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McLean Home Hosts Energy Audit

Energy Action Fairfax wraps up pilot program.

Guests at a McLean residence examine a thermal camera reading from Marty Valentine of Home Performance Solutions Wednesday, Aug. 29. Valentine performed an energy audit as part of a pilot program by Energy Action Fairfax.

Guests at a McLean residence examine a thermal camera reading from Marty Valentine of Home Performance Solutions Wednesday, Aug. 29. Valentine performed an energy audit as part of a pilot program by Energy Action Fairfax. Photo by Alex McVeigh.

— Members of Energy Action Fairfax hosted an energy audit party in McLean, Wednesday, Aug. 29, to show how energy efficiency can be achieved with a few simple steps at home. The event was the sixth audit this summer held in a residence, part of Energy Action Fairfax’s pilot program.

Contractors perform their audit during the day, using equipment to find wasted energy, most often in the heating and cooling of a house. Neighbors are invited over to observe the results, since many houses within a neighborhood were built around the same time and are made of similar material.

According to Energy Action Fairfax, 46 percent of energy use is heating and cooling, and another 14 percent is heating water.

Ernest Carter and Roshanak Badii hosted the party at their home on Barbee Street. They have owned the house since 1996, but just moved back into it the last year. It was built in 1955.

Grant Opportunity for MCF

The McLean Community Foundation is one of several local nonprofits that are eligible for a $1,500 grant from the Local Energy Alliance Program. A home energy report can be taken online at www.novaenergycon..., and visitors can enter "HEMC MCF" in the coupon code box to enter the McLean Community Foundation.

"I’m a realtor, so I’m always interested in homes, and I know this is an older home, so it’s nice to have a professional take a look," Badii said. "It’s especially interesting to see the air flow, because in this area you can’t really open your window much, it’s either too hot or too cold or too humid, so we’re always heating or cooling our air."

The contractors performed a blower door test, where a doorway is sealed and a large blower place there, in order to create an air flow throughout the house. They then used thermal cameras to detect spots where air was coming in from the outside.

Energy Action Fairfax teamed up with local civic organizations while hosting their various parties, including the McLean Citizens Association for the Aug. 29 audit. Badii is herself an MCA member.

"This is the third event we’ve co-sponsored with Energy Action Fairfax, the second audit and another meeting at Dolley Madison Library," said Sally Horn, MCA president, who attended the audit party. "I think it’s a fantastic program, not only because you can make your house more efficient, but make yourself more comfortable in it."

Marty Valentine, a home energy consultant with Home Performance Solutions, performed the audit.

"People get energy audits for four main reasons: their comfort, to save energy costs, improve air quality and because they care about environmental stewardship," he said.

Valentine said they typically like to see houses run no higher than 35 percent efficiency when it comes to moving conditioned air, and that the Barbee Street house was running at about 58 percent.

"It was interesting to see where outside air is leaking in, because there certainly aren’t too many visual signs," Carter said.

More information about Energy Action Fairfax can be found at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/energyactionfairfax.