To homeowners, “home energy audit” may not be the most agreeable sounding term. This is likely the result of the word “audit” being closely associated with the IRS and tax audits. However, a home energy audit can be very beneficial for both you, and for the environment. A home energy audit (also sometimes known as a home energy assessment, checkup, or evaluation) is the first step in assessing how much energy your home consumes, and in evaluating what measures you can take to make your home more efficient.
The process of a home energy audit includes a series of tests, inspections, and calculations that provide essential info for saving energy and money spent on utilities. The goals of a home energy audit are to:
- determine the overall energy efficiency of a property
- discover all problems relating to energy efficiency, and
- provide a recommendation of what should be done to fix the discovered energy problems.
Home Energy Audits are a great first step in improving your homes’ energy usage (and thereby helping both your wallet and the environment). Here are a number of the benefits of a home energy audit:
- Improved energy efficiency
- Increased energy savings
- Lowered heating costs
- Reduced environmental impact
- Increased marketability & selling price of your house
Another benefit of a home energy audit is that it can qualify you for tax breaks. The Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 included tax incentives originally introduced in the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (EPACT). This bill also included tax incentives for businesses, utilities, and government. For a complete summary of the tax incentives included in the bill, read summary of Energy Tax Incentives in The Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 (www.energy-audits-unltd.com).
While an energy audit provides great opportunity and potential for savings in energy bills, an audit alone won’t save energy. Following an audit, the recommended improvements need to be implemented in order to increase energy efficiency. Energy Star provides a wealth of information about home improvement projects to enhance energy efficiency, lower utility bills, and increase comfort.
If you have decided to conduct an energy audit on your home, there are opportunities to both do the audit by yourself, or to hire a professional to do it. The ENERGY STAR Home Energy Yardstick is one helpful tool in determining where your home’s energy use ranks compared to others. If you are interested in specific recommendations for improving the efficiency of your home, contact a professional home energy auditor. Professional auditors have a variety of techniques and equipment to determine the energy efficiency of your home. Professional auditors often use equipment such as blower doors, which measure the extent of leaks in the building, and infrared cameras, which can reveal missing insulation.
Either done by yourself or a professional, a home energy audit is a great way to gain a better understanding of your house. Implementing what you have learned from an audit is a great way to benefit both your wallet, and the environment.