An energy audit can help you save both money and reduce carbon emissions, so before beginning one make sure you consult this free guide in order to make the most out of it.
Use our energy audit checklist to quickly identify and prioritize potential savings opportunities in your organization, along with tips for obtaining tax credits or rebates to offset initial investments in efficiency upgrades.
Know Your Meter
Once you can read your meter, monitoring and tracking energy usage becomes much simpler. Furthermore, this knowledge allows you to verify if your energy supplier is reading it accurately – meters should typically be read every one or two business days to create electricity bills; if any issues arise in relation to reading accuracy then please report it immediately – this can be done online via AGL’s website or simply log into your account and enter the information about how you read your meter into it directly.
Your electricity meter could be any combination of standard mechanical, digital, and electro-mechanical meters. Standard meters feature dials which display daytime usage on one set and nighttime consumption on another. To read your meter accurately, start at the lowest number on the left and read up from there; if an arrow on a dial points directly at a number write that number down; otherwise select the lower of two options when writing them down.
After your assessment is complete, subtract your previous reading from this month’s to calculate your usage up until now. This can help identify any out-of-the-ordinary activity in your home and make identifying ways to save electricity much simpler.
As another way of checking the accuracy of your meter, select an appliance with its wattage listed and turn it on for one hour before reading your meter again and comparing the second number against the first to determine whether or not your meter is operating accurately.
Mastering how to read your meter may take some time, but it is an invaluable skill for any homeowner. By understanding it, you will be able to monitor your energy use, identify any unusual behavior, and calculate how many kilowatt-hours (kWh) have been consumed this month – this will allow you to determine your monthly bill with fixed fees included or determine your rate per unit of energy consumed.
Conduct a Walk-Through
An energy audit can help identify areas in which you are wasting energy, as well as provide opportunities for savings that you might have overlooked – this may range from something as straightforward as turning all lights off to more complex modifications such as switching over to an efficient heating system.
An energy audit should ideally be completed by a professional to get the maximum benefit out of it, but conducting one yourself is doable and inexpensive.
Before conducting an energy audit, there are a few things you should do in advance to prepare. Check all external doors and windows are closed securely – leaky doors and windows are a leading cause of energy loss. Also ensure the fireplace is closed off and any exhaust fans in kitchens or bathrooms are switched off; any sooty smell near a fireplace damper indicates leaky chimney.
An energy auditor will walk with you through your premises to inspect processes and equipment, looking out for sources of waste like blower doors and infrared cameras that waste energy. They may also conduct a Residential Energy Survey that shows your energy consumption breakdown as well as offer suggestions on how you could save energy in future.
Energy auditors will then produce a report detailing their findings, outlining potential saving opportunities and providing estimates of both how much money could be saved and payback times – this allows you to prioritize projects to take up first.
Once you understand where and how your energy is being wasted, and how to save it, you are prepared to begin making changes. Before doing so however, it’s essential that you ask an energy auditor a few pertinent questions so both of you are on the same page.
Energy Specialists conduct home visits in order to identify ways you could lower energy costs and make better use of existing resources in your home. When conducting their walk-through, they look out for areas that could save on costs by making adjustments such as replacing drafty windows or doors or insulating attic or garage spaces properly with insulation materials. Should they identify any problems they will recommend solutions which could lower consumption while making optimal use of your resources.
Interviewers want to assess how familiar you are with LEED certification and other green building standards, so your responses demonstrate your knowledge about energy efficiency and sustainability as well as your capacity for providing recommendations to clients.
If an energy auditor finds that there is wasted energy in your home, they may suggest replacing or repairing old windows and doors as well as insulating attic and basement spaces to save on energy bills while creating more comfortable surroundings for you and your family. Such projects will not only cut energy costs but will also add comfort.
Altering your daily habits is another effective way to cut energy waste. Turn off electronics when not in use and use WiFi-enabled power strips with remote turnoff capabilities so as to eliminate “vampire electricity”, used by inactive appliances and devices that consume power but are wasting it.
Interviewers will likely ask how often you recommend that buildings undergo energy audits. Your answer can provide them with insight into your client relationships and expectations in terms of advising them how to increase energy efficiency.
Interviewers of experienced auditors will want to know how much you have learned about energy efficiency over time, in order to evaluate their experience in this field and see whether they have gained greater insight since beginning their audit career. Your response will provide them with an indication of whether you have gained greater insight.
Make a Plan
Energy efficiency is key to any business or homeowner, yet many don’t fully comprehend its significance or how to conduct an energy audit themselves. A professional audit can identify areas of waste while cutting your utility costs significantly; but you may not understand what goes into such an evaluation or how to perform one yourself.
Step one is to assess your building’s current energy usage by examining power consumption. You can do this by reviewing most recent electricity, gas or fuel bills as well as previous years’ consumption to compare with seasonal variations. It should be noted however, that any comparisons may be altered due to seasonal influences.
Once you’ve collected energy data, the next phase of an energy audit involves conducting a walk-through. An auditor will look over your home or business’s heating and cooling systems, insulation levels, airtightness testing or “blower door testing”, to detect cracks or leaks; using an airtightness fan, they may seal off front entrance to force air out through cracks revealing any areas with insufficient insulation or where air escaped through gaps; finally making recommendations based on findings of this test for improvements to energy use efficiency improvements based on findings of this test.
At each walk-through, an energy auditor will assess your heating and cooling systems to make sure they’re operating effectively, evaluate ductwork condition and insulation level in your attic and walls, as well as thermographic scans which allow them to see where thermal energy is escaping from your home or business, or conduct energy benchmark comparisons among similar buildings within an industry to identify opportunities for improvement.
Once your audit is complete, you will receive a report with recommendations for energy improvements as well as estimated cost savings estimates. Be sure to discuss each project and their financial implications with staff members and your energy professional in order to select those which best suit your needs; generally low or no-cost projects tend to be easier to implement with faster return on investments.