For the past 2 years, I have been manually collecting data and generating reports in word. I offer a short report (4-7 pages) which covers the basic BPI requirements and red flags any hazards, and a much more robust report (over 20 pages) which serves as a long term guide towards sustainability. The larger report features many graphs, pictures, and site specific images.

 

 

While my clients think the large report is fantastic, it takes an inordinate amount of time to create. I have been looking for the "silver bullet" software solution that makes the auditing process, reporting, retrofit scope of work, and sales much more efficient. Last spring, I participated in a webinar for Recurve and I had hoped that Recurve would be that "silver bullet", but I have no idea if or when it will ever be released. 

 

A homeowner hired me to retrofit their house after they had an audit by a large company with locations in 3 states. Their report was atrocious. They erroneously overestimated the square footage by 1500 sq.ft. and therefore all their conclusions were WAY OFF. While they had 5 pages of IR images depicting air leakage, they offered no solutions. Even with the evidence of so much air leakage, the auditor declared them OK because the error in house size threw off all of his air leakage conclusions. The only concrete solution this company offered was to change light bulbs and buy a solar attic fan; which they happen to sell. The home in question had mostly cathedral ceilings and an attic fan would have only exaserbated the stack effect due to inadequate passive roof ventilation. Clearly, this company's system did not work. This type of shoddy reporting will give us all a BAD name. Maybe a better software and system would have helped this inexperienced auditor produce an accurate and helpful report. But clearly this company has much larger issues too.

 

1) How do you pre-qualify a homeowner before the audit?

2) How are you auditors collecting data, generating reports, and selling retrofits?

3) What software, if any do you use?

4) How do you handle images? 

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How about you actually doing the "labor"? I find it insulting "Once we know what to do, where and how to do it, we still lack the laborers" If you lack the expertise of actual hands on experience you really have no business in this business. We have enough "paper pushers" Get out there and actually do something with your hands other than type, it's actually gratifying.

Ann,

Has this software been approved and listed on the DOE approved software site?

Hi.  I noticed nothing has been posted here since April.  Anyone have anything new to offer regarding software -- I am on the look-out for the "silver bullet" as well and to make it more complicated -- Apple compatible.  :)

Marnie,

You should check out my company's handheld Energy audit:  Hancock's "HEAT."  It runs on the iPad, iPhone and iTouch.   1. Enter the homeowner address information, 2. Take the Apple device into the field and run the energy audit.  Produce a graphic-rich homeowners energy savings report on site that accurately projects savings from recommended measures.  3. Take photos and voice memos directly from the iPad, iPhone or iTouch.  The photos will embed themselves in the reports.  4.  If you're looking for the "silver bullet," use the back-end too.  Meaning, follow through with the recommended measures and create visual work orders and organize your entire work flow. 

It is currently being used in 15 states.

If you want to see it, send me an email "danielle [at] hancocksoftware.com" or give me a ring   508-718-2974, toll free 1-866-358-5217

.www.hancocksoftware.com

Thanks Danielle.  Just went to your site and ordered a free demo.  This looks VERY PROMISING!!!  It is so incredibly hard to find apple friendly products for home energy software.

Danielle, that sounds exciting!  

Does it have a mechanism for tracking & reporting results?  One of the challenges is having confidence in the promise.  Tracking one or two job and, whether a success or a failure, you can't have much certainty.  

But if you track results on enough projects you'll start to develop a statistical confidence around promised to actual savings (How nice to be able to say; "my last 20 jobs people saved $1.05 for every dollar projected, with the typical range being between 93 cents and $1.20").  

The challenge is manually tracking and performing analysis is very time consuming.  A software that had some tracking analyses built in would be really nice.  

May not be a silver bullet, but give Home Gauge a look. Adaptable to home Inspectors and Energy Audits as well. Integrated spread sheets apply to BPI audits and can be easily customized to do SIR Rate of return calculations for suggested upgrades. The software also breaks out findings to a workscope report.I like it!

Interesting that nobody has mentioned the RESNET HERS yet?  We use it for new and retrofit.  It is accepted for new & existing home mortgages, ENERGY STAR and recognized nationwide.  The features and reports are many.  It may be a bit difficult for a layman to understand many parts of it but if the rater takes just a few moments then most of the reports can easily be understood, even by an 8th grader!  You do need to get the HERS training & work with a QC provider but we feel that it weeds out the incompetent "wanna be".

It is not very customizable and we have occasionally (rarely) added our own simple Word doc with pictures.  Surely not a "silver bullet" of energy auditing but probably just a good average .38 caliber!

The HERS is comparable to BPI and often seen as competitors although they do show up promoting the same issues and driving to ward the same end goals.

BTY we act primarily as 3rd party and remove ourselves from selling other products, services and such although it is very tempting to engage in that as well.  We do give referals when asked but disclaim any guarantees. Our website - www.swiftsureenergy.com

  

Also whrightsoft is in the process of developing there on auditing module. Just participated in a whrightsoft class and was given this info. Whrightsoft is the "silver bullet" for hvac loads calc. and reporting.

Kent---------------Please excuse my possible ignorance,but could you give more details on the RESNET/HERS software you mentioned. I was not aware that RESNET had software of their own. Might you be refering to REMRATE? I would be intersted in seeing the RESNET/HERS software. Do you have a link to info?

Yes the HERS (Home Energy Rating System) is derived from Remrate.  RESNET raters use the Remrate software for reports ranging from tax credits, ENERGY STAR certifications, certain mortgages and improvement options with several types of payoffs, & more... It isn't RESNET software but as far as I know the Raters all use it?  We use it for new and existing home applications.  

Kent----thanks for clarifing that RESNET does not have their own software. I figured you knew something that others would want to know. RESNET has three approved software progams for raters.Where you are located and what others in your area are using sometimes makes one think that's all there is.

If you have not given Phil Jeffers software a test drive, it's worth an investigation. Sometimes folks don't want or need all that REMRATE can do.

 

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