With the federal government’s focus on saving energy, green energy initiatives, energy efficiency tax rebates, and its Recovery Through Retrofit plan, you may have heard about home energy audits. But what exactly is a home energy audit? How can a home energy audit benefit you? Should you get one?
Simply put, a home energy audit is an assessment of your home’s energy efficiency – where energy is being used efficiently and where it is being wasted – and includes prioritized recommendations for improving the energy efficiency of a home. There are various types of home energy audits, ranging from a basic visual assessment to a full diagnosis with specialized equipment and data analysis. The three most common options are explained below.
Benefits of a Home Energy Audit
A home energy audit can benefit you in several ways. First, it can give you the information you need to make improvements that will lower your energy bills, so you save money each month. It can also uncover problem areas in your home that you may be unaware of. This includes catching problems before they become major repairs. Upgrades recommended in a home energy audit often make your home more comfortable, by reducing drafts, for example. A home energy audit can increase the value of your home and make it easier to sell. And don’t forget that saving energy helps the environment, by reducing the pollution released in the creation of electricity and the extraction of fossil fuels. Even a few simple, inexpensive improvements can have a dramatic effect on your home’s energy consumption.
Basic Home Energy Audit
With a basic home energy audit, an auditor does a visual inspection throughout your home, checking for drafts, air leaks and insulation, and assesses your lighting, appliances, and heating, cooling and ventilation equipment. You get a report that details the findings, along with recommendations for improving the energy efficiency of your home. These audits usually take about 45 minutes to an hour to complete.
Diagnostic Home Energy Audit
The next level of home energy audit is a diagnostic audit. This includes everything in a basic audit, plus the auditor uses diagnostic equipment to get a better picture of your home’s air leaks and insulation. Specifically, a “blower door” is used to assess the extent of air leakage in your home, and the location of the leaks by de-pressurizing your home and measuring the rate that air flows back in. A second piece of equipment, the infrared camera, is used to “see” into the walls to assess the amount of heat transfer, for improving insulation. As with a basic audit, you get a written report detailing energy efficient improvements for your home based on the findings. However, this report is much more detailed and takes approximately 2-3 hours to complete, depending on the size of the home.
Home Energy Audit with Complete Analysis
The third level of home energy audit, the diagnostic home energy audit with data analysis, is the most comprehensive. This type of audit includes everything in a diagnostic audit, plus an extra level of data analysis, including a cost/benefit analysis for the recommended energy efficient improvements and return on investment calculations. Other information may be included, such as rebate eligibility and required forms.
Which Audit Should You Choose?
The level of analysis that’s best for you depends on your individual circumstances and budget. If your home is less than 10 years old, you probably don’t need a thorough analysis. But if you have an older home, you probably have more problem areas and a lot more work to do, so you would benefit from a more comprehensive diagnosis.
Did you know that in an Appraisal Journal study (October, 1999), it found that for every $1 saved on a home's energy bill, that home will appreciate in value by approximately $20. What does that mean to you as a real estate agent? If the home is valued higher, your selling client makes more money on their real estate transaction (often making the energy improvements a profitable venture with no cost to them). It also means more commission for you and your agency!!! This is a win-win-win scenario that is uncommon in these economic times.
Home Energy Solutions of the Triad, LLC would love the opportunity to serve your home energy needs. Why not incorporate a home energy audit into your home listing marketing system? With the overabundance of existing home inventories in the Greensboro/Winston-Salem real estate market, you must utilize alternative marketing methods to set your listings apart from the rest of the competition out there. Why can help you do just that.
Ask us about our Home Energy Audit/Pre-Lisitng Home Inspection Package pricing.
Call us today at 1-800-724-4841 or 336-587-8345!!!