From Scott Carlberg

Energy audits can be a great way to improve the energy efficiency of a home. In this blog we’ll look at the summary results of a real audit so you can get a feel for what you might find. We are grateful to the homeowner for this material and have made the audit anonymous. You’ll see we replaced the actual utility name with the well-known cartoon company, Acme. The utility is not a Southeast company, by the way.

Here is the basic information about the home for this audit. It may be considered representative of many homes of our readers.

The first data from this report shows a year-long profile of energy use. It is broken down by use, such as lighting or heating. It is easy to see that this home’s energy works hard in the summer, and again in the depths of winter. As is the case with so many places in the country, the spring and fall are easier on energy use. Temperatures are moderate and neither cooling or heating systems are being taxed.

The energy report then breaks down strengths and weaknesses in the home. An important point here is that an energy audit can show both positive and negative points. This report shows how there is a real need for insulation, but has exceptionally good window and door seals, for instance.

The report expands on details to make energy improvements. Here are some snippets of the explanations the company provided the homeowner:

This is the snapshot of various energy ratings for the home

Insulation, Windows, Doors and Infiltration

  • Attic insulation is one of the most cost-effective ways to save money on energy costs and improve comfort in your home.
  • The U.S. Department of Energy recommends R-38, which is approximately 12 to 14 inches, depending on the type of insulation. Take the next step and locate an authorized contractor to schedule your comprehensive energy audit and participate in Acme’s Insulation and Air Sealing Rebate.
  • Weather-stripping and caulking around windows and doors is an effective and inexpensive way to reduce air infiltration.

Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC)

  • Consider replacing your older inefficient air conditioner or heat pump with a new unit with a SEER rating of 15 or greater.
  • Start by visiting Acme.com/HVAC to learn about available rebates and to find authorized contractors in your area.
  • A ceiling fan cools quickly and costs less than air conditioning. Turn fans off when you leave the room.

Finally, the report also let’s the homeowner know the dollar value of its energy savings for those items already installed.

The format of a report will vary with each utility or energy auditor.

I asked the homeowner what surprised him about the report:  “How much you can save over time by replacing light bulbs throughout your house with LED light bulbs.”

I also asked about the representative of the utility company: “He walked through the house with me after he completed his inspection and thoroughly explained what can be done to make our house more efficient. I especially liked that he showed me spaces in the attic that needed more insulation.”

This utility did a terrific job for this customer.