Mizz-OU-Rah!! Gears Up!!


Being a Mizzou Alum and a "Show Me" kinda of guy, I really liked this news from my home state.

Missouri Turning to Private Contractors for Home Energy Audits
2009 tax deductions likely to spur increased demand
December 2008

The Missouri Department of Natural Resources sponsors the Home Performance with ENERGY STAR program, which makes certified home energy audits available to homeowners.
Missouri is gearing up for an increasing demand for home energy audits by authorizing private, certified contractors to perform the assessments. Through the Home Performance with ENERGY STAR® program, homeowners can request a home audit, or performance analysis, which will provide a series of recommendations for increasing energy efficiency.
Fluctuating energy prices in the last year have increased general awareness of the need to curb usage. In addition, new Missouri legislation that goes into effect in 2009 provides a tax deduction for home energy audits and the cost of implementing recommendations, provided that the procedures are done by individuals certified by the state's Department of Natural Resources. The department's Energy Office is administering the auditor certification effort, as well as the Home Performance with ENERGY STAR program.
In the Kansas City area, the home audits are overseen by the Metropolitan Energy Center. A story in the October 5 edition of the Kansas City Star ("Area Program Aims to Cut Home Energy Use") reported that home energy audits generally cost between $300 and $500. A rebate of up to $600 is being offered by Kansas City Power and Light to its Missouri customers who take advantage of the Home Performance with ENERGY STAR audit and implement at least one of the recommendations to improve efficiency.
For homeowners considering a home audit, the Department of Natural Resources provides a list of certified energy auditors (also called "building analysts"). It is up to homeowners to select an auditor, to determine whether to make recommended improvements, and to choose a supplier to perform whatever work is done.

Oregon Governor Seeks Mandatory Efficiency Audits for Home Sales


Oregon's Governor proposes a Mandatory Efficiency Audit for ALL Home Sales!

All homes and commercial properties being sold in Oregon would be required to have an energy efficiency score under a new proposal.
Potential home sellers determined to ride out the sputtering housing market would do well to invest in efficiency upgrades while they wait — particularly if a new real estate mandate under consideration on the West Coast is a sign of what’s to come.
Oregon’s governor, Ted Kulongoski, wants to require any owner selling or renting a home or commercial building in the state to obtain a certificate disclosing the property’s energy use and greenhouse gas emissions. The mandate, part of his climate change agenda for 2009, would take effect in 2011 for new and existing homes and in 2012 for commercial buildings.
“With escalating energy prices, a homeowner or small business person has a right to know the energy performance of a home or building they invest in,” reads a draft of the bill provided by the governor’s office. Mr. Kulongoski said he plans to submit it to the Oregon legislature in January.
The certificates could prove both a selling point for owners of energy-efficient buildings and a boon to homebuyers by providing a basis for lower mortgage and insurance rates tied to efficiency.
But they could also become an encumbrance to owners trying to sell old or drafty homes, for whom a low rating could look like a defect.
The bill is likely to face some resistance from the Oregon Home Builders Association and the Oregon Realtors Association. The industry lobbies generally support a voluntary program, but are opposed to a state mandate.
Gov. Ted Kulongoski says every Oregon home buyer has the right to know the energy efficiency of a prospective purchase. (Photo: Bloomberg)
Jon Chandler, chief executive of the Oregon Homebuilders Association called mandatory certificates “silly.”
“It’s an educational tool,” Mr. Chandler said. “It doesn’t do anything for energy efficiency one way or another.” Nonetheless, he added, “We’re gearing up for the mandate. We’d like to position ourselves to do the contracting work.”
The proposed bill directs the Oregon Department of Energy to design a home energy rating system, similar to the miles-per-gallon rating on cars.
The basis for such a system might well come from Earth Advantage, a nonprofit sustainable building organization based in Portland. That group has already developed a national certification program for new construction, and it has been working on an efficiency rating program modeled after one in Great Britain, which began requiring certificates for all residential real estate transactions nationwide on Oct. 1.
The Energy Trust of Oregon, an independent nonprofit group created by the Oregon Public Utility Commission and charged with “encouraging energy market transformation” in the state, according to its Web site, is using the Earth Advantage rating system in a pilot project involving 200 Portland homes. The aim is to find the fastest and cheapest way of performing energy audits and issuing certificates for homeowners.
Testing ends this month and the Energy Trust says it will report the results early next year.
“Hopefully this program will serve as a model for the state and the country,” said Kendall Youngblood, a residential sector manager for the Energy Trust. “We’re designing it as an education piece for the homeowner, so they start to understand homes are associated with carbon emissions.”
Other states, including California and Minnesota already have similar voluntary certification programs that use the U.S. Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Agency Home Energy Rating System. Homes are scored between 0 and 100 on an index relative to a model Energy Star home.
The Earth Advantage program would go a few steps further, providing bars that depict a home’s actual energy use, utility costs and carbon dioxide emissions.

