Do you know the difference between a good energy audit and a bad one? Contrary to popular belief, the quality of the energy audit online has relatively little to do with the experience of the person conducting the audit and has more to do with the results obtained. And even the best audit conducted by the most qualified and best energy auditor will go to waste without proper follow up and action.
A good home audit takes into account all the energy usage in your home, including hidden or “vampire” energy wasters, as well as sources of energy loss. The collective area of your home’s energy usage and loss, called the energy envelope, surrounds your house and can include trim, windows, doors, even plants, and house orientation. The auditor, whether it is you or a professional, actively searches for energy usage, and just as important, energy loss or areas of potential energy loss. Generally speaking, a good audit is relatively hard to come by because of the initial effort required and keen attention to detail.
A bad audit, by contrast, is all too common. Often called a lazy audit, it tends to narrowly focus on the obvious parts of the envelope surrounding your home, and is oftentimes one dimensional. It can (and often does) miss key areas of your home that are most susceptible to heat and energy loss and almost never draws the correct conclusions when it comes to insulation, heat distribution, and heat loss estimation.
Unfortunately, even good audits can go bad. The follow-through, or follow up, is a key step. Even after someone delivers a knockout audit and outlines the results, more often than naught the homeowner sits on their hands, so to speak, and doesn’t act on the recommendations presented. This is less common if the homeowner does their own audit, however, since a good energy audit will often times motivate the homeowner to action.
The good news is that bad audits don’t have to happen. It is very easy for even an inexperienced novice to do a really good energy audit themselves with just a couple of hours in spare time. The benefits of a good energy audit should now be obvious – increased energy efficiency, more energy savings, and saving more money on your energy bills. A good energy audit will also have solid follow-through steps that not only motivate you to take action but provide clear advantages to doing so.