There are lots of companies and utilities (like PG&E) out there that offer energy assessments, audits and surveys. Some of them can be completed online, some are done over the phone and in person energy audits may take anywhere between 20 min to over 2 hours (depending on the size of your home). But which one is right for you? It all depends on what you’re looking to accomplish by having an energy efficiency assessment completed on your home.
The online surveys are typically free and may give you a few tips on how to save energy but they are standardized and do not utilize the experience of a professional energy auditor. While you can easily count light bulbs and wattages, experienced energy audits can identify where more energy efficient lighting could be installed and if that will be enough light for that particular area.
Over the phone audits and surveys are typically part of an online audit or an in-person assessment. They can provide the assessor with information about the in-person energy audits and energy assessments can vary widely based on which type of energy assessment you’re getting. There are several organizations that certify home energy assessors and they all focus on how the home uses energy but their specific methods and their recommendations differ depending on the certification and the methods used to assess a home.
A few of the popular certifications for energy auditors include Building Performance Institute (BPI), Home Energy Rating System – Whole House Rater (HERS II), Build it Green – Greenpoint Rater and LEED Existing home raters.
Check back for part two where we will discuss the differences between these different rating systems. To take an online energy efficiency survey check out their Energy Analyzerhttp://www.pge.com/myhome/saveenergymoney/analyzer/