Good Morning Arizona!

Going Green in Arizona with Flir Infrared Cameras

Geary Morris & Jerry Lawrence of American Infrared Consultants meet Javier Soto at Dan Davis's home to do an early morning Thermal Scan and find the leaks in his air ducts. Be sure to check out the latest Flir Infrared Cameras and the many applications for them at our web site Go-Infrared.com

Going Green with Jane Poynter

Go Infrared is Featured on NBC KVOA Channel 4
with Jane Poynter

Geary Morris & Kyle Morris of American Infrared Consultants, visited Jane Poynter's home to do a "Thermal Scan" and find the leaks that she, or most any homeowner can mostly fix themselves. We are using a Flir Systems T-400 and a P-640 in this video. Be sure to check out the latest in cameras and the many applications for Infrared Thermal Imaging on our web site - Go-Infrared.com

Home Inspectors Go Infrared & Save Their Customers Thousands in Energy Loss


Flemming Lund, owner of Infrared Diagnostic in Sudbury, conducts an energy audit.

**He's using a Flir Systems infrared camera!

SUDBURY, Mass. —

Hearing the demand to reduce escalating energy costs for homeowners and small businesses, Flemming Lund three years ago added infrared energy audits to his home inspection business, Apex Home Inspections.

That service has since become a company, Infrared Diagnostic. The Sudbury firm now conducts five energy audits for every home inspection Lund performs at Apex.

"I saw the need, got the training, purchased new equipment to detect insulation defects and holes where air enters the home and that got the ball rolling," said Lund.

Some of the air leaks - such as in recessed lighting - surprise some clients, including a Lincoln homeowner.

"Because of the opening to the outside, air rises out through the leaks," said Lund. Infrared Diagnostic performed the audit on the newer Lincoln home with 75 recessed lights.

"The house was like a sieve because there were so many penetrations in the ceiling," said Lund. "The homeowner could not keep heat in the house. He knew he had a problem, but he couldn’t figure it out. You can have two feet of insulation but if there is a possibility of air coming in, it penetrates right through the fibers."

Causes of other air leaks include plumbing penetrations, such as a vent stack that goes through the roof or a pull-down stairway in the attic.

Lund conducts the infrared energy audits and recommends contractors, who do the work. In addition to reduced energy costs, Lund said there’s another benefit to the audits.

"Once the suggested work is completed and drafts are eliminated, customers gain an increased comfort level in their homes during the heating and cooling seasons," he said.

Many Infrared Diagnostic clients chose an energy audit to get the best return on their investments when trying to reduce their energy costs. For example, a family requested an energy audit for a local home built around 1880. Cost of the audit on the 3,300-square-foot home: $525. Estimated savings on utility bills: $1,500 to $2,500 annually. The cost of energy audits are based on the age and square footage of the home.

"It’s a huge savings compared to the audit," said Lund, who is also an electrician and certified home inspector in Massachusetts. "Installing insulation and correcting air leaks gives the biggest return on investments - bigger than windows."

