What Exactly is a Home Energy Audit?
There are many small things you can always do to conserve energy like turning off lights when not in the room or taking shorter showers. However, how do you know how energy efficient your home is on its own? That is where an energy audit can be of help. This will tell you just that as well as which improvements are recommended to take your home’s efficiency to the next level.
How an energy audit helps buyers
Energy audit details are not typically stated in a typical online listing, however sometimes these documents can be posted in MLS so that agents have access to share with their buyer clients. If not, sometimes you can request these during a home inspection. This can be more of a true read as you cannot always gauge average bills on the previous owner as everyone uses energy differently.
Home energy score
Various companies including local utility companies will do energy audits, yet the one rating that is becoming increasingly popular is the Department of Energy’s Home Energy Score. This has become a standardized process for measuring efficiency.
Other audit types
Most other sources will do a more “visual” audit of your home. This includes things like checking for window types, gaps, insulation in attics or doors as well as type of lightbulbs that are being used. These recommendations are typically more general.
How much does an audit cost?
It will depend on the size of the home, but can cost around $150 to $250. This can be sometimes less if rolled into a home inspection package. Utility companies also sometimes offer their visual inspections in exchange for locking into a program.
What the auditor looks for
These audits take a couple of hours. They will measure windows and floor space for insulation. In addition, they factor in age of HVAC systems, water heaters and the condition of ductwork. This is all entered into a system that will calculate a rating between 1 and 10. A 10 states it is within the top 10% in energy efficiency, 5 being average and 1 consuming more energy than 85% of homes in the United States. These reports also offer recommendations for what the homeowner can do to improve efficiency, mostly having to do with insulation. They will also offer potential numbers in the way of saving per year should you increase your overall score.