Home Energy Audits – The First Step to Energy Efficiency

The first step toward improving energy efficiency in the future is determining the current condition of your home. A home energy audit will assess how much energy your house consumes, how much of that is wasted through various sources of loss, and what measures need to be taken to improve that equation. Our professional auditor will address the quality and quantity of insulation, operation and efficiency of heating and air conditioning systems, locations of air leaks and critical safety issues relating to combustion. Our auditor will utilize equipment like infrared cameras, surface thermometers, blower doors and furnace efficiency meters to fully evaluate your residence.

Our home energy auditor is a trained professional analyst certified by the Building Performance Institute. He will employ a standard Building Performance Institute testing process approved by the New York State Energy & Research Development Authority (NYSERDA). Only a certified building analyst can conduct the testing process, which is available solely through NYSERDA-accredited contractors. This standardized test provides reliable, consistent data to effectively upgrade the energy efficiency of your home. NY residents meeting income requirements ($213,000 or less in household income) are eligible for a FREE audit subsidized by NYSERDA.

Safety is first in a professional home energy audit and the inspection begins with a check of the furnace and other appliances in your home. Our auditor will verify that combustion and venting are operating properly and that no carbon monoxide or other combustion by-products are entering your home.

Next, the auditor will utilize a “blower door” device to check for air leaks. This is a fan unit that identifies and locates points of air leakage from your home such as cracks and gaps in weather stripping. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, up to 40 percent of energy in a typical home is lost through air leaks.

Insulation levels are evaluated both for the correct amount and the appropriate R-value—a figure expressing your insulation’s resistance to thermal loss—for your climate zone and heating/cooling system. Insulation is inspected for settling and damage due to condensation or other factors which can reduce its efficiency.

You can take several steps to prepare for a home energy audit. Compile a list of all interior environment issues including condensation, drafts or other conditions that detract from your home’s overall comfort level. Obtain a summary of your annual energy costs from your local utility company. Write down specific information that will be helpful to the auditor such as the number of occupants, daily patterns of occupation during morning, afternoon and night, and average thermostat settings during winter and summer.

Does your home use ductwork to circulate warm or cool air?

The ductwork system circulates warm and cool air through your home. Your HVAC equipment can only function as efficiently as your ducts. The U.S. Department of Energy reports that up to 20 percent of conditioned air in the ducts of a typical home is lost due to leaks. During a home energy audit, the auditor will inspect the ductwork for general integrity and proper insulation, then utilize one of a number of available methods to pressurize the ductwork and test for leaks or holes.

Finally, the efficiency of major appliances and electrical lighting will be evaluated, both as consumers of energy and as contributors to the total indoor thermal load.

After the inspection, you’ll receive a report detailing all issues in your home that impact energy efficiency, costs for needed repairs and an estimate of the cost payback period resulting from subsequent lower energy bills. Information about rebates and other monetary incentives from utility companies and NYSERDA will also be provided.

For more information on scheduling a home energy audit, contact the professionals at Bruni & Campisi, serving Westchester, Greenwich and Stamford since 1979.