With every energy audit, Infrared Diagnostic provides a report with recommendations that often result in 15 to 25 percent energy savings annually. "Windows are expensive to replace, but in most cases they are not the main problem," said Lund. "Air leaks are. Many homeowners are not aware of how small the investment is to see a decrease in their utility bills."

The energy audits, Lund said, are more comprehensive than others because of the equipment he uses - a blower door test for locating air leaks and an infrared camera for detecting missing or defective insulation.

Jan Hackman called the energy audit conducted on his Hudson home "priceless."

Infrared Diagnostic performed the audit on Hackman’s 3,200-square-foot L-shaped ranch, built in 1963 with an addition put on in 1989.

"We wanted to know why we use so much energy," said Hackman. "A previous energy audit we had done left us with many questions. They told us the windows lost a lot of heat, which was not the case, Flemming’s audit showed. I wanted someone with expertise to start me on the path to get the best return on my investment.

"In the infrared audit, the windows turned out to be pretty efficient and Flemming found problems with air leaks, insulation and the like. For me, it was an eyeopener - here are the cold hard facts. Now we can start doing something about them."

Infrared Diagnostic’s report included a series of digital and infrared photographs with an explanation of different problems, including air leaks in the cathedral ceiling. "Apparently the insulation, where it touched the rafters, must have been pushed aside," said Hackman. "In one case, it showed a temperature of 39 degrees."

Infrared Diagnostic also detected leaks by the chimney in the attic, in the basement where the foundation meets the frame and in the recessed lights in the kitchen, said Hackman.

"The audit, which cost about $300, gave us a blueprint on what to do and where to go next," said Hackman. "The house will be a lot more comfortable."

For more information, visit infrareddiagnostic.com. or call 508-353-2381.

Green Building Litigation is Right Around the Corner


The Anatomy of America’s First Green Building Litigation

Stephen Del Percio feature photo

We’ve written extensively here at gbNYC about the potential for litigation arising out of green construction projects. To date the issue has been on the radar screens of numerous industry authors, but real-life application of green legal theory has been relatively difficult to come by outside of a handful of green-related claims reported by insurance carriers. However, a (relatively) recent lawsuit that was filed on the eastern shore of Maryland demonstrates that green building risk is real- particularly in light of rapidly increasing regulatory activity at the state and local levels. The suit suggests the critical importance of clear contract language for each stakeholder on a green construction project and posits that the alternative could be massive exposure to unanticipated liability for every project participant.

Background to the Lawsuit

The lawsuit in question grew out of the construction of a $7.5 million, 23-unit condominium project in Crisfield, Maryland called the Captain’s Galley, which was completed back in 2006. The development is adjacent to a local marina on the Chesapeake Bay and includes a number of green design features that were intended to support an application to USGBC for a LEED Silver rating. Southern Builders, the general contractor on the job, filed a $54,000.00 mechanic’s lien against the project late in 2006. In early 2007, a Maryland Circuit Court both reduced the lien to $12,000.00 and consolidated a related $1.3 million countersuit initiated by the owner Shaw Development that sought, among other things, $635,000.00 in what Shaw claimed were lost tax credits under a state-level green building program.

The Tax Credits at Issue

A brief overview of Maryland’s green building tax credit program is necessary in order to understand how Shaw crafted its counterclaim against the contractor.

Maryland offers state tax credits of up to 8 percent of a project’s total cost for buildings greater than 20,000 square feet. (As a side note, the current iteration of the program has doled out all of the available tax credits and is not currently accepting additional applications). Only LEED projects are eligible to apply for the credits. The program requires applicants to first submit an Initial Credit Certificate Application to the Maryland Energy Administration.

MEA reviews the application and issues an Initial Credit Certificate which sets forth the project’s maximum credit amount and (critically for our purposes) sets an expiration date by which the project must receive a Final Credit Certificate.

