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Guide to Energy Audits

Why do I need an energy audit?

An energy audit is the critical first step to becoming energy efficient, and the only way to really understand the difference between how much energy your home should be using and how much energy you home is actually using.  A thorough energy audit, like those provided by Priority Energy, will provide a cost/benefit analysis for every savings opportunity identified.  For example; if the audit performed on your home or business identifies (through thermal imaging) that your home is missing insulation, the final report should provide both an estimate of the cost to fix the problem and an estimate of the benefits of doing so.

Still not convinced please review the following articles on the importance of having a professional energy audit completed on your home:


Money Saving Tax Incentives and Rebates

Energy efficiency incentives make saving money even easier!

Did you know most anything you do to improve the energy efficiency of your home or business (including your Priority Energy Scan and Generation) comes at a discounted rate through state and federal incentives and/or rebates?

Contact us today to learn more or browse the links below to learn more about the incentives available to you based on the location of your home or business.

  • Learn about the new Home Star Program and how it could pay you up to $8,000 to become more energy efficient!

  • The Energy Star website provides a great overview of energy efficiency tax incentives.

  • The US DOE Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy is providing everything from federal tax credits to weatherization assistance:

    • The American Recovery and Reinvestment act extended many of the tax credits available to consumers and businesses originally introduced in the Energy Policy act of 2005

    • Their weatherization program is available in all 50 states. 

  • DSIRE is a comprehensive source of information on state, local, utility, and federal incentives and policies that promote renewable energy and energy efficiency. Established in 1995, DSIRE is an ongoing project of the NC Solar Center and the Interstate Renewable Energy Council funded by the U.S. Department of Energy.


Save Money and Energy with these New Devices/Technologies!

I've heard a lot about CFLs or Compact Fluorescent Lights, but do they really save money and are they as bright?

There's been no lack of advertising; seems everywhere you turn someone is pushing a CFL at you.  It seems like nearly all of our customers have either tried or know someone who has tried a CFL.  And, for good reason - there have been a number of incentives ran by everyone from local utilities to the department of energy to get these bulbs in the hands of consumers.  You're probably asking yourself why; well for good reason, these bulbs do use 75% less energy then traditional iridescent bulbs. 

Given the hype around these bulbs and the number of questions we get, we decided it was time to address it on our site.  As with all other money/energy saving devices and/or technologies, CFLs would have to pass the two tests to meet our seal of approval:

  1. Do they save enough energy to pay for themselves relatively quickly

  2. Do they save energy in a way that doesn't substantially change our lifestyles or daily habits.

The short answer to the first questions: overwhelmingly yes.  These bulbs have a number of energy saving benefits: 1.)  They use 75% less electricity then traditional bulbs because 2.)  They produce a significantly less amount of heat which also saves on those AC bills.  For more on the technology that makes this possible - please go to the energy star website.

The second question in our test required us to put a number of these bulbs to the test.  To pass our test there were two questions we wanted to answer based on customer feedback: startup/warm up time, reliability and overall quality of the light output.  To answer this question we relied on both our experience as well as independent sources such as Popular Mechanics and Energy Star.  The short answer here - is yes, we believe they do pass the test of minimal impact to lifestyle and habits with a couple of caveats. 

  • We have found the quality of CFLs has gotten better over the last 12 - 18 months (we believe in the rush to get them to market quickly many manufacturers let quality control slip initially), but when purchasing a large amount of CFLs we still find that about 1 in 10 or 10% don't operate as promised  (flickering being a common problem) and need to be returned.  But this number continues to get better all the time. 

  • We've had better luck with standard CFLs vs. dimmable CFLs.  Depending on the number of bulbs on a switch we found dimmable CFLs offer some challenges - if you turn some dimmers to low they can damage the bulbs - but this is easily avoided by making sure all bulbs on the same switch are dimmable CFLs and making sure that you initially turn the bulbs on at their brightest setting.

  • Warm up times vary greatly by manufacturer.  The Popular Mechanics article provides some information on warm up.  We've found the bulbs manufactured by FEIT to be one of the quickest to full brightness - they warm up in a few seconds.  These bulbs are available at Menards.

