Comprehensive Assessments and Consulting for a Healthier, More Efficient Home
Focus on Energy is a statewide program in Wisconsin that offers information, services and financial incentives to help residents and businesses select and install cost-effective solutions that save energy and money. It’s funded by the utilities that provide the energy we use. Therefore it’s funded indirectly by us.
A FOE Home Energy Assessment is a comprehensive, whole-house analysis of your home focused on locating energy inefficiencies. Then those inefficiencies are computer analyzed and recommendations made for improvements via a report of findings and recommendations.
First, the initial assessment or pre-assessment is completed at your home and can take between 1 1/2-3 hours. During this assessment, we will gather the information needed to create a computer model of your home.
Next, back at our office, we’ll spend 1-2 hours studying and analyzing the data collected, modeling in our computer software will identify the most effective improvement measure, taking into consideration the information you provided us in the survey and in conversation. Then put those recommendations into a report for you, identifying the priorities based on a savings to investment ratio.
We’ll also provide a report to the FOE Trade Ally contractor of your choice with contractor’s notes and air-sealing data that help guide them right to the energy inefficiencies uncovered.
Once retrofit work is completed, a post-work inspection should be scheduled at your home. You can use our online scheduling to set this up at your convenience. During this hour-long visit, we will visually inspect the completed work and re-run some of the testing to ensure your vented appliances are still operating safely, that all the measures were completed within the standards set by Focus on Energy, and confirm the improvements produced the savings that were predicted.
Finally, we’ll spend another hour or so at the office confirming the modeling, obtaining a final energy score from the Department of Energy, submit an inspection report to the Insulation Contractor, and submitting all the required paperwork to Focus on Energy which secures the cash incentives you receive from them. We will send both you and the insulation contractor a post-work inspection report. See “Service Comparison” for more details and CLICK HERE to look at a sample report.
A Home Energy Inspection is a thorough inspection and report, but it is a bit less in scope, detail and cost than our standard evaluation, the Home Energy Assessment. The Inspection does meets the minimum requirements for the Focus on Energy Cash incentives.
The following items are part of an "Assessment", but not included in the "inspection” :
- computer modeling for analysis and energy savings calculations
- additional photos and metrics in the report
- Dept. of Energy Home Energy Score, pre and post work*
- Dept. of Energy Completion Certificate (certificate can be used in the MLS)
- a post-work inspection written report (verbal report given for inspections)
- IAQ-indoor Air Quality assessment and report*
*these items may be added as an options, for an additional fee
TO SEE A SHORT VIDEO ABOUT IAQ (Indoor Air Quality) INSPECTIONS, CLICK HERE
See “Service Comparison” for more details and CLICK HERE to look at a sample report.
A Healthy Home Assessment is a comprehensive and detailed look at your home from the inside and out. While it does incorporate a full FOE Home Energy Assessment, it goes well beyond the energy efficiency piece and takes a detailed look at the systems and components of your home that may currently be, or the potential to have effects on the health of you, your family, pets and guests. See “Service Comparison” for more details and click the link to look at a sample report.
The base costs are:
Focus on Energy Inspection $300
Focus on Energy Assessment $425
Healthy Homes Assessment $1200
There may be some additional costs for “add on services” such as extended travel, larger homes, multiple heating or water heating units. If applicable, those will be calculated and disclosed upfront when the appointment is set up.
See "Compare Our Services" for more details.
Focus on Energy is a State program, funded by the utility companies that do business in Wisconsin. Not by choice, but by mandate for most of the larger utilities. The utilities then pass that cost on to us, their consumers. So indirectly, WE fund Focus on Energy. The program purpose is two-fold:
1) To help keep money in the State. In Wisconsin, we import the direct energy or the fuel to produce energy, about 98% of what we consume. That's allot of $ leaving Wisconsin. Improving the efficiency of homes & buildings helps reduce our fuel demand and therefore keeps the dollars in Wisconsin, where we can buy, cheese, packer tickets, etc. to better support the Wisconsin economy.
2) By having a more efficient housing market, it bolsters our efforts to attract new businesses and residents to Wisconsin. The word is out, “Wisconsin winters are cold,” so folks moving here from other climates can be assured they will stay warm and it won’t cost them “an arm & a leg” to do so.
