An energy audit is performed using a calculator and computer

Like many homeowners, you may be searching for ways to lower energy consumption. And why not? It’s good for the planet, as well as your pocket. 

Installing energy efficient solar panels and switching to LEDs generally do make a difference. However, an even better place to explore in pursuit of strategic energy-saving endeavors is energy audits

Don’t know what that is? Don’t fret. We’ve got you covered. In this post, we’ll help you learn everything necessary to know about energy audits.

What Are Energy Audits? 

An energy audit is a systematic and comprehensive analysis of energy consumption and use within a defined energy audit scope that identifies, quantifies, and reports opportunities for enhanced energy performance. Put simply, energy audits tell how energy efficient your property is.

During professional energy audits, you can expect an expert to come in and evaluate your:

  • Lighting
  • Appliances
  • Windows and doors
  • Cooling and heating system
  • Insulation and ductwork 
  • Water heater
  • Indoor air quality 

From there, the home energy auditor will suggest ways to improve your property’s energy efficiency and lower energy costs. Measures can include:

  • Adding insulation
  • Replacing light bulbs with energy efficient LEDs
  • Upgrading to energy efficient appliances
  • Replacing inefficient heating and cooling systems
  • Installing new windows or better sealing those existing

The goal of a home energy audit is to understand a property’s energy flow, process, or system to lower the amount of energy input while improving (or maintaining) your comfort, health, and safety. 

Are Energy Audits Worth Doing?

Energy audits are such a powerful tool because they prevent property owners from wasting their resources addressing the wrong problems. For example, you might think inefficient light bulbs suck most energy in your home, where in fact, the worst energy hog might be the pool pump driving more often than needed.

Additionally, professional energy auditors have the insights and equipment to identify and fix smaller, unusual issues you might have never noticed.

For instance, the fridge in your garage consumes energy even when empty. Likewise, several other appliances continue sucking power even when not necessary. Such invaluable information can save you significantly on your utility costs.

The plug of an appliance is juxtaposed with stacks of quarters in the background, indicating savings by unplugging devices
Not performing regular energy audits is leaving money on the table for future property sales.

If you’re planning to put your property on the market, letting prospects know that you have recently performed an energy audit can make a positive impact on the scale of their offer.

Why? Because it shows that you’ve been taking good care of the property.  

Moreover, energy efficient properties are the most sought-after and comfortable living spaces preferred by home buyers. Plus, your property’s new owners will probably want to save just as much on energy bills as you. 

Whether you pick the DIY route or decide to call up a professional energy auditor, one thing is certain: you’ll save both energy and money while making your property a safer and healthier place to live.

Three Types of Energy Audits 

The level of detail of home energy audits is based on their type. Generally, there are three common types of energy audits: 

Walk-Through Audit (WTA) 

As the name indicates, this energy audit features a walk-through inspection of your property to identify operational, maintenance, or deficient equipment problems while identifying areas needing further evaluation.

Results of WTA

  • Identification of energy-saving opportunities
  • Qualitative analysis of the implementation of energy efficient measures 
  • Potential energy saving estimations

The final WTA report generally accompanies basic comments regarding a project’s feasibility.

A man holding an infrared camera while performing a walkthrough energy audit
Infrared cameras are often used in walkthrough energy audits to test airtightness.

Energy Diagnosis

Typically, it entails performing economic calculations and using metering devices to identify exact energy usage and losses.

Results of Energy Diagnosis 

  • Energy consumption breakdown (also known as an energy balance) 
  • List of energy efficient opportunities derived from performance or building facilities.  
  • Financial assessment of all identified energy-saving measures to categorize and prioritize implementation.

Investment Grade Audit

Investment grade audits (IGA) provide detailed accounts of energy consumption, including a quantifiable study of the implementation with detailed maintenance, investments, and operational costs. It also comprises a thorough evaluation of the investment model.

Results of Investment Grade Audit (IGA)

  • Energy balance and the actual energy demand
  • List of energy efficient opportunities, including energy-saving calculation and the investment required to implement them
  • Provide bundled measures, including financing, implementation, and savings verification plans

How to Get an Energy Audit

The first to get an energy audit for your home is deciding your preferred option. You can go the DIY route or hire a professional energy auditor.

You can hire an energy auditor through your power company, private businesses, or local utility companies. 

