Benton Green Energy (BGE) is a company that is expert in greening homes in the Greenville, South Carolina area. If you live in another part of the country, find a similar enterprise that specializes in building performance.
What Benton Green Energy can do for you:
- As of January 1, 2013, all new South Carolina permitted homes must meet the 2009 International Energy Compliance Code, including air infiltration and duct leakage testing. All new residential construction in North Carolina requires blower door and duct leakage tests. Benton Green Energy can test your home for a minimum $250 with scheduling of 24 hours notice.
- Blower door testing is done by depressurizing a building and measuring the air infiltration rate through leaks in its envelope. BGE can estimate how much energy is escaping in those air leaks and how much money you will save by correcting them. The blower test can be done again after repairs to see what further improvements are necessary.
- A whole-house energy audit uses several high-tech, state-of-the-art techniques to pinpoint the main places where the home is wasting energy and recommends "the most cost-effective improvements for maximum comfort, minimum energy bills, and optimal indoor air quality and building health and safety." An infrared camera finds air leaks and deficient insulation area; a blower door measures air infiltration rate; a duct blaster test shows where ducts need sealing or new joints. The audit inspects all parts of the building shell--windows, doors, insulation, air sealing, walls, floors and roof; combustion equipment including boilers, furnaces and water heaters; air movement inside the home to determine if it is safe.
- A Home Energy Rating System (HERS) Rating quantifies the energy efficiency on a standard numerical scale, like the miles-per-gallon ratings for vehicles. When the number is good, it can add resale value to the home.
- Manual J and Manual D load calculations to properly plan the size of a new heating and cooling system for maximum energy use with least energy consumption, also checking existing ductwork. This should be done before you commit to installing new units.
- Home performance contracting which is inspecting energy use plus additional areas such as moisture problems, lighting, mechanical systems and indoor air to maximize energy efficiency, building durability, and healthy indoor air quality.
- ENERGY STAR® home certification to meet the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) standards using less energy, saving $200-400 yearly, keeping out excessive heat, cold, and noise, ensuring consistent temperatures, and receiving up to 15 percent lower rates through Duke and Progress Energy.
- Indoor airPLUS certification, an ENERGY STAR® label home plus up to 30 additional home design and construction features that help protect qualified homes from moisture, mold, pests, combustion gases, and other airborne pollutants. BGE does the independent third-party inspection to ensure compliance.
- Facilitate getting an Energy Efficient Mortgage (EEM) or an Energy Improvement Mortgage for new or existing homes, allowing you to finance energy-saving improvements within the mortgage.
- Investment-grade energy audit, the most detailed energy audit for commercial and industrial clients that analyzes energy saving financials and return on investment from potential changes. The investment-grade audit is a budget tool for facility upgrade planning with life-cycle cost analyses. BGE also designs, builds and installs lighting upgrades, HVAC, solar hot water and photovoltaics, building envelope air sealing and duct sealing. They can help with funding the projects. "State agencies, public colleges or universities, school districts, local governments, and private nonprofits are eligible for a low-cost revolving loan program through The South Carolina Energy Office."
BGE is certified in:
- Building Performance Institute (BPI) Certified Professional, a U.S. building science accreditation on whole-house performance. See the website for details.
- ENERGY STAR Partner, the U.S. EPA's energy efficiency standard for more environmentally friendly, energy efficient, healthy homes with lower energy bills.
- Residential Energy Services Network (RESNET) Certified HERS Rater, the leading U.S. energy rater organization for comprehensive energy audits.
For more information, read the Benton Green Energy website, telephone 864.492.1344, email Dean@BentonGreenEnergy.com, or visit Dean Benton at 21 Selwyn Drive, Greenville, SC 29615. There are coupons offered on the website.
If you cannot afford an energy audit by a commercial company, then read the Best green energy remodels article and at least try a do-it-yourself version. A little money spent on caulk or insulation will make some difference in your energy use. Make a planning list of both what are probably the most important actions you should take that will have the greatest effects and the least expensive actions. Set aside monthly as large a portion of your income as you can and do the repairs on your list as enough money becomes available in your energy fund.