What is an Energy Audit?
An energy audit is a fundamental first step toward reducing utility bills. By analyzing a building's major components including the building envelope, combustion equipment, ductwork, attics, crawlspaces, and more, a comprehensive energy audit provides an overview of how the building is functioning.
When performing an energy audit, the technician will perform inspections and run diagnostics tests throughout the home and make recommendations that will reduce the home's overall energy consumption, increase comfort levels, and ensure a safe, healthy indoor environment.
The following steps briefly describe the procedures for a home energy audit:
Interview the inhabitants about any heating and cooling comfort issues.
Inspect and health & safety issues in the home such as the presence of mold, asbestos, carbon monoxide, and lead paint.
Inspect insulation levels throughout the home, and locate areas lacking adequate insulation.
Determine the building's air leakage through blower door testing.
Inspect and test distribution systems for air leakage and insulation issues.
Inspect and test all combustion appliances for safety issues and combustion efficiency.
Calculate the ventilation needs of the home.
Perform infrared inspections to detect air leakage, moisture, and insulation problems.
Identify areas of improvement ranging from water and electric consumption to adding insulation and air sealing.
A More Healthy Living Space
Indoor air quality plays a large role when it comes to health and safety in the home. Could your combustion equipment be spilling carbon monoxide into the home? Are fumes from your attached garage entering your home through air leaks? Is moisture causing mold to grow in areas of the home? These are all questions that a professional whole-house energy auditor is trained to answer.
Higher Resale Value
In an era of increasing energy prices, volatility in the energy markets, and increasing concern about climate change and greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to it, energy-efficient buildings are enjoying an increased demand in the housing market. Investing in energy efficiency improvements will ensure that your home fetches a higher resale value down the road.
Preparing for an Energy Audit
Before the energy auditor visits your house, make a list of any existing problems such as condensation and uncomfortable or drafty rooms. Have copies or a summary of the home's yearly energy bills. (Your utility can get these for you.) Auditors use this information to establish what to look for during the audit.
The energy auditor will run diagnostics tests and will need access to the whole home, including the attic, basement, crawl space, bathrooms, etc.
A typical home energy assessment can last anywhere from 3-5 hours depending on the size and type of home.