A professional home energy audit determines how much energy your home uses and evaluates steps you can take to make your home more energy efficient.
Some audits take about an hour, do not require specialized equipment, and are relatively inexpensive. More thorough audits require about four hours to complete, require specialized equipment, and are more expensive, but they provide more detailed information on your home’s energy use.
Home Energy Score
Some home energy professionals provide a simple assessment called the Home Energy Score. Like a miles-per-gallon rating for a car, the Home Energy Score is an easy-to-produce rating designed to help homeowners and homebuyers gain useful information about a home’s energy performance.
The Home Energy Score helps homeowners, buyers, and renters to compare U.S. homes in terms of estimated energy performance.
It also provides recommendations on how to cost-effectively improve your home’s energy efficiency. Some of the information on the Home Energy Score Report can be included in real estate listings and potentially influence home appraisals and financing. Visit homeenergyscore.gov to find a partner that offers the score.
A more detailed home energy audit will include diagnostic tests (such as a house air leakage test, duct air leakage test, or infrared scan) to identify additional areas for improvement.
Work with a certified energy professional trained in the use of diagnostic equipment that can find air leaks, areas lacking insulation, and inefficient or malfunctioning equipment. The energy professional analyzes how well your home’s energy systems work together and compares the analysis to your utility bills. A detailed energy audit will help you use a whole-house systems approach when making improvements or remodeling. Learn more about this approach in the Design for Efficiency section of this guide.
An in-depth energy audit includes three steps:
- Interview, tests, and inspection: In this phase, also known as the “test in,” a home energy professional interviews you about your concerns (comfort, high energy bills, etc.), conducts safety and air leak tests, visually inspects equipment and insulation, and checks for signs of mold and moisture. The home energy professional then provides recommendations for steps that will reduce your energy bills and improve your home’s comfort.
- Complete recommended improvements: Qualified contractors install the home energy professional’s recommendations. Some home energy professionals can provide recommendations for contractors to complete the work.
- Evaluate results: During this final phase, also known as the “test out,” safety tests and visual inspections are used to evaluate the contractor’s work. Not all home energy professionals offer this service; ask yours whether it is part of the energy audit or if you can request this follow-up evaluation.
Getting an Audit
Find a home energy professional to help you obtain a more detailed energy audit by visiting Home Performance with ENERGY STAR® at energystar.gov/hpwes. You’ll be able to find local programs that work with qualified, vetted contractors trained to diagnose and improve your home according to the latest building technologies and standards.
Home Performance with ENERGY STAR programs are required to have the quality of the contractors’ work checked by third parties to make sure homeowners receive services that comply with industry standards and program requirements. Programs may be able to help you find rebates, a low-interest loan, or other financial incentives.
You can also obtain detailed audits and contracting services from home energy professionals certified by the Residential Services Network (resnet.us) or the Building Performance Institute (bpihomeowner.org). Some utilities may operate programs that offer assessments and may provide access to contractors who work with the utility.