How a Home Energy Audit Can Lower the Cost of Your Solar Power System

If you're looking to get the most out of your solar power system, then start with a home energy audit.

Why You Need a Home Energy Audit

Before you pull out your check book and hire a solar contractor to install your solar power system, you should complete an energy efficiency audit of your home first.

This is important because you want to make your home as energy efficient as possible in order to reduce the number of solar power panels your system will require. Since solar panels are the most expensive component of a solar power system, this can save you big bucks.

What is a Home Energy Audit?

OK, so we know an energy efficiency audit is a good idea before sizing our solar power system.

But what exactly is involved in a energy audit?

An energy audit can be divided into three parts...

  • Analysis of your home's past energy usage
  • Assessment of your home's energy efficiency
  • Prioritized list of recommended actions

The first step is to understand your past energy usage. This will help you identify trends and spikes in your energy consumption. Ideally you will be able to look back at least two years. This analysis will also let you check if the improvements you make after the audit are really reducing your energy consumption.

The second step is the actual energy efficiency audit itself. The audit will look how much energy your home consumes and which elements of your home are consuming that energy. This involves inspecting your homes building envelope such as walls and ceilings, heating and cooling systems, and appliances.

The third step is creating a prioritized list of recommended actions based on the energy audit. If done by a professional, this should include estimated costs and potential savings for each improvement. It should also identify low-cost or no-cost improvements that you can do yourself.

The most important step is actually not part of the audit at all. It is...

...Take action based on the audit results!

The best thing to do is to actually include the actions you will take as part of your overall Solar Energy Master Plan. This will put them in the correct relationship with your overall solar energy vision.

Home Energy Audit Options

As with your other solar energy tasks in your master plan, you can either do the home energy efficiency audit yourself or hire an independent energy auditor.

A DIY energy efficiency audit will only cost you a few hours of your time. A DIY energy audit involves...

  • Analyzing your past energy bills
  • Checking for air leaks in your homes building envelope
  • Examining your heating and cooling equipment
  • Analyzing your appliances energy usage
  • Identifying high usage lighting

By performing a DIY energy audit you will be able to identify steps you can take to make your home more energy efficient.

But for just a few hundred dollars you can get a professional energy audit done by an independent energy auditor. In addition to their experience and expert knowledge, they can perform checks that the typical homeowner can't...

  • Blower Door Test
  • Duct Pressure Test
  • Heat Pump and A/C Commissioning
  • Infrared Camera Scans

A professional audit will also include an Audit Report identifying actions you should take, estimated costs and savings, and any incentives that you may qualify for.

Whether you decide to do-it-yourself or use a professional energy auditor, a home energy audit will help you save money now and reduce the cost of your solar power system.

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