The Importance of 3rd Party Verification
The value of Third Party Verification cannot be underestimated. This verification is the cornerstone of the “checks and balances” system. Every time I do a HERS or EnergyStar rating of a home my work is verified by another group. The Passive House and LEED certification ratings also require third party verification on all of the work done in the construction of the homes. It sets a level of excellence that reinforces the high standards that the most demanding energy efficiency programs require.
I strongly recommend that homeowners request third party verification on all of their projects. Using the third party verification system solves the debate over the independent verses One Stop Shopping audit style debate. With this model the One Stop Shops can do the audit and the efficiency upgrades work, then have a third party verify that the work is successful. It may sound cumbersome and costly but it is not.
If the initial audit is done using specific information about the home such as volume, surface area, square footage of the floors, and climate zone data to determine the natural air change per hour and cfm50 rates the third party auditor can use that information to run a final blower door diagnostic to measure the improvements in the air leakage of the building. The third party group also does the visual verification of the insulation work as well as an infrared scan of the thermal shell to determine the condition of the upgraded insulation areas. The inspector is also responsible for the combustion safety testing. With an average size home this final inspection can be de done in about an hour. The price can be built in to the One Stop model or can be part of the independent auditor’s fee.
Having third party verification as part of efficiency work clearly shows the homeowner that the installation contractors have the upmost confidence in their work quality and only the highest quality of work will be done on their home. The higher the standards that efficiency work adheres to the better it is for the industry.