmPOWER Maryland. The Governor has set a goal for the state to reduce electricity consumption by 15% per person by 2015. The program is modeled after the U.S. Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Agency’s national Home Performance with ENERGY STAR program. Maryland utilities are also sponsoring Home Performance programs across the state. Links to those programs and their contractors are posted on this site.

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9. How does the program approve its contractors? What is their level of experience?

All listed contractors take Building Performance Institute (BPI) training and must pass, at minimum, their Building Analyst test. BPI is a national non-profit that credentials individuals and organizations in the building industry. Some Maryland utility programs require additional certification.

This website provides a description of each contractor, as well as their contact information and website, if applicable.

As with hiring any contractor, ask your prospective Home Performance contractor about their experience and background before hiring them.

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10. I live in an apartment or condo. How can I reduce my energy bill and use less energy?

The Maryland Home Performance program serves homeowners who live in single-family homes or row homes. Ask your condo association or landlord to get a multi-family energy audit.

Additionally, to improve your apartment’s or condo’s energy efficiency, check out ENERGY STAR’s top 10 tips for renters.

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11. Can I use energy efficiency improvements as a selling point?

Yes, ask your realtor to use your energy efficiency improvements as selling point for your home and to include it in your listing. You can summarize what the Home Performance contractor did to improve your home by using your audit report and contract.

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ENERGY STAR: A program sponsored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to help consumers make informed decisions about energy efficiency products and energy usage in all types of buildings including homes.
Building Performance Institute: The Building Performance Institute is a national organization that trains and accredits Home Performance Contractors that meet their standards and quality assurance protocols.
Home Performance with ENERGY STAR: A comprehensive, whole-house approach to improving energy efficiency and home comfort, while helping to protect the environment. More than 75,000 U.S. homes have undergone energy improvements through HPwES. As of June 2010, over 1,190 Home Performance contractors participate in over 40 programs across the country.
ENERGY STAR Home Energy Yardstick: An online tool provided by ENERGY STAR that allows homeowners to enter their current energy usage information and compare their home to other homes.
Back-drafting: After briefly running a combustion appliance, a Home Performance Contractor can measure how much gas leaks into a home - these leaks can be dangerous and should be properly vented through a chimney or flue.
Blower door test: A blower door test is used locate areas where air leaks occur within home. This powerful fan mounts into the frame of an exterior door. Once energy improvements are done, a blower door is used to ensure air sealing work was done properly.
Energy audit: An evaluation of a home to see where energy is being lost and how efficiently current heating and cooling systems as well as appliances are operating.
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