A Tier 1 assessment is the standard Focus on Energy Assessment. A Tier 2 assessment is and income-based program that is applied for directly through Focus on Energy. To review the income qualifications and access an application, CLICK HERE.
The costs and incentives will then be detailed in a letter you received from Focus on Energy. The assessment fees are subsidized by FOE. I will need to collect a copy of that letter at the initial assessment in order to provide you the discounted fees.
The initial “inspection” takes 1 1/2 - 2 hrs., the “assessment” 2 - 2 1/2 hours, and the post-work inspection, 1 - 1 1/2 hours at your home on average.
The Healthy Homes Assessment adds an additional 2-3 hours to the initial visit.
When you receive your appointment confirmation, the time frame will be longer to accommodate unforeseen inspection issues and travel time between appointments.
Cash incentives are given based on energy saving work completed by FOE trade ally contractors. Incentives range between $500 and $2500, typically are in the $900-$1200 range. You will know the cash incentive amount you qualify for after the assessment, but before you commit to the upgrades. Incentives can be disbursed as a credit from the Trade Ally contractor or sent directly to you after the project is finished and the post work inspection is completed. To view the full list of Focus on Energy cash incentives CLICK HERE.
Our standard fee includes homes within a 20-mile radius of our office. For extended travel fees, see “What are Add on Services?”
Imagine you are in the market to buy a car and comparing your options. You are weighing a number of factors in your purchasing decision, including performance, cost, size, and appearance. When you ask the salesperson what the miles-per-gallon rating for each car is, they shrug and say, “I don’t know.” Even if fuel efficiency is not the only factor you are considering, this would probably concern you as a prospective buyer.
And yet, this is how most people make decisions when buying or renting a home: without any information about how much energy the home is expected to use, how much this will cost them, or how to cost-effectively lower energy expenses.
Developed by Department of Energy (DOE) and its national laboratories, the Home Energy Score provides homeowners, buyers, and renters directly comparable and credible information about a home's energy use. Like a miles-per-gallon rating for a car, the Home Energy Score is based on a standard assessment of energy-related assets to easily compare energy use across the housing market. For more information about Home Energy Score, CLICK HERE.
Yes, you can get a Home Energy Score without the full FOE Energy Assessment at a cost of $200. However, the only way to be eligible for the FOE cash incentives is with an Energy Assessment. If you schedule a Home Energy Score and later decide to do a full Energy Assessment, only 1/2 of the HES fee is credited to the Assessment.
As an independent assessor, my focus is to provide you with as much information and knowledge as I can to help you make the most energy efficiency improvements to your home. I am not a salesman nor do I have a financial interest with any insulation contractors. I can provide unbiased recommendations and post-work inspections.
Let's face it, an insulation company that assesses your home as advises you on the products and services they provide and then inspects their own work afterward has the potential and motivation to be a bit biased. I’m not saying they are, but if they were, how would you know?
I hold both a Building Analyst and Health Homes Assessor credentials through the national Building Performance Institute (BPI). My initial training in 2008 was through a curriculum and program of building science classroom training and practical field evaluations at the Wisconsin Energy Conservation Corporation. The Wisconsin Focus on Energy Program adopts the BPI Energy Assessment standards and requires its assessors to maintain the BPI Certification. BPI requires continuous training credits and re-qualifies its assessors annually.
There may be some small additional fees for:
1) larger homes, (in excess of 4000 SF home footprint)
2) multiple combustion heating systems or water heaters, each system must be tested and the standard fee includes 1 heating unit and 1 water heating system.
3) Longer travel times (in excess of 20 miles from our office address in zip code 53092). If these fees apply they are applied automatically when making your appointment to ensure there is enough time reserved for your assessment appointment.
We accept cash, check, or all major CC's. There is a small convenience fee for credit and debit card transactions (3%). Remitting payment with a credit card when the appointment is made will discount the convenience fee to 1.5%. Payment is due at the end of the initial appointment, If for any reason we are unable to collect payment at the end of the assessment, data is not processed or reports released until payment has been received.