Projects can only apply for the Final Credit Certificate upon receiving a certificate of occupancy after construction is complete, and a LEED-AP must submit an Eligibility Certificate to MEA stating that the building meets the criteria necessary to receive the tax credit (i.e., it meets the requirements to qualify for a LEED Silver rating). However, if the Initial Credit Certificate expires prior to the project obtaining its Final Credit Certificate, the available credits are put back into the program’s pool, the project slides back in line, and must reapply to MEA.

Captain’s Galley Contract Documents

The contract documents set forth the project’s LEED requirements in a specification section (it’s unclear exactly how those requirements were delineated, other than language in the project manual which stated that the project was “designed to comply with a Silver Certification Level according to the USGBC’s LEED Rating System, as specified in Division 1 [of the specifications.]”) It does not appear that there was language in the contract documents obligating Southern to secure any formal certification from USGBC. With respect to the tax credits, although the credits were not identified specifically in the contract (which was the AIA’s 1997 version of the A101 Owner/Contractor Agreement) or any of its attachments that were included in Shaw’s countersuit papers, Southern was required to deliver a Certificate of Occupancy within 336 calendar days from the date of the agreement.

Shaw’s Countersuit

In the countersuit, Shaw alleged claims in both negligence and breach of contract against Southern for, among other failures, the contractor’s failure to “construct an environmentally sound ‘green building’ in conformance with the LEED rating system.” However, there was no detail in Shaw’s papers describing precisely how Southern was responsible for the $635,000.00 in lost tax credits. Presumably, Southern failed to deliver the project to Shaw such that the latter could obtain a certificate of occupancy by the date specified in the Initial Credit Certificate; according to Shaw’s papers, the project remained incomplete “[n]early nine (9) months after the required completion date” (i.e., the 336 calendars specified in the A101). In addition to recovery for the lost tax credits, Shaw also sought damages for non-conforming work and loan defaults with its construction lender. The total amount in damages that Shaw sought was approximately $1.3 million. The damages it sought for the lost tax credits were the largest under any of its claims.

The Result & What Could Have Happened

Other than a few newspaper articles that mentioned the delays at the project, there has been nothing written about what appears to have been the country’s first green building litigation. Though the Circuit Court judge did set the case for trial sometime in August of 2007, it appears that the matter has since settled out of court.

The twist in the factual posture of the case is that the allegations were not that the contractor (or a design professional or consultant) failed to secure formal certification from USGBC, as much of the literature written to date in the liability context suggests will be the feeding ground for potential litigation. Rather, it was the failure by both the owner and the contractor to recognize the risk implicated by the regulatory scheme that led to the claimed loss of tax credits. The contract documents included as exhibits to the court papers were devoid of any risk transfer mechanisms whatsoever with respect to securing the tax credits. A tight contract that recognized the risk of failing to complete the project on schedule would have (1) assisted the contractor in determining whether it was capable of bearing a significant portion of that risk and (2) provided the owner some level of assurance that in the event the contractor could not deliver the project as required in order to secure the tax credits, it would still have the ability to assert a breach of contract claim for that specific failure.

Form Contracts Won’t Fly! gbNYC’s Top 5 Legal Issues for Green Construction Projects in Action

The critical lesson from the lawsuit is that there is no one-size-fits-all form agreement for a green construction project. The case also demonstrates the absolute necessity of two of my five most important legal issues to consider on green construction projects. First, a thorough understanding of existing legislation that may apply to a green project is critical. Retaining counsel that understands the regulatory landscape and can assist stakeholders in managing the risk that it implicates, regardless of which side of the table they may find themselves, is key. This point is becoming increasingly salient as more municipalities legislate green initiatives and third-party rating systems continue to evolve and proliferate. Second, the possible failure on the contractor’s part (and probably the owner’s as well) to translate the procedure for securing the LEED-driven tax credits into the contract documents exposed both sides to unanticipated liability. Indeed, the lack of any disclaiming language in the contract- or any indication that the contractor attempted to shift some of the risk off of itself- is perhaps indicative of where green liability may actually exist.

