What Is a Home Energy Audit?
Updated: Jun 27, 2022
Energy costs are a pain point for most homeowners, but especially for Canadians who are at the mercy of the country’s infamous (and often unpredictable) weather patterns. Our dependency on fossil fuels makes budgeting a headache, given energy costs are always fluctuating, and our consumption is sporadic (not to mention influenced by the size of the home, its location, and its overall level of energy efficiency.)
So, how do we reduce these costs with so many variables getting in the way? By making sure our homes and our habits are as efficient as possible. That’s where an energy audit comes into play.
What is an energy audit?
An energy audit is an external and internal evaluation of your home to determine its overall energy performance. Data is collected and run through energy simulation software to calculate your home’s EnerGuide Rating taking into account factors such as: your home’s airtightness (using a blower door test); the insulation levels throughout your home; the number, type and locations of all windows and exterior doors; the size and efficiency ratings of space heating/cooling and water heating equipment; ventilation systems and more.
TIP: Before an audit, remove any ashes from wood-burning appliances so that they are not drawn into the house during the blower door test, and clear access to any hard-to-reach areas such as your attic, basement, or other storage areas.
Do I need to hire a professional?
Yes. To conduct an official energy audit, you would hire a Licensed Energy Advisor. The process of evaluating a home’s energy performance can get quite complex. Energy Advisors, who are registered by Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) have extensive training and knowledge that help them detect inefficiencies and provide solutions to reduce energy consumption.
And their services are quite affordable (starting at $99 + HST here in New Brunswick.)
Are energy audits just for existing homes, or do they apply to new homes as well?
Both! After an energy audit, an Energy Advisor can offer homeowners suggestions on how they can renovate their existing home to improve its energy efficiency and help them prioritize those suggestions based on budgets and which upgrades will deliver the most impact.
Energy Auditors also work with builders at various stages of new home construction, from conducting pre-construction evaluations and offering advice on materials and building assemblies, to analyzing performance of the building envelop and mechanical systems and providing third-party verification and inspection once the home is built.
What happens once my energy audit is done?
After the evaluation is done, your Energy Advisor will provide you with a detailed report that outlines your home’s current energy performance and where improvements could be made to increase its overall energy efficiency. This report includes:
A list of recommended upgrades and their potential energy-saving results
A breakdown of your current energy usage
Heat-loss points throughout the home
Your EnerGuide Rating
Tips for saving energy
An Energy Advisor can also offer insights into any incentive programs you may qualify for, should you implement their recommended upgrades.
Having an energy audit done on your home is the first step towards lowering your monthly bills and increasing the overall comfort of your home. By understanding your home’s energy consumption, knowing where inefficiencies exist, and having a course of action to remedy those issues, you can make improvements that will lead to long-term savings.
Ready to hire an Energy Advisor for your project?