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What is a Home Energy Audit?

A home energy audit may sound complicated, but the concept is actually simple. This voluntary service involves having your home inspected to determine how efficiently it uses energy and water. Also referred to as an energy evaluation, the service allows you to pinpoint areas in the home that would benefit from home improvements that increase energy efficiency.

Benefits

Home energy audits offer valuable information on improving energy efficiency, which saves money on your utility bills and increases the comfort level in your home. Homeowners who have energy audits performed and make the suggested changes to their houses often save 25 to 40 percent on their monthly energy bills, depending on the age and state of the home. Because of the energy you save, you also help the planet by reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Rebates and Grants

Government rebate and grant programs exist for a variety of home improvements that are often suggested as a result of an energy audit, such as installation of central or window air-conditioning units, new gas or oil boilers and new doors. Many rebate programs require that the audit be performed by a certified energy adviser, and generally “before” and “after” audits are required. The adviser certifies that the suggested work was completed and that the home is more energy efficient, and then you can receive your rebate.

What Happens During an Energy Audit?

The initial “before” audit, which is known as the “D” audit, usually takes two to three hours. The energy adviser inspects your entire home from top to bottom, measuring the effectiveness of such items as insulation, heating and cooling systems, appliances, doors and windows, and water features, like sinks, showerheads and toilets. The audit performed after you make recommended changes is known as the “E” audit.

Rating Your Home

During the audit, the adviser performs a blower-door test, which involves the use of a powerful fan mounted into the frame of an exterior door that pulls air out of the house, lowering the air pressure inside and inviting the air outside to flow into any unsealed cracks and openings. This test enables the auditor to detect how airtight your house is and gives him necessary information to rate your home for energy efficiency on a scale of 1-100. This number is known as your home’s EnerGuide efficiency rating. Eighty to 100 indicates that your home is energy efficient and contains good insulation.

Energy Recommendations

After your “D” audit, the energy adviser gives you a report that grades your home’s energy efficiency and water usage and makes recommendations for improvements, such as a new energy-efficient furnace. Audits that are part of a rebate program also indicate for which programs you qualify.

Where to Find a Home Energy Auditor

Find a certified home energy adviser, like GreenSaver, through the various rebates and grant programs offered. Natural Resources Canada has a list of approved energy advisers. Price comparisons are suggested, as fees may vary.

Take the time to invest in a home energy audit and make the suggested home improvements, and you’re sure to reap the benefits of having a more energy efficient, comfortable home.

Contact a home energy auditor on eieihome.



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