Here are other ways to find a licensed energy auditor:

If you decide to take the DIY route for your home energy audit, here are the essential things to consider:

  1. Inspect your home’s insulation: Conduct a visual inspection of the insulation on your walls by peeking behind the outlets. Also, assess the attic floor joists and ensure they are well insulated.
  2. Energy efficiency lighting: Consider switching to LED light bulbs to save more energy on lighting. Unlike their incandescent counterparts, LED bulbs are more efficient since they use most of their energy to create light instead of heat.
  3. Inspect for air leaks: Check for drafts and air leakages around windows, doors, electrical outlets, and other openings. To identify drafts, you can use a smoke pencil, incense stick, or thermal leak detector.
  4. Check windows and doors: Examine the condition of windows and doors. Look for gaps in weatherstripping and consider using caulk or weatherstripping to seal any leaks.

Pros and Cons of Energy Audits 

To help you make an informed decision, we’ve outlined both the good as well as the bad aspects of energy audits: 

The Good 

Investing in energy audits can offer a myriad of benefits, including: 

Reduced Energy Costs 

Energy audits can help you reduce energy costs and save money in the long run. Professional energy auditors can uncover ways to improve efficiency, like upgrading HVAC systems, insulation improvements, and air sealing.

A pressure monitoring device in the foreground attached the rest of the blower door test system behind it
Blower door tests are commonly used in energy audits.

Remember that it’s more costly to cool or heat a property that’s not energy efficient. Between lack of insulation or air leaks, systems will work harder to substitute for the inefficiencies. 

Limited Carbon Footprint

Most utilities receive energy from fossil fuels. When you use less energy from the grid, you consume fewer fossil fuels and lessen your carbon footprint. This means you are living a more sustainable and greener lifestyle. 

Professional energy auditors can help cut down energy usage, making this planet a better place for everyone.

A Safer & Healthier Property

With professional energy audits, you can identify essential repairs that go beyond energy saving. Look out for problems such as safety issues in your cooling and heating system to mildew or mold growth, which you might have never otherwise noticed.

Increased Property Value

Repairing insulation, upgrading from energy-sucking appliances, and adding energy efficient fixtures, such as LED light bulbs or new windows, can increase the value of your property when you’re looking to sell. 

The Bad 

Here are some of the leading shortcomings of energy audits: 

Increased Property Value

Bear in mind that energy audits won’t save any energy, reduce carbon footprint, or shrink energy bills without any action.

A professional energy auditor can tell you how to save energy, but only after acting upon their recommendations will you be able to benefit from an energy audit. 


In several regions, energy audits can be expensive. HomeAdvisor estimates that the average cost for a professional energy audit in 2021 ranges from $207 to $673. 

Risk of Inaccurate Result

The results, readings, or suggested energy efficiency improvements of energy audits aren’t foolproof. Any time somebody tries to interpret data, there’s room for error.

While a minuscule risk, there’s still the possibility of inaccurate results, leading to measures that do not make much difference.

Limited Service Life

Energy audits have a limited useful life or “use-by date.” As technologies evolve, the use of facilities also changes, and energy tariffs may even increase. Eventually, the recommendations in energy audits will turn outdated.

For this reason, energy audits should be done every three years.

Signs You Should Get An Energy Audit

Still not sure if an energy audit is a good idea? If your answer is “yes” to one or more of the points listed below, it may be time to contact a professional energy auditor in your area: 

  • You suspect there’s an energy problem(s) but can’t identify it.
  • You’ve made significant energy improvements but wish to maximize efficiency further.
  • You’ve not made any energy enhancements in a while.
  • Your energy bills are soaring, though there haven’t been any changes in rate or consumption.
  • You wish to enhance the energy efficiency of your property but don’t know how.

An energy audit is necessary if you plan to add a renewable energy system (e.g., solar panels) to your property.

A holistic view of the overall energy use can help you discern the specifics of the system to ensure a sufficient energy supply.

Final Thoughts

Electricity costs aren’t getting cheaper, so if you’ve been thinking about getting an energy audit, there’s never been a better time.

According to the Energy Information Administration (EIA), electricity rates will increase by 2.2% this year after a drop in 2020. The only way to counterbalance the increase is to utilize less energy, switch to an energy plan with a better rate, or both.

We don’t have control over the energy rates fixed by suppliers, but we control which supplier to choose and the amount of energy consumed. So, for that reason alone, a professional energy audit is suggested for most property owners in 2023 and beyond.

With the help of an audit, you can begin making trivial changes in your property that’ll improve the comfort level while saving energy and lowering environmental impact.

Still interested in more ways to increase your home’s energy efficiency? You may try reading your articles on How Do Energy Efficient LED Bulbs Save Energy and Which Type Of Hot Water Heater Is The Most Energy Efficient.

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