Conclusion: Insurance & Other Implications Moving Forward

Sustainability is changing the risk management equation and the Shaw case will likely go down as just the very tip of the iceberg. Again, the lawsuit demonstrates the danger for contractors, owners, and design professionals to simply rely on form construction agreements on green projects. Although the claim was asserted by the contractor, a slight twist in the facts could have just as easily resulted in the suit being asserted against the architect, engineer, or LEED consultant. While owners obviously want to get their projects out of the ground as quickly as possible, and given the deteriorating economic conditions here in the U.S., contractors and design professionals may feel pressure to sign up for work quickly, Shaw Development v. Southern Builders teaches caution during the course of negotiations for green construction work.

The lawsuit also raises some important insurance implications. Could the contractor’s commercial general liability policy have provided coverage for the owner’s claim for the lost tax credits? CGL policies typically only cover property damage, so it seems highly unlikely. From the owner’s perspective, if there was a waiver of consequential damages provision in the contract documents (which is unclear from the Shaw court papers), the owner would have a difficult time arguing that its claimed damages for the lost tax credits should not be considered consequential.

The potential lack of insurance coverage for this type of claim demands its own discussion, but it suffices to say that the insurance industry is examining these issues closely to determine whether an endorsement for green projects might be necessary. In fact, a recent report prepared by Marsh called The Green Built Environment in the United States: The State of the Insurance Marketplace evaluated not only property insurance policies, but how the insurance industry is considering professional liability, pollution liability, builder’s and owner’s risk insurance, surety bonds, and casualty coverage in the context of green risk management.

Please let me know if you’d like more information on the case and I’d be happy to pass along the materials that I was able to dig up online. Feel free to chime in below if there are any other legal issues arising out of the Shaw fact pattern that deserve discussion.

There's a Lot of Money to be made in Green Building


**That is if it's "Really" Green!

'Green' building is expected to grow

Researchers from McGraw-Hill Construction say it will be worth $12 billion to $20 billion this year, or 6$ to 10% of the market.
July 27, 2008

If the interest in all things green is a fad, it's a fad with legs, according to builders included in a recent survey.

Research from McGraw-Hill Construction suggests that broadly defined "green" building is expected to be worth $12 billion to $20 billion this year, or 6% to 10% of the market. That's expected to double in five years, according to the researchers.

Along the way, the LEED acronym (it stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is becoming increasingly familiar to consumers: More than 1,500 buildings have received LEED certification from the U.S. Green Building Council since the program was introduced in 2000, and more than 11,000 are seeking the designation, according to the council, a nonprofit that administers the program.

LEED attempts to quantify sustainable site development, water usage, energy efficiency, indoor environmental quality and other "green" factors.

Recently, the council announced plans to expand LEED certification to subdivisions and neighborhoods. The neighborhood designation has been a pilot program for about a year and will expand in earnest in mid-2009, according to a spokesman for the council.


Mary Umberger
LA Times

The only way to confirm and actually verify that your home or LEED certified building is what they say it is, ... Insulated & Energy Efficient, is to use Infrared Thermography. These buildings should be scanned to confirm their thermal barriers. Stop throwing away Money through Gaps, Holes and complete Voids of insulation in your walls and ceilings. Only a Thermal Scan can tell you the truth about the tightness of your building.

It Can't be "Certified" Unless it's Infrared Certified!!


Changes proposed to LEED certification make energy savings a priority

**LEED properties are currently NOT scanned with Infrared. Without a professional Infrared Thermal Scan, a LEED building is NOT fully certified.

Developers of commercial buildings would have to abide by a new set of rules to get LEED certification under changes being considered by the U.S. Green Building Council.

The new rules would streamline the process for achieving LEED certification and put greater emphasis on saving energy and reducing carbon emissions.

"The credits were re-weighted to encourage people to go after those that are going to change the building's performance," said Judith Webb, a spokeswoman for the U.S. GBC in Washington, D.C.

A 30-day public comment period on the proposed rules ended in late June. Another comment period will begin sometime in August. The changes would ultimately have to be approved by the 16,000-plus members of the U.S. GBC. That vote could occur in October.

If approved, the new rules would take effect in January.

