We've recently launched a home energy calculator to help home owners and professionals alike estimate the heat energy gain and loss of homes and large-scale structures. We really tried our best to put a good product out there and we would love to hear your opinions about it.
We figured Home Energy Pros is the best place to find out if our product is any good, so please view this post as us trying to get some insight into what we can do better, where we did alright and where we failed, etc.
We're really looking forward to hearing your thoughts, suggestions, criticism, and whatever you feel might help us improve on what we currently have.
It seems like a lot of work to accurately describe the house, but I guess you get accurate answers for your efforts.
At least I hope you do. There's nothing (that was mentioned) about describing the insulation in the walls, floors, ceilings, etc. Is that part of it somewhere that the narrator did not get into?
Whether a floor is over a basement, a slab, or a crawlspace, whether the basement or crawlspace is heated or not makes a difference too. Is all that taken into account somewhere in the calculator? What is on the other side of a wall is also relevant…. I did an energy audit where the laundry room had unheated space on 5 sides of it, and that room was so cold, I told the homeowner to keep a small electric heater there so his pipes would not freeze.
In the same home, they had a glass and metal window box in the kitchen…. very cute with glass shelves… It measured 14 degrees today (outside temp was 5) on the infrared camera.
I do BPI standard energy audits for the NJ Home Performance with Energy Star program, and all those things are recorded, and taken into account.
Strictly Business Energy
The accuracy of the calculation is governed by the Manual J formulas used by the ACCA.
Instead of asking users to describe a "construction system" such as a wall or floor in detail, the carousel of building systems allows them to choose a wall or floor system that best describes what is in place. The R values of any insulation added will be detailed when selecting a construction system.
Here's a screenshot to show you what I mean:
As for unconditioned spaces such as garages or indeed a laundry room. The Manual J stipulates they are to be considered outside spaces. So when drawing the homes envelop you would not include those areas.