What is a Home Energy Audit?
A home energy audit or energy evaluation or energy assessment is exactly as it sounds. Much like any audit that is performed on finances, jobs or companies, an audit will assess all of your home’s energy uses and outline all of the specifics. In simple words, a home energy audit is a process that helps you to identify where your home is losing energy and what steps you can take to improve energy efficiency. A home energy audit is something that every homeowner should be doing every two to three years in order to ensure maximum efficiency and spending.
You can perform home energy audit on your own, or you can hire someone to come in and perform a more professional approach. No matter which route you take with a home energy audit, you’ll be able to find room to save energy and money and help reduce your carbon footprint. Apart from this, it also assesses health and safety issues that might exist in your home. You’ll also be setting a standard for your family and helping yourself better understand exactly how you use energy every day, and what types of methods you can take in the future in order to prevent it from happening in excess.
Types of Energy Audits
1. Hire Professional Energy Auditor
A professional service can save you the time and effort it takes from having to gather all of this information yourself. Although the process is a little less enlightening and more costly, if you’re not prepared to sit down and sift through every bill (or you haven’t kept copies of every single one) then this method is probably the best approach. A professional energy auditor will go through different aspects of your energy usage and identify key outliers, just like you would do in your own audit. The benefits of using a professional against using your own two hands include:
- A significant saving of time spent doing other things.
- A more professional look at where you could be saving energy and costs.
- Someone who is skilled in the industry and can perform results for you in the form of a report or recommendations.
A professional auditor will take into consideration a number of factors – the size of your family, your home and much more.
2. DIY (Do-it-yourself)
Sometimes an audit can take quite a long time to complete, and other times if you have the right resources available, it’s as simple as adding and comparing some numbers. If you keep copies of all of your bills; hydro, electrical, water, heat, AC, etc., then the process for performing a home energy audit on your own can be relatively simple. Using an electricity bill as an example, get copies of the last year’s worth of bills you have paid without trying to save on energy. Go through these bills month by month, outlining the important factor first: the final cost. Follow these quick and efficient steps while you go through your bills in order to assess your energy costs so far:
- The final amount paid on each bill at the end of each month.
- When you used energy in low, mid and high peak periods.
- How much energy was being used in your home during the month.
- Identify what the energy was used for (think back and consider any potential outlying factors which may have contributed to either a high or low usage period, and try to keep track of these events in the future).
- Go through each of the bills and figure out if there was any room to save money that month, or if the costs of your energy had gone up significantly within that time (sometimes energy costs can go up in the middle of a billing period, so take that into consideration as well).
When you consider all of these variables and weigh each month against each other, you’ll be able to come up with some final numbers, including:
- The amount of energy you used that year in kW/h.
- The final amount of money spent throughout the year.
- When you often used energy during mid or high peaks.
By identifying this information, you’re already halfway done in your audit. Now perform each of these steps through separate bills and come to a final sum. You can then use this information to create a plan that works for you moving forward.
Why Should You Perform a Home Energy Audit
1. Save Money: The very first advantage of performing a home energy audit is that it will help you save money on your utility bills depending on what kind of upgrades you make to your home. You could save 5% to 30 % no your electricity bill by making upgrades identified in your home energy audit.
2. Reduce Carbon Footprint: When you reduce your energy needs, it will automatically reduce your carbon footprint which can reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Fixing air leakage, proper insulation, using maximum daylights, changing old appliances with energy efficient ones, using less electricity for heating are few of the ways that can help reduce your impact on the environment.
3. Save Energy: Improper insulation and leaky windows are two most common things that cause air leakage. Just by fixing these two things, you can reduce much of your energy needs. Although there might be other lot of things on the list to save energy, these two things together are the most effective ways to save money and energy.
4. Ensure Health and Safety: Safety for your family should be of utmost priority to you. During energy audit, a home is inspected for health and safety. The audit team use advanced tools and techniques to check if there are any electrical or other hazards, ensure wiring is done properly and it will not lead to electrical fires, test for fuel leaks in furnace, perform combustion appliance zone testing on all combustion fuel powered appliances.
5. Set a Standard For Your Friends and Relatives: Doing an energy audit can help you identify the ways to save energy for your home. This way you can set as an example for rest of the people and let them know how you managed to bring down your electricity bills and what steps they can take to take advantage of the same. By adopting small energy saving methods by large number of households can certainly bring down energy consumption and make this planet safe for our future generations to come.