My best advice is to make sure the company is trained and certified to do energy audits. Getting an unbiased audit(assessment), is the optimal way to ensure your energy-saving dollars are going into the proper areas. Some companies will spend time looking over the home, and then present the various ways in which their product will be of benefit to the home owner. Often, they offer their services for very low fees(or free) simply as an opportunity to get their “foot in the door” to sell their products. This is not to say a company cannot do audits and other improvements, and do both well and fairly. I would advise to check them out before you begin agreeing to do work.
There are varying degrees of a home “energy audit”. Some home inspectors with infrared cameras (often calling themselves “thermographers”) will claim to be conducting “energy audits” as they scan the home looking for spots that are missing insulation. Man are not using blower doors and/or tools of the trade to actually find and calculate air leaks that account for approximately 35% of a home’s energy loss. These fit into the Level 1 energy audit category that most home owners can do on their own with their own analyses and any of several on-line assistance programs such as the one available through the U.S. Department of Energy.
While there are certainly reputable products and salesmen who, indeed, are able to help home owners maintain their homes…these are definitely not to be considered as actual energy audits.
Level 2 and 3 energy audits are conducted in a manner that will analyze the structure as one system and will examine how each part of the house affects the indoor environment, as a whole. The auditor is trained to take special safety and health matters into consideration during the test as well as incorporating them in his recommendations and his analysis will not be limited to any one particular product or manufacturer….but will encompass all of the available resources that could help the home owner to reach their particular goals. Read more about level 1-3 Energy Audits
If you are getting or recommending an energy audit to be provided by a professional … be sure it is an energy audit and not a sales pitch. Hire a certified energy auditor who does NOT represent a particular product or manufacturer to assist you in determining the present conditions and the available resources for improving them.
By the end of this year, existing homes will begin to receive “energy rating labels” that will denote their levels of energy efficiency. Appraisers are being trained on how to incorporate the home’s energy efficiency level into its appraised monetary value. Rising energy costs are turning energy savings initiatives into a form of a second income for many home owners. Energy efficiency is becoming a major consideration in determining factor in home purchases and home remodels.