By Contributing Editor
Clay Anderson

How to Perform a One Hour Home Energy Audit

I was surprised and excited to learn that in a hour I could get a good grasp of how to improve my home energy efficiency by 20-30%. Then in another hour I could address many of the concerns identified in the process and save potentially hundreds of dollars a year in energy costs as well as a lot offset a lot of carbon.
Some people will hire an expert to provide their home energy assessment and this is a good idea if you suspect that there are significant problems with your homes efficiency. If your home is modern or doesn’t have surprisingly high energy bills than a simple home energy audit should be adequate.
You need to start by walking through you home and determining if there are drafts. Spider webs in a window is a sign of draft. If you

The discipline, however, continued to develop. A 1997 article — nearly 20 years after Mr. Gorman’s piece — describes an energy audit in terms much like those the early researchers had envisioned.

It isn’t much different in 2009.

Infrared cameras, smoke sticks, a calibrated, depressurizing fan — these are the sorts of tools that Green Tree Energy, an energy auditing contractor based in Yonkers, used on a recent survey of our home.

“You’re spending money out there,” said John Urbanowicz, one of our auditors, as he spied the gaping holes around (and in) our dryer vent. “We want to keep it in here,” he said.

The accompanying video here should give you an idea of what to expect if you’re considering an audit yourself — and we’d like to hear from readers about their own experiences with auditors.

Meanwhile, Green Tree Energy’s full report, which will identify our problem areas and propose steps we could take to address them — along with cost and payback time estimates — will take a couple of weeks to compile. Once we receive it, we’ll break it down here on Green Inc., and figure out what our next steps ought to be.

Oh, and no, that $10 professional energy audit from the 1970s is, at least from what we could tell, a thing of the past. The price tag for ours: $395.

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