Many of us have been hit with the rising cost of heating and cooling our homes or businesses. If your bills seem higher than average then having an energy audit should be your first step in assessing how much energy your property consumes, and evaluating what measures you can take to make your home more energy efficient. After all, if you don’t know what’s broken, how can you fix it?
Audits can determine the efficiency of your home’s heating and cooling systems and may show you ways to conserve hot water and electricity.Once you have made the decision to have an energy audit, you will need to prepare a list of any existing problems in your home or business.
A typical list might include:
• condensation on windows, window panes, baseboards or drywall
• uncomfortably hot, cold or drafty spots or rooms
• exceedingly high utility bills
• respiratory illness
Be prepared for your consultant to ask a few questions regarding your business or family’s behavior.
• Is anyone home during working hours?
• What is the average thermostat setting for summer and winter?
• How many people live here? Is every room in use?
You will also need copies or a summary of your home’s yearly energy bills. It is important that it be for the whole year, since seasons obviously affect energy usage. Each piece, no matter how small, helps to put the puzzle together on increasing your energy efficiency.
Your auditor will use this information to establish what to look for during the thermal scan of the property. Thermography and infrared scanning may sound like futuristic technology, but in fact, companies have been using them for years to determine energy efficiency. In fact, if an energy auditor does not use a thermographic camera, the data they use to make their recommendations will not be as accurate. You could miss out on the discovery of potential issues and their resolutions.
What happens during an energy audit?
1. The auditor does an inspection of the property.
2. The auditor will then scan the structure and take pictures of problem areas with a thermographic camera. You should walk with the auditor as he or she completes the scan. This way you can learn what is happening and answer any questions.
3. The auditor will provide a report identifying opportunities to reduce the amount of energy input into the system without negatively affecting the output.
4. The consultant will then sit down with you to review where your home is losing energy, how much energy you’re losing, and the different solutions for those energy inefficiencies.
Cost and savings
In most areas, Residential Energy Audits can be performed for just a few hundred dollars.
Most audit customers who implement even just a portion of their audit recommendations see significant savings. You could save tens, if not hundreds, of dollars a month in utility bills. You might even save yourself the hassle and cost of having unnecessary construction done.
If your property is giving you the energy blues, schedule an energy audit and find out what you can do to put the green back in your wallet.
Adam Levitt is the President and CEO of ProEnergy Consultants of Maryland. ProEnergy provides green consulting services to individuals and businesses through energy auditing, utility auditing and sustainability programs.