Rick Pfielsticker, a LEED-accredited architect at Einhorn Yaffee & Prescott in Albany, N.Y., said the changes would bring the point system in line with the push toward improving energy efficiency.

"The way energy costs have risen, this is a good thing," Pfielsticker said.

EYP has designed nearly a dozen buildings that have received LEED certification, he said. Many more meet the U.S. GBC standards but developers don't want to pay the fees to become certified, he said.

LEED certification was created in 2000 to recognize buildings that reduce energy and water consumption, improve indoor air quality and promote sustainable site development. Points are awarded based on a number of factors. The greater the point total, the more prestigious the designation. Platinum is the highest rung on the ladder.

More than 1,500 buildings have received certification, and more than 11,000 are seeking it.

Certifications are available in eight categories: new construction, existing buildings, commercial interiors, core and shell, retail, schools, health care and homes. Another category, for neighborhood developments, is in the pilot stage.

Under the proposed changes, the maximum points available in each of the seven commercial categories would be 110 (the changes would not affect the home category).

In order to attain certification for new construction, a project would need 40 points. Silver would require 50 points, gold 60 points and platinum 80 points, according to Webb.

Under the current system, the maximum for new construction is 69 points; LEED certification is awarded for 26 points.

NAHB Wants Your "Green", ... to Go Green!$$$

NAHB Urges Extension Of Energy Efficiency Tax Credits
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July 10, 2008 - Testifying today on behalf of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) before a House Small Business Committee hearing on “The Role of Green Technologies in Spurring Economic Growth,” Cincinnati builder Andrea Lucke urged Congress to extend the New Energy Efficient Home Credit, which was enacted in 2005 and expires at the end of the year.
“The nation’s home builders have the ability to profoundly affect sustainability and conserve precious natural resources and our environment,” Lucke said. NAHB members build about 80 percent of the new housing units in the United States.
Lucke, president of the Home Builders Association of Greater Cincinnati and vice president of Robert Lucke Homes, also updated hearing participants on the progress of the NAHB National Green Building Program and the new National Green Building Standard.
The tax credit “is a key market incentive that shifts builders towards significant energy savings in new home construction,” she said. “The program allows a $2,000 tax credit to a home builder who constructs a qualified new energy-efficient home, certified to achieve a 50 percent reduction in energy usage, thereby adding a highly efficient home that will likely remain part of the nation’s housing stock for 60 years or more.”
To encourage more builders to construct more energy-efficient housing, Lucke also urged members of Congress to increase the amount of the tax credit to pay for a bigger percentage of the higher building costs that are incurred when making a home 50 percent more energy-efficient.
Tax incentives work because they are market driven, Lucke said, and they are a much more effective approach than mandates.
“With a tax credit, important production decisions are still reserved for builders, buyers and home owners. Consequently, a tax credit program costs little to operate and does not require expensive administrative oversight that is usually associated with a mandate,” she said. “As Congress continues to look for ways to promote energy efficiency and sustainability, NAHB urges it to use incentives, rather than mandates, to encourage the growth of green technologies.”

Energy Audit using Flir Infrared Camera


Find Air Conditioning Failure, ... Before it Fails!


This normal looking Air Conditioning condenser is only 4 years old and still under the builders warranty. The system has been ineffective in cooling the home. Several HVAC tech's had checked the system and only attempted to "Over Charge" it with coolant. (Freon11)
We were asked to perform a Thermal Scan of the building envelope but during the Scan, we noticed issues with the Air conditioning system and with the condenser.

In the next Thermal image, you will see a distinct band of heat surrounding the middle of the condenser. This is a blockage in the coil and there is no circulation occurring. We reported this to our customer, who in turn reported this to the Builders. As a result, this system was replaced under the warranty and a new system was installed.

**The cooling fan was running so hot that it was nearly at melt down point!

Additions to Homes, ... Not Insulated!?