In summary we've found the benefits of CFLs in terms of the energy saving capabilities (both energy they use and decreased cooling costs) far out way any negatives we've found.  Especially in high use - everyday use around the house; you know those lights that seem to be on all the time.  After all, in most other countries of the world these bulbs have been in use for years; many countries in Europe don't even sell traditional iridescent light bulbs any more!

With that said, there are still cases where we prefer more traditional bulbs; areas around the house used infrequently for entertainment - where you may want the ability to dim the bulbs to a very low level of light, or applications such as closets where the bulb is only on for a few seconds/minutes at a time.

If you would like Priority Energy to help assess which lighting is right for your home or business please don't hesitate to contact us





For utility and fuel provider rebates, eligibility and amounts are determined by your utility and fuel providers. For federal tax credits, consult your tax advisor for eligibility and details under the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010 (P.L. 111-312, 12/17/10).  Priority Energy bears no responsibility if you do not qualify for or receive any rebates or credits. Advertised available rebates and tax credits are as of January 1, 2011. We only guarantee audit results if the home owner installs the home improvements and obtains utility and fuel bills for the 12 months before the whole house assessment for the premises where the improvements are to be made. The BPI logo is a trademark of the Building Performance Institute, Inc.  Priority Energy nationally recognized home performance leader.  The cost of the whole-house assessment will be applied to the cost of any home improvement project performed by Priority Energy.   "Right-sizing" refers to the process of determining which heating, ventilating, and air conditioning system should be used in any particular structure, savings vary. Find out why in the seller's fact sheet on R-values. Higher R-values means greater insulating power. Savings from each product will depend on the product or combination of products installed.  ENERGY STAR® is a registered trademark of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. 


Priority Energy is a Chicago area based home energy audit, Aeroseal Duct Sealing, energy efficient retrofit, IECC Training Center and BPI & RESNET Energy Audit Training company servicing towns such as:

Addison * Algonquin * Antioch * Arlington Heights * Aurora * Bannockburn * Barrington * Barrington Hills * Bartlett * Batavia * Bedford Park * Bensenville * Berwyn * Bloomingdale * Bolingbrook * Brookfield * Buffalo * Grove * Burbank * Carol stream * Carpentersville * Chicago * Chicago Ridge * Cicero * Cook County * Crystal Lake * Darien * Deer Park * Deerfield * Des Plaines * Diamond Lake * Downers Grove * Dundee * Echo Lake * Elgin * Elk Grove Village * Elmhurst * Elmwood Park * Evanston * Forest Lake * Fox Lake * Fox River Grove * Fox Valley * Franklin Park * Gilmer * Glencoe * Glendale Heights * Glenview * Golf * Grayslake * Green Oaks * Gurnee * Half Day * Hampshire * Hanover Park * Hawthron Woods * Highland Park * Highwood * Hinsdale * Hoffman Estates * Huntley * Indian Creek * Inverness * Island Lake * Ivanhoe * Joilet * Kenilworth * Kildeer * LaGrange * Lake Barrington * Lake Bluff * Lake County * Lake Forest * Lake In The Hills * Lake Zurich * Libertyville * Lincolnshire * Lincolnwood * Lisle * Lombard * Long Grove * Maywood * Medinah * Mettawa * Morton Grove * Mount Prospect * Mudelein * Mundelein * Naperville * Niles * Norridge * North Barrington * North Chicag * Northbrook * Northfield * Oak Brook * Oak Lawn * Oak Park * Palatine * Palos Hills * Park Ridge * Prairie View * Prospect Heights * River Forest * River Grove * Riverwoods * Rockford * Rolling Meadow * Romeoville * Rondout * Roselle * Rosemont * Round Lake * Saint Charles * Schaumberg * Schiller Park * Skokie * South Barrington * South Elgin * Streamwood * Streamwood * Sylvan Lake * Vernon Hills * Waconda * Wadsworth * Warrenville * Waukegan * West Chicago * Westchester * Wheaton * Wheeling * Wilmette * Winnetka * Wonder Lake * Zion


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