What exactly is an energy audit?
-Michelle B., Piscataway, NJ
An energy audit (or assessment) is a way of determining how much energy your home uses. Learning your biggest energy drains can help you discover ways to improve your energy efficiency and save on your bills.
The auditing process involves a room-by-room inspection of your home to find areas where energy may be wasted, such as air and fuel leaks and insulation issues. The process can involve tools like a blower door (a large fan that depressurizes the area to check for air leakage) and an infrared scan. An auditor will also look at your past bills to determine your base energy consumption. Once the assessment is complete, the auditor will be able to make recommendations on how to upgrade your home to fix any efficiency or safety issues.
The directories on the ENERGY STAR and RESNET web sites are good places to start in locating a professional to conduct an audit. You can also use the ENERGY STAR Home Energy Yardstick to perform a basic self-assessment and get tips for improving your home, though you’ll need your utility bills for the past 12 months to do so.