Energy Tests and Audits
Free Home Energy Test
EPA’s Home Energy Yardstick provides a simple assessment of your home’s annual energy use compared to similar homes. By answering a few basic questions, you can get:
- Your home’s Home Energy Yardstick score (on a scale of 1 to 10),
- Insights into how much of your home’s energy use is related to heating and cooling versus other everyday uses like appliances, lighting and hot water;
- Links to guidance from Energy Star on how to increase your home’s score, improve comfort and lower utility bills; and
- An estimate of your home’s annual carbon emissions.
Professional Energy Audits
A professional energy audit isn’t free, but it can save you time, energy and money in the long run. Here’s what you need to know:
- A professional home energy audit can take from four to eight hours and may cost between $300 and $500. Be sure to ask for an estimate in writing and what it includes before selecting an auditor.
- Professional assessments are a good option to ensure you’re identifying all potential energy waste in your home — especially those in tough-to-spot or difficult-to-access areas like crawl spaces and attics.
- Before agreeing to a professional energy assessment, be sure to get in writing what the audit will include. Many auditors will offer different types of audits at different price levels so ask questions and make sure you know what you’ll be getting and the cost.
- The auditor will ask you questions about your comfort in the home, like drafty areas, or be able to analyze your energy bill for you.
- They will go room by room through your home taking notes, conducting tests and looking for potential energy savings. The auditor will also test your heating and cooling system to see if it is running well or needs a tune up. A typical assessment may include a blower door test, which tells the auditor how well your house is insulated.
- Any work to implement the auditor’s recommendations for saving energy comes at an additional cost. While a professional audit can be costly, following through with its recommendations may save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars in annual and long-term energy costs.
How To Find a Qualified Energy Auditor
Professional energy auditors performing the common tests to assess a home’s energy efficiency (such as a blower door test) are now required to obtain a license from the Commonwealth of Virginia. Energy raters and auditors must be trained in approved programs and licensed as a Residential Building Energy Analyst (RBEA) by the Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation’s Board for Contractors.
Common training certifications to look for when considering a local energy professional:
- Building Performance Institute (BPI)
- Home Performance with ENERGY STAR
- Residential Energy Services Network-Energy Ratings (RESNET)
Local energy organizations can also help walk you through the energy assessment process and match you with a qualified energy auditor and contractor in your area. Find the programs in your area.
Hint: You may be eligible for a discount or rebate for your professional energy assessment through your utility provider or local energy program. Many utility companies and social services organizations also provide income-qualified customers with free or low-cost energy audits. If you qualify, you may also be eligible for financing, incentives and rebates to implement the auditor’s recommendations. Visit our incentives page to explore utility and government credits and rebates.