Here is the exterior wall of a home "Addition". It looked great visually but, as you can see in the Infrared Thermal Scan, the entire exterior wall was not insulated. The original wall to the right of the lamp was insulated. Home Buyers beware of homes with so called "Additions" or Remodels. All is not what it seems. Have the property Thermal Scanned prior to purchase

U.S. Department of Energy - Thermal Scans


U.S. Department of Energy - Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy

A Consumer's Guide to Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy

Thermographic Inspections

Energy auditors may use thermography-or infrared scanning-to detect thermal defects and air leakage in building envelopes.

How They Work

Thermography measures surface temperatures by using infrared video and still cameras. These tools see light that is in the heat spectrum. Images on the video or film record the temperature variations of the building's skin, ranging from white for warm regions to black for cooler areas. The resulting images help the auditor determine whether insulation is needed. They also serve as a quality control tool, to ensure that insulation has been installed correctly.

A thermographic inspection is either an interior or exterior survey. The energy auditor decides which method would give the best results under certain weather conditions. Interior scans are more common, because warm air escaping from a building does not always move through the walls in a straight line. Heat loss detected in one area of the outside wall might originate at some other location on the inside of the wall. Also, it is harder to detect temperature differences on the outside surface of the building during windy weather. Because of this difficulty, interior surveys are generally more accurate because they benefit from reduced air movement.

Thermographic scans are also commonly used with a blower door test running. The blower door helps exaggerate air leaking through defects in the building shell. Such air leaks appear as black streaks in the infrared camera's viewfinder.

Thermography uses specially designed infrared video or still cameras to make images (called thermograms) that show surface heat variations. This technology has a number of applications. Thermograms of electrical systems can detect abnormally hot electrical connections or components. Thermograms of mechanical systems can detect the heat created by excessive friction. Energy auditors use thermography as a tool to help detect heat losses and air leakage in building envelopes.

Infrared scanning allows energy auditors to check the effectiveness of insulation in a building's construction. The resulting thermograms help auditors determine whether a building needs insulation and where in the building it should go. Because wet insulation conducts heat faster than dry insulation, thermographic scans of roofs can often detect roof leaks.

In addition to using thermography during an energy audit, you should have a scan done before purchasing a house; even new houses can have defects in their thermal envelopes. You may wish to include a clause in the contract requiring a thermographic scan of the house. A thermographic scan performed by a certified technician is usually accurate enough to use as documentation in court proceedings.

The energy auditor may use one of several types of infrared sensing devices in an on-site inspection. A spot radiometer (also called a point radiometer) is the simplest. It measures radiation one spot at a time, with a simple meter reading showing the temperature of a given spot. The auditor pans the area with the device and notes the differences in temperature. A thermal line scanner shows radiant temperature viewed along a line. The thermogram shows the line scan superimposed over a picture of the panned area. This process shows temperature variations along the line. The most accurate thermographic inspection device is a thermal imaging camera, which produces a 2-dimensional thermal picture of an area showing heat leakage. Spot radiometers and thermal line scanners do not provide the necessary detail for a complete home energy audit. Infrared film used in a conventional camera is not sensitive enough to detect heat loss.

Preparing for a Thermographic Inspection

To prepare for an interior thermal scan, the homeowner should take steps to ensure an accurate result. This may include moving furniture away from exterior walls and removing drapes. The most accurate thermographic images usually occur when there is a large temperature difference (at least 20°F [14°C]) between inside and outside air temperatures. In northern states, thermographic scans are generally done in the winter. In southern states, however, scans are usually conducted during warm weather with the air conditioner on.

He See's The Light!


Green is All About the Money!

Will building green net you green?

More people are going green when renovating their homes, but they're basing their choices on "perceived value" rather than hard numbers. But the market is growing and is expected to continue to grow.

The 2007 McGraw-Hill Construction SmartMarket Report on Attitudes & Preferences for Remodeling and Buying Green Homes predicts that green preferences will boost the “true” green home market to $20 billion by 2010 from $2 billion in 2005.

