Home Energy Audits
Performing a home energy audit is the first step toward cutting utility costs and making your home more comfortable....
What is an audit?
Audits, or energy assessments, are examinations of a home's exterior construction or envelope and the systems within the home. Audits measure the amount of energy a property uses and identifies why and where energy is being lost. Frequent causes of energy loss are leaky windows, a poorly sealed attic, ductwork tears, and invisible cracks.
How it Works
Professional auditors rely on various tools, the most common being blower door tests and thermographic inspections.
The tests, requiring three to four hours, help auditors discover where there is air infiltration or loss and pinpoint hidden, hard-to-reach spots where insulation is lacking or failing.
An auditor uses the test results, along with other data about your hearing and cooling habits and utility costs, to identify the home improvement projects that will boost a home's efficiency.
By making upgrades following a home energy assessment, homeowners can save between 5% and 30% on energy bills, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.
And repairs are not always big, high-ticket items. For example, some upgrades, such as air sealing and insulation, can be completed using a DIY approach. For examples, visit www.EnergyStar.org.
The cost of a professional audit can very based on size and location, but it is often possible to get free or low-cost audits through utility and government rebate programs. Locate programs the Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency at www.DSIREUSA.org.
Prepare for an audit
List all problem areas, like drafty or hot spaces, and compile copies of your utility bills.
Also offer information about your habits, including:
- The number of residents living in the house and whether people are home during the day
- Average thermostat settings for summer and winter and during the daytime and evenings
- Unused rooms, like the attic, basement, or spare bedroom
For auditors and energy experts, contact:
- Contact a REALTOR® with NAR's Green Designation - me! www.gailcorcoran.REALTOR
- Building Performance Institute, www.BPI.org
- Residential Energy Services Network (RESNET), http://www.resnet.us/
REALTORS® who have earned the National Association of REALTORS® Green Designation (www.greenresourcecouncil.org) can refer you to local experts who can assess your home's performance.
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