Welcome to the Home Energy Guide series of articles on how to make your home more Green and Energy Efficient. With each article we highlight an important topic in making your home more energy efficient. This article’s topic is Home Energy Audits. emergency offers excellent info on this. Your home is an energy hog! New homes, old homes, refurbished homes…all are losing energy! The typical American home loses a minimum of 30% of the energy used to heat and cool it. Home Energy Audits are the exact place to start when beginning to make your home more energy efficient. These will highlight all the key areas that affect your home energy performance and most importantly you and your family’s comfort!
Symptoms of a home that is not energy efficient are drafty rooms, moisture around the windows, inconsistent home temperature between rooms, excessive dust and of course high energy bills. A Home Energy Audit can find the source of these issues. This takes out the guess work and allows you to fix what is wrong the first time rather than through trial and error. It’s kinda one of those things where you don’t want to really know how bad it is and it will just make you depressed. But one piece of advice, don’t waste your time or money on an audit if you aren’t prepared to do or get the work done.
So you are ready for a Home Energy Audit? These audits come in two forms: Self Assessment and In Home Audits. A self assessment is one that you, the homeowner, do usually through an online site. You can usually find these on your local utility’s website or through local, state and local government energy websites. The Pros of these types of tools are that they are free and quick to administer. Cons are that the information provided by these home audits is very general (they cannot give specific details about where you are losing energy) and only as accurate as the homeowner enters. In Home Audits are administered by a professional where he uses tools such as a Blower Door, Duct Blaster and possibly an Infrared Camera (an absolute must in my opinion). They will do a series of diagnostics and enter the information into specific software used for Energy Audits that give you accurate information on how leaky your home is and exactly where those leaks are located.
An Energy Auditor should be sanctioned by either RESNET (Residential Energy Service Network) or BPI (Building Performance Institute). These agencies directly partner with the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Agency. Trust me, you do not want a “weekend” home improvement specialist performing these tests. And you never should take bids to fix the problems from your energy auditor, as that is probably a bit of a conflict of interest, don’t you think? Okay, so pros of this type of audit are that you will get a complete understanding of where your home is inefficient and you will get a detailed report showing you such. The sole con is that these audits usually range from $300 to $500 depending on the size of your home and the exact type of information you are looking to find. But you will usually get this money back after you make the energy saving improvements to your home.