Home Energy Audits

Professional home energy audits can go into great detail, depending on the extent to which the homeowner wants information on how their home is performing and what improvements can be made.  The Building Performance Group conducts Home Energy Audits using infrared cameras to capture thermal images of areas with poor insulation and air-leakage, blower-door testing equipment to determine air-leakage rate, duct leakage testing with a "duct-blaster", and specialized energy modeling software to quantify certain energy-consumption characteristics.

Watch this video on a Home Energy Audit being conducted:

At the beginning of an energy audit, the auditor will examine the characteristics of the house or building (i.e., wall area, number and size of windows, type of siding, type of construction, etc).  The auditor will then ask questions about the occupants' behavior, including:

  • Are there rooms or areas that are warmer or colder than others?
  • What are your highest utility bills and in which months?
  • Is anyone home during working hours?
  • What is the average thermostat setting for summer and winter?
  • How many people live there?

The home energy audit will continue with a room-by-room examination of the residence, and can include any number of the following tasks to collect information:

  • Utility Bill Analysis — to determine usage patterns and look for ways to reduce looking at your electric and gas (or oil or propane) consumption
  • Blower Door Test — to measure and locate all the sources of air leaks in your home
  • Infrared Camera Scan — to identify hidden defects including insulation gaps, air leakage, duct leakage, and moisture issues
  • Visual Inspection — to find evidence of problems affecting the durability of your house
  • Insulation Inspection — to determine insulation levels in all of your home’s exterior areas
  • Attic and Roof Inspection — to identify evidence of maintenance problems, roof leaks and flashing problems, verify attic insulation, and determine appropriate improvements, if needed
  • Furnace, Boiler, Air-Conditioner, Heat Pump, and Hot Water Heater Inspection — to examine the overall condition of your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning equipment. This includes several of the following tests:
  • Carbon Monoxide Test — to measure carbon monoxide levels in the flue gases of your heating appliances and in the air of your house to ensure safety
  • Combustion Safety Test — to ensure that your combustion appliances are venting properly and that combustion gases are not being dumped into or pulled back into your house
  • Combustion Efficiency Test — to measure how efficiently your heating system is burning the gas delivered to it
  • Flue Inspection — to examine your combustion equipment flue pipes for blockages, disconnects, or other unsafe conditions
  • Ductwork Airflow Test — to determine the amount of air moving through your entire duct system and also measure airflow from individual supply and return openings
  • Duct Leakage Test — to measure the leakiness of your duct system (in some areas, as much as 50% of the conditioned air moving through ducts leaks directly outside!)
  • Visual Inspection for Mold and Moisture Sources — to look for areas where there is evidence of mold or high humidity.
  • Visual Inspection for Indoor Air Quality Indicators — to look for evidence of potential sources of indoor air pollution
  • Exhaust Fan Inspection — to measure whether fans are moving enough air to properly ventilate your home, and should include an inspection of the exhaust fan ductwork to ensure proper venting
  • Clothes Dryer Venting Inspection — to ensure dryers are vented properly to avoid moisture and combustion safety problems
  • Lighting Upgrade Inspection — to identify opportunities to replace incandescent lighting with more efficient fluorescent and LED bulbs and fixtures that use less energy and last longer
  • Major Appliance Inspection — to look for opportunities to save money and energy by replacing older appliances with new ENERGY STAR models
  • Pool and Well Pump Analysis — to check pumps for sizing and efficiency and look for opportunities to reduce pumping costs