After doing an initial utility bill analysis, we always recommend people should get an Energy Audit. The cost of these audits is fairly inexpensive—from $100 and up, depending on the size of the structure you’re testing.
An energy audit is essentially a very thorough examination of your home or business structure. They include such tests as: Blower door test looking for whole structure leakage; HVAC ventilation testing on both supply and return sides looking for leakage and flow; Checking gas lines for any gas leakage, etc. They will also be evaluating proper insulation and R-value levels.
We recommend you always find a Building Performance Institute (BPI) certified energy auditor and talk directly with them to verify everything they will be looking at and testing. Some auditors do more than others. Just remember, when they are done, you will receive a certified report of your structure’s strong and weak points. Think of it as a report card for your home or business’s performance.
Typically, an energy auditor will also show you what corrective action or upgrades, if any, you can or should be taking. This is great information, especially when looking at the design phase of a solar only or solar with battery system.
When someone chooses to reduce energy waste prior to installing a solar system, there is always a significant increase in the return on investment. At Southface Solar, we will use this energy audit report to analyze and design a solar system, based on your upgrade choices ranging from none to every upgrade recommended.
Remember that regardless of your budget, home energy upgrades can always be an ongoing process that will improve the comfort and quality of your indoor environment. Becoming “Energy Efficient” will lead to savings in energy consumption and, ultimately, money.