Energy audits are a hot commodity for today’s homeowner or business owner looking to increase the value of their investment as well as the livability and efficiency of their home. However, as the number of energy audits performed increases, so does the potential for untrained auditors to find their way into the homes of unsuspecting consumers. With that in mind, selecting the right energy auditor is crucial to getting the results you deserve. When you search for an energy audit, keep these 5 points in mind:
- Choose an auditor with a whole building mindset. An energy auditor that works for a window company will most likely have the mindset that you need new windows (since that is what he/she will make a commission on selling you). Instead look for someone that is an independent auditor or works for a company that can install numerous improvements so that your unique home’s needs will be met accurately.
- Check to see that your auditor has the proper certifications. All auditors need to be trained by the Building Performance Institute (BPI) or RESNET. Also, make sure that the auditor you choose meets the qualifications for all utility rebate programs you are trying to work toward and that their audit will be accepted by said programs. A Home Performance with Energy Star approved auditor is a good choice.
- Make sure the auditor you choose has the proper diagnostic tools to accurately assess your home or place of business. This should include a blower door fan, a smoke pen and/or an infrared camera to find the air leakage around your home and in your ductwork and a Combustion Area Zone (CAZ) safety test. In addition, an auditor should do a thorough visual inspection of your home or office’s insulation in all areas of the space including attic, basement (if your building has them), exposed rim joists and exterior walls. A good way to ensure that all these points will be covered is to simply ask the auditor prior to the audit how the process works and what tools he or she will use. Their answer should give you most of the information you need.
- Be sure that they will be able to give you a detailed report. A good auditor will be able to provide you with a list of recommended improvements; estimated savings associated with making those improvements and should be able to recommend someone to make the improvements.
- Ask if your auditor will perform a “post” test after the improvements have been completed. This will ensure the improvements have made a difference (for the better) in your home due to proper installation, as well as give you proof on your home’s improved energy efficiency that you can use when you sell your property. Most reputable energy auditors will perform this step free of charge.