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Austin American-Statesman - - WORLD & NATION -

See more pho­tos with this story on­line. Austin In­spec­tors Ex­change, said the au­dits help make buy­ers aware of the bot­tom-line costs of the home. A $200 au­dit, he said, can save a home­owner that much in the first three months if cer­tain re­pairs are made.

“A buyer might care if the A/C is pump­ing air into the at­tic,” said Mey­erdirk, whose firm is an Austin-based res­i­den­tial and com­mer­cial in­spec­tion com­pany that also per­forms en­ergy au­dits.

He said the au­dits can re­veal prob­lems that home in­spec­tions won’t. Duct test­ing, which isn’t cov­ered in a home in­spec­tion, is the main part of the en­ergy au­dit, he said.

The rec­om­men­da­tions might con­sist of adding more re­turn air to the A/C unit or putting in so­lar screens. An in­spec­tion would note only if there are such screens and whether they are dam­aged, he said.

For Mey­erdirk, the or­di­nance’s suc­cess has been that 95 per­cent of the houses his firm au­dits re­vealed duct leak­age in ex­cess of the city’s max­i­mum 10 per­cent guide­line. For the most part, those re­pairs can be made for $400 to $800, “and the re­turns can be seen within the first year,” he said.

Holly Everett had an au­dit done be­fore re­cently sell­ing a 37-year-old home she bought 11 years ago on Park­field Drive in North Austin.

“The en­ergy au­dit helped con­firm my thoughts about the house be­ing very en­ergy ef­fi­cient,” Everett said. “The au­di­tor had many ideas about ways of sav­ing money that I had never con­sid­ered, plus he had lots of in­for­ma­tion about new prod­ucts that can help fur­ther re­duce my car­bon foot­print.”

Everett said she has reaped the ben­e­fits of work done by the home’s pre­vi­ous owner, who had an au­dit done long be­fore the 2009 or­di­nance and made changes that in­cluded adding so­lar screens, ex­tra in­su­la­tion and a dig­i­tal ther­mo­stat. Everett said she paid $40 to $90 a month less in home en­ergy bills than friends with com­pa­ra­ble houses.

Mey­erdirk said the only down­side he’s found is that so few au­dits are be­ing done — he es­ti­mates that only half of the homes sold in any given month might qual­ify for the au­dit — so any en­ergy sav­ings as a re­sult of peo­ple mak­ing up­grades is “a drop in the bucket.”

Still, there are ad­van­tages to the au­dits be­yond en­ergy sav­ings, au­di­tors say.

“The bot­tom line is that the very same mea­sures that we do to a home to im­prove its en­ergy ef­fi­ciency of­ten also

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