The variety of reasons people buy green homes is huge. The top four reasons given by the participants in the McGraw-Hill study are operational cost savings (90 percent), environmental concerns (84 percent), occupant health (82 percent) and potential higher resale value (73 percent). Green renovation is also steadily growing in popularity. Nearly 40 percent of home remodeling is being done green, the study reports. The most-used green products for home remodeling projects are new or replacement windows (47 percent), HVAC (heating, ventilation and air-conditioning) systems (44 percent) and new window equipment or hardware (32 percent).

So making green choices when remodeling has, at the very least, the potential to save the homeowner money in energy and other costs. And going green doesn't have to mean making large wholesale changes.

Call American Infrared Consultants for more Information (520) 325-3777

Noisy Hotel = No Insulation

A 4-Star hotel in the Dallas area was getting numerous complaints from its guests. The Hotel was only a few months old and the guests were complaining that sounds from the adjacent rooms were clearly audible.
In other words, ... It Was Too Noisy!
This was not a Motel 6, and the room rates of $200.0+ per night certainly justify a complaint about next door neighbors.
A Thermal Scan was performed and it was found that nearly 85% of "All" of the rooms had insulation failure. That is incredible! I mean 85%!
Needless to say, the original contractor was called back and a major retro fit was begun.

So, as a building owner or one who has just built a new commercial building or home, ... Do you have the Insulation that you paid for?

Verify it with a Thermal Scan from American Infrared Consultants. (520) 325-3777

Saying It's Green doesn't make it Green!

Energy Efficiency needs to be "Verified", not just talked about.

How do you know that your "Energy Award" home is really insulated properly? Do you trust the builder?, ... The Seller?, ... The Marketing Hype?
No, you need to trust your eyes and the skill of a Certified Infrared Thermographer.

As you can see from these infrared images, taken with a Flir Systems T-400 thermal imaging camera, there are numerous sections of missing or inadequate insulation. Is this what you paid for? Energy efficient homes are real and a properly insulated home should be the norm, not the exception. As the consumer, expect more. Expect to get what you pay for.
Have a Thermal Scan performed on your home and Verify that it is properly insulated.
If your home is less than 4 years old, call for a Thermal Scan. Missing insulation is a Latent defect, thus making the Builder responsible.
Why pay the extra energy costs because of a defective product.
go to : www.AmericanInfraredConsultants.com

Air Conditioning Costs in an Arizona Summer! $$$


Here is a home we inspected and found an entire upper section of an exterior wall to have ZERO insulation!? How can this be you ask? This was an "Energy Award" home!! When looking at the wall visually, it looks normal. When our Thermographer performed a "Themal-Scan", he found this section of nearly 23' linear feet, to be completely void of insulation.

This particular home had been advertised as "Green" and "Energy Award", with "Loads of Extra Insulation"!

We think not.

Only a "Thermal-Scan" performed by American Infrared Consultants Certified thermographers can find problems like this. Call us, ... before you buy!

How "Green" is Your Green Energy Home???


As you can see in these thermal images, taken with a Flir Infrared camera, the exterior wall in the master bedroom is missing 2 full sections of insulation.

This was advertised as an "Energy Guaranteed" home! So, what do You think?
Call American Infrared Consultants today (520) 325-3777

Is your Home "Really" Energy Efficient?!

Flir Infrared technology allows the Certified Thermographers at American Infrared Consultants to find the missing insulation that You, ... the Homeowner, thought you had paid for.

These Infrared images were taken at a 2007 "Energy Award" home. Note the exterior wall cell with a complete void of insulation, as well as the Ceiling area where a full 24" x 54" section was empty of insulation!!

What do you think their Air Conditioning bills will be?? $$

San Diego Fires - November 2007


American Infrared Consultants were called out to the San Diego County area to evaluate numerous structures damaged during the November 2007 fire disaster. Using Flir Infrared cameras, we evaluated many residential structures for several Insurance companies. It was both incredibly sad and fascinating at the same time.

Whole neighborhoods were affected with multiple homes in a row burned out, while a lone home was completely unaffected. These are just a few of our photos.