What is a Home Energy Assessment?

A home energy assessment, also known as a home energy audit, is the first step to assess how much energy your home consumes and to evaluate what measures you can take to make your home more energy efficient. An assessment will show you problems that may, when corrected, save you significant amounts of money over time.

Home Performance with Energy Star

Home Performance with ENERGY STAR - Energy Trust of Oregon from Energy Trust of Oregon on Vimeo.

During the assessment, you can pinpoint where your house is losing energy. Energy assessments also determine the efficiency of your home's heating and cooling systems. An assessment may also show you ways to conserve hot water and electricity. You can perform a simple energy assessment yourself, or have a professional energy auditor carry out a more thorough assessment.

A professional auditor uses a variety of techniques and equipment to determine the energy efficiency of a structure. Thorough assessments often use equipment such as blower doors, which measure the extent of leaks in the building’s exterior structure, and infrared cameras, which reveal hard-to-detect areas of air infiltration and missing insulation.

Professional Home Energy Assessments

Professional energy assessments generally go into great detail. The energy auditor should do a room-by-room examination of the residence, as well as a thorough examination of past utility bills.

Many professional energy assessments will include a blower door test, image on right. Most will also include a thermographic scan.

Preparing for an Energy Assessment

Before the energy auditor visits your house, make a list of any existing problems such as condensation and uncomfortable or drafty rooms. Have copies or a summary of the home's yearly energy bills. (Your utility can get these for you.) Auditors use this information to establish what to look for during the audit. The auditor first examines the outside of the home to determine the size of the house and its features (i.e., wall area, number and size of windows). The auditor then will analyze the residents' behavior:

·         Is anyone home during working hours?

·         What is the average thermostat setting for summer and winter?

·         How many people live here?

·         Is every room in use?

Your answers may help uncover some simple ways to reduce your household's energy consumption. Walk through your home with the auditors as they work, and ask questions. They may use equipment to detect sources of energy loss, such as blower doors, infrared cameras, furnace efficiency meters, and surface thermometers.

Information above from Energy Trust of Oregon and US Department of Energy website, EnergySavers.gov.

A sample report which you will receive from Energize NE participation is below, or click a link to download the full Home Energy Performance Report: