What many people may not realize is that the comfort of their home is closely tied to how energy efficient their house is. There are few things more uncomfortable than sitting in a cold and drafty living room during the middle of winter (and this in spite of having set the thermostat on high), or trying to fall asleep on a hot summer’s night when the air-conditioning just doesn’t seem to be kicking in. And let’s not even get into how much you’re paying in utility costs each month!
The fact is, high energy costs and uncomfortable homes are directly related through a lack of home energy efficiency, and that’s where energy audits can provide some much needed relief.
What Are Energy Audits?
Energy audits, also known as energy assessments, identify where and how a house is losing energy, which systems are working inefficiently (i.e., heating and cooling, ventilation, etc.), and will propose cost-effective solutions to rectify these problems.
How Many Types of Energy Audits Are There?
Certified RESNET Home Energy Auditors offer two different types of energy audits that you can choose from:
1. Home Energy Survey
A Home Energy Survey is a visual inspection that doesn’t involve the use of any diagnostic testing equipment. Its purpose is to assess the general energy performance of an existing home including:
- Building envelope features (windows, doors, insulation, ducts) and ages
- Heating, cooling and ventilation equipment types, characteristics and ages
- Appliance and lighting characteristics
- Comfort complaints
- Visible moisture issues
- Visible health and safety issues
The process includes a review of your energy billing history and utility usage in order to better understand where savings can be achieved. A full report of the assessment is provided, including basic recommendations on how you can improve your home’s energy efficiency, as well as low-cost, DIY tasks. Also included is information on relevant utility-based programs that could help you cut down on your energy usage.
2. Home Energy Rating
Of the two energy audits, the Home Energy Rating is the more in-depth one. It consists of everything included in the Home Energy Survey, but goes much further by also providing diagnostic testing using specialized equipment (i.e., blower door test, duct leakage test, infrared camera, etc.) and a computerized simulation analysis using RESNET Accredited Rating Software to calculate a rating score on the HERS® Index. The report also gives you a cost/benefit analysis for recommended improvements and the expected return on investment.
Lower Utility Bills, Improved Quality of Life…What Could be Better?
A home that’s not energy efficient is costly not just in terms of money but also health. Energy audits can help stop energy loss in your home, leading to a healthier living environment and lower energy costs. Contact your local certified RESNET Home Energy Auditor to find out what your options are.