Gaines Group Architects
harrisonburg energy audit

Green Term Defined: Energy Audit

An energy audit is an inspection that looks at energy flow in a building. The objective of an energy audit is to identify things that can be modified to reduce energy usage and increase comfort and safety for the occupants of the building.

An energy audit usually involves a blower door that depressurized a house or office and thermal imaging technology to see the thermal bridges and air leaks. The audit will also identify equipment, lights, and appliances that can be replaced or upgraded to reduce energy consumption.

North Fork Middle School North Fork Middle School

There are common places that you can address without an audit to cut your energy loss. 

  1. caulk the gaps and cracks
  2. seal the electrical outlets
  3. seal your crawl space
  4. add insulation in the attic

In Harrisonburg for homes that use electric heat HEC provides free energy audits. This free audit is performed by me and is a very basic level energy audit that will identify a litany of items to improve. If you do not live in the city or do not have electric heat or own a commercial project or want a comprehensive audit you should call Building Knowledge.

harrisonburg energy audit


Green Term Defined: Solatube

Green Term Defined: Solatube

A Solatube is a tubular daylighting system. The solatube was created in Australia that captures daylight using a dome installed at the roof deck level and reflects it through a cylindrical tube into interior spaces.

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Penn Laird Custom Home

Green Term Defined: Window

Green Term Defined: Window


A casement is a window that is attached to the frame on the side with one or more hinges. They are more air tight than double hung windows due to the door like construction. The windows are often operated with a crank or lever.


A double-hung window is one that has two sashes that are able to move up and down. These windows are harder to make air tight due to the connection when closed between the top and bottom sash.


Windows can be made of vinyl, fiberglass, or wood. There can also be combination materials such as a fiberglass clad wood window. These are wood on the inside and fiberglass on the exterior.

Some of the qualities that should be looked at when selecting a window is the Design Pressure, U-Factor, and Solar Heat Gain Coefficient.

Design pressure rating measures the amount of pressure a door or window will withstand when closed and locked. The higher the DP numbers the better the performance.

U-factor correlates to the rate of heat transfer. The lower the number the better a window is at keeping heat inside the structure.

Solar Heat Gain Coefficient measures how well a product blocks heat from the sun. In warm climates, the lower the number the better. In cold climates you want a higher number to allow the heat into your structure.