Is your home or office energy efficient? An energy audit can pinpoint where you are wasting energy and money. In most homes and offices, there’s room for improvement when it comes to energy efficiency. The best way to discover those opportunities? Get an energy audit.
Energy audits assess how much energy your home or office uses, and what you can do to improve efficiency. These audits are performed by a contractor or a utility, and many are provided free of charge.
Once your building has been inspected, the auditor will provide a list of areas that could be addressed. The goal for you should be some combination of saving energy, saving money, and increasing comfort. The audit will include:
- An inventory of your lighting, electronics and appliances, and if you can save money in the long run by replacing them.
- Locating all air leaks and how they can be sealed. Common leaks are around doors and windows, through electrical and plumbing fixtures, and in recessed lighting.
- An inspection of the insulation in your attic/ceiling and crawl space/floor. Some buildings may even benefit from adding wall insulation.
- An examination of your heating/cooling system. If your furnace, heat pump or air conditioner is more than 10-15 years old, you may be better off replacing it. The auditor will also check your filter(s).
- A check-up of your water heater. Much like your heating/cooling system, an aging water heater could be costing you a lot of money to operate. Is the temperature setting correct? Also, you may benefit from insulating your water heater.
- A probe of your ductwork. These systems tend to deteriorate over time. They should be properly sealed and, if they are in an unconditioned space, insulated.
- A look at your thermostat. If you don’t have a programmable thermostat, the auditor will likely recommend one. These are essentially mini computers and many modern ones can be controlled from a smartphone.
- An assessment of your existing windows and exterior doors. Older windows and doors are typically less energy efficient.
Depending on your structure, the auditor might want to use special diagnostic tools such as a blower door and/or infrared camera. However, this will take more time and there might be a cost for it.
Want More Help? Call our Salem office toll-free at 1-800-221-8035 and ask for an energy efficiency specialist, or email us at: askEnergy@oregon.gov.