Winter is coming. The changing seasons mean different things for every homeowner. However, the changing temperatures offer a great time for a home energy audit. In particular, any gaps in your home means drafty doors and windows. Therefore, energy audits make a ton of sense. The one issue may be how to evaluate your energy audit report and determine your possible ROI.
Home Energy Audit 101
High-quality energy audits provide homeowners a detailed analysis of your main energy. Plus, a quality audit offers a prioritized list of recommendations. As a result, the recommendations resolve the homeowner’s energy efficiency and comfort concerns. Any worthwhile audit includes some level of field testing. Field testing during energy audits include some, or all, of the following:
- Blower door testing of the home (to test the home’s air tightness)
- Ambient CO Testing (to test the air in the home for Carbon Monoxide levels)
- Gas Leak Testing (to test natural and propane gas piping for leaks)
- Worst Case Depressurization Testing (to test for proper chimney operation)
- Spillage Testing (to test for proper chimney operation)
- Heating Appliance CO Testing (to test appliances for normal operation)
- Oven Testing (to test ovens and stovetops for normal operation)
- Duct Blaster Testing (to test ducts for air leaks)
- Pressure Diagnostic Testing (testing for pressure variations in the home)
Ultimately, an energy audit provides a report that enables results. For example, the results aim to achieve increased energy savings, improved comfort, remediation of health and safety problems. Additionally, all recommendations derived from an energy audit are prioritized and unbiased. Finally, an energy auditor and the homeowner work together to determine the project scope. As a result of a quality audit, homeowners receive a prioritized projects that require implementation that ensures improved home energy performance.
Tips to Evaluate Your Energy Audit Results
Energy audits remain the first step in assessing how much energy a home consumes. Additionally, the audit report provides insights into how to make your home more energy efficient. An assessment shows problems that may, when fixed, save you significant amounts of money over time. In order to evaluate your audit report, learn the basic measurements.
- Audit Report Results
The audit provides a comprehensive inspection of your home, including the heating and cooling system, ductwork, insulation, ventilation, doors and windows. Additionally, auditors inspect major appliances and lighting. An impactful audit report includes results from blower door test, which measures a home’s overall airtightness. Plus, an infrared scan, which detects thermal defects and air leakage in building envelopes.
- Minor Adjustments and Quick Fixes
Many audits sponsored by the local utility company include minor adjustments and quick fixes. The audit report provides information on easy fixes, such as replacing light bulbs with LED bulbs. However, the report provides an overview that shows where excess energy escapes your home. Therefore, you’ll know spots of your home that are not energy efficient. As a result, prioritize the in-depth projects, which require extensive fixes and/or updates. For example, you might need to replace your insulation, update your windows or make changes to your home’s heating and cooling or water systems. And while it might be more expensive to make the fixes now, the money and energy it could save in the long run could make it a worthwhile investment.
- Info on Available Rebates
Many energy audit reports include information on state or local rebates. Frequently, the local utility company offers rebates or other savings for making energy efficient home upgrades.
3 Steps to Calculate Your Home Energy Audit ROI
Interestingly, incorporating the recommendations from an energy audit offers some of the best return on your investment (ROI).
The impact is immediate.
In fact, the U.S. Department of Energy claims that homeowners save between 5 – 30% on their annual energy bills by making the recommended efficiency upgrades.
For example, when you swap out standard light bulbs for LEDs, then you immediately save on your electricity costs. Plus, you continue to save every month. For more expensive projects, the costs remain immediate and much larger! For example, installing new insulation helps reduce heating costs in the winter and cooling costs in the summer.
Although the free audit from the utility company provides a great start, a more comprehensive audit includes payback periods. As a result, the audit report makes it easy to make decisions based on the payback period of each project.
Complete An Energy Audit
If you do not have a reliable energy auditor nearby, then contact SolvIt. We also work with GreenHomes America, an unbiased organization that provides certified energy auditors throughout the country.
An energy audit simply identifies energy issues with your home. In order to generate any savings, then homeowners need to implement the high priority recommendations. These typically include air sealing and insulation throughout your home. Plus, other smaller activities such as replacing light bulbs or adding programmable thermostats.
“This step is the most important, for you are putting tips and ideas into solid improvements for your home. This is the investment part of the Return on Investment.”
Keep track of your savings by comparing your monthly bills with the previous year. From the first month you complete the recommendations from the audit report, you’ll start saving. Keep track of those savings and as they add up, your ROI will continue to increase.
Interested in learning more? Here is a quote from a professional auditor:
“For an example, I weatherized my home in November 2010. For the winter of 2010-2011, I purchased two tanks of oil (the previous winter had required close to four tanks). That’s it and I live in Maine. So, two tanks of oil is practically unheard-of, especially given our snowy and cold winter. For next winter and the subsequent winters as long as I stay in my home, I will continue to pay less than my neighbors to heat my house.”
Plus, remember that time is on your side. The longer you stay in your home, the great your eventual ROI. An investment in your home’s energy efficiency increases every year.
Energy efficiency audits offer many opportunities for a significant return on investment. For example, according to the Remodeling 2016 Cost Vs. Value Report, adding attic insulation helps homeowners recoup homeowners as much as 117% on their investment!
For any home energy audit questions, remember that SolvIt partners with the local utility companies throughout Connecticut. If you are tired of paying exorbitant energy bills, then contact SolvIt today!