What is a Home Energy Audit?

Every year, the world wastes more energy than it uses. This is a problem for our planet and for our pockets. Wasted energy and heat loss in homes means people’s energy bills are higher than they need to be. A home energy audit helps you find out how you can save energy, and money!

An energy flow-chart that shows the total amount of rejected (wasted) energy compared to energy consumed in the U.S. in 2021
67% of energy consumed in the U.S. each year is wasted (‘rejected’). Courtesy: Lawrence Livermore Lab, 2021

What is a home energy audit?

A home energy audit is an evaluation of your home’s energy use performed by someone with detailed energy efficiency knowledge. It is a relatively affordable way to identify and fix problem areas, and start saving energy and money!

You should plan for your audit to take up to 2-3 hours, and cost between $300-$400. Rebates may be available in your area for audits, so check before you start the process!

After the audit, you will receive a report that outline areas for improvement. This report can suggest whether installing new appliances or removing old ones could save energy; whether insulating or sealing up gaps in walls will be more effective than adding insulation; whether upgrading to a more efficient heating system would be worth it; and even if installing solar panels makes sense given your typical usage patterns.

How is an audit performed?

The first step in determining where your home is losing energy is to hire a home energy auditor.

The auditor will inspect various parts of your home, including the walls, insulation, windows, doors and light fixtures. All of these areas can impact the amount of heat lost in your home.

During the assessment, the auditor may create an airtight seal on one door (called a blower door test) to see how much air is escaping your home.

The auditor may also use handheld FLIR sensors during this process. A FLIR sensor is a sort of thermal infrared camera, used to spot areas of high heat loss.

What is a Virtual Energy Audit and how is it different?

Virtual energy audits are a new way to assess home energy loss without having to leave your home. You can use a virtual audit to get a general idea of where your home is losing energy.

Some virtual audits require you to speak with a home energy professional remotely over video conferencing. Using your device’s camera, you’ll take photos of different parts of your home while the auditor guides you through the process. This information can be provided in as little as 20 minutes! The auditor will then create a report that details these findings and possible recommendations to save energy.

Other audits are web-based, which can be completed very quickly. This type of audit will ask you to provide information about your home’s age, size, heating and cooling systems etc. By comparing information about your home to energy data of other homes, this virtual audit can provide general advice and recommendations.

Since it’s done remotely, there’s no need for an in-person visit to perform a virtual audit!

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3 Comments

  1. […] To maintain a comfortable and efficient living space, it must effectively control the flow of heat, air, and moisture in and out of the home. Because many homes do not have a perfectly sealed building envelope, there can always be room for improvement. That’s why a great place to begin discovering areas of high heat loss in a home is to complete a home energy audit! […]

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