• Home Energy Auditing

    Posted by   |  September 11, 2015
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    If you’re searching for ways to make a positive impact on the environment, look no further than your own home. Curbing your energy use not only helps conserve resources, but cut down the cost of your bills as well. Before you can get to work cutting your consumption and slashing your bills, you’ll need to determine what factors keep your energy rate high. The best way to do that is by doing a home energy audit.

    How Does A Home Energy Audit Work?

    A home energy audit is an assessment of thee nergy use in your home. In a professional analysis, the auditor will survey your house room-by-room, inspecting your household appliances and ensuring that your systems remain intact and up-to-date.

    Preparing For An Audit:

    • Consult your utility or local government energy office for help finding an auditing agency. The Residential Energy Service Network can also offer assistance
    • Research the company of your choice to ensure a job well done
    • Have a copy of your yearly energy bills ready for the auditor.
    • Note any current problems with your household appliances

    Assessment

    Once the auditor arrives, they will ask you a number of questions regarding your home energy use. This will help determine the efficiency of your current consumption rate. After that, they will start their investigation.

    A professional home energy audit should include the following:

    • Exterior inspection
    • Health and safety inspection
    • Interior inspection
    • Assessment of electrical systems
    • Blower door test
    • Thermographic Inspection

    Blower door tests use high-powered fans to test the degree to which air seeps into a home from the outside. The fans lower the air pressure inside a home, allowing auditors to find infiltrating air on infrared cameras. Determining the air-tightness of a home can help to avoid air leakage, which raises the cost of heating and cooling the home.

    Do-It-Yourself

    For those who wish to avoid a professional audit, there are steps you can take to perform an energy check yourself. Simply conduct a survey of your home, recording any problems that you find. These include:

    In New York State, you can also take advantage of NYSERDA’s EmPower program, which offers free energy solutions for income-eligible New Yorkers. EmPower provides comprehensive home energy audits at no cost, performed by trained, certified consultants. More information is available from New York State Energy Audits. The program is available for those making 60% of the median income. For those who fall outside the EmPower income bracket, NYSERDA also offers free or reduced price assessments through the Home Performance with ENERGY STAR program. Simply fill out the application on NYSERDA’s website, and a home performance contractor will provide you with a top-to-bottom look at your energy consumption. In addition, NYSERDA will help customize a plan to lower your energy bills, and give low-interest loans to help pay for improvements as needed.

    In addition, you should determine the extent to which your appliances and electronics use energy. The Department of Energy features a guide to measuring appliances’ consumption rate on their website. Once you know how much power your electronics require, consider certain methods to lower the rate. For example, unplugging items when not in use can prevent them from guzzling resources unnecessarily, and changing its settings can also reduce excessive energy use. If your products still uses too much for comfort, you can look for more cost-effective models. Once again, the Department of Energy can help.

    In general, a professional audit promises a more comprehensive analysis of your home. While a self-conducted survey can help lower your expenses and better your environmental impact, certified home energy auditors have the tools at their disposal to draw comprehensive conclusions for you to use.

    By Brendan Szendro

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