How to Get a Free Energy Audit: A Comprehensive Guide
An energy audit evaluates the energy efficiency of a building, its systems, and its appliances.
During the audit, an energy auditor will examine your home’s insulation, heating and cooling systems, appliances, and other energy-using systems to determine where you can save energy and money.
It is a crucial step towards reducing energy consumption and costs and making homes and businesses more environmentally friendly.
The good news is that many government programs and organizations offer free energy audits to homeowners and business owners.
Who Can Conduct an Energy Audit?
Qualified energy auditors are trained professionals who have the knowledge and experience necessary to assess your home’s energy usage and make recommendations for improvement.
Government Programs and Organizations Offering Free Energy Audits
- United States Department of Energy (DOE): The Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) is a government program aimed at helping low-income families reduce their energy bills by improving the energy efficiency of their homes. In addition to the free home energy assessment, the WAP also offers a range of other services and resources to help families reduce their energy costs and make their homes more energy efficient.
- Go Energy Link: The free energy audit from Go Energy Link is an opportunity for individuals and businesses to assess their energy consumption and identify areas for improvement.
- Energy Star: Energy Star is a joint program of the US Environmental Protection Agency and the US Department of Energy that helps businesses and homeowners save money and protect the environment through energy efficiency. Energy Star offers a free online energy audit tool that you can use to evaluate the energy efficiency of your home.
- Innovative Energy UK: Innovative Energy UK provides practical and simple solutions to help businesses reduce energy consumption. They offer free energy audits by analyzing your current bills, and they also offer a flexible approach, working on a fixed fee basis or sharing the cost efficiencies achieved.
- Smart Stones Energy Solutions: SmartStones Energy offers a free home energy audit to help homeowners save money on their energy bills. This service involves an assessment of the home’s energy efficiency, including its heating and cooling systems, lighting, and appliances. The audit is conducted by a team of professionals who will provide recommendations on how to improve energy efficiency and reduce energy costs.
- Rural Development: The Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) offers a free energy audit for rural businesses and farmers. The program also offers assistance in obtaining financing for renewable energy systems and energy-efficiency projects.
- NYSERDA: The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority NYSERDA free energy audit program are for residential properties. This program is designed to help homeowners reduce their energy bills and save the environment. The process is easy and convenient, and it’s a great opportunity for homeowners to take advantage of it in order to make their homes more energy-efficient.
- EcoHome: EcoHome.net also provides information on energy-efficient home upgrades and rebates available to homeowners in Canada who make energy-efficient upgrades to their homes. EcoHome mentions the ecoENERGY Retrofit – Homes program, which provides financial incentives for homeowners to make energy-efficient upgrades. The website also provides information on provincial and territorial rebates, such as the Ontario Energy Rebate for Homes, the Quebec Home Renovation Tax Credit, and the BC Hydro Power Smart New Homes program.
- Pacific Gas and Electric Company: PG&E offers free energy audits to its residential customers in California. They also offer various incentives and rebates for customers who make the recommended upgrades.
- Dr. Energy Saver: Dr. Energy Saver is a home energy-saving company based in Ohio, providing residents in Cleveland, Akron, Canton, and surrounding areas with a free whole-house energy audit. Their services come with full warranties, free estimates, and a commitment to quality work.
Free energy audits for larger energy users
If you are a larger industrial or commercial energy user, no matter where you are in the world, you may be able to get a “free” energy audit from an Energy Services Company (ESCOs). ESCOs are businesses that can identify energy savings opportunities (through an energy audit), project manage the implementation of energy audit recommendations, guarantee savings, and facilitate access to financing.
This is known as an Energy Performance Contract (EPC). So if you are fully committed to reducing your energy use and are a larger energy user, you may be able to find an ESCO that will give you guaranteed energy savings and take on the risk of the project. There are a range of different energy performance contracting associations in different countries, here are links to some of them:
- EMCA (ESCO Committee of China Energy Conservation Association)
- Energy Efficiency Council (Australia)
- ESAC (Energy Services Association of Canada)
- ESTA Energy Services and Technology Association
- JAESCO (Japan Association of Energy Service Companies)
- MAESCO (Malaysian ESCO Association)
- NAESCO (North American ESCO association)
- SEAS (Sustainable Energy Association of Singapore)
- TESA (Taiwan Energy Service Association)
- Thai ESCO Association (Thailand)
The 10 Steps to Getting a Free Energy Audit
Eligibility criteria for free energy audits vary depending on the program and the organization offering the audit. Some programs are only available to low-income households, while others are open to all customers.
1. Determine your eligibility
To get a free energy audit, you typically need to meet specific eligibility criteria set by the program or organization offering the audit. For example, the Energy Efficiency for Business program may require that your business be located in a specific geographic area.
2. Research programs and organizations
There are many government programs and organizations that offer free energy audits for industrial and commercial sectors, including the Energy Efficiency for Business program, the Better Buildings Challenge, and many utility companies. Do an internet search to find programs and organizations in your area.
3. Contact the program or organization
Contact the program or organization to find out more about their eligibility criteria, what their energy audit entails, and how to sign up for the audit.
4. Prepare your business
Before the energy audit, the auditor will require that you gather several documents. This will include:
- Energy bills for at least 12 months, preferably for 24 months. If there is an online portal where this data can be accessed, this is preferred. The auditor will prefer this data in a spreadsheet or CSV file. And pdf copies of the bills too.
- Site plans.
- Nameplate data on items of major equipment (if it’s available), or an asset register.
- Details on the times your site is used and what it is used for.
5. Schedule the energy audit
Once you’ve determined that you’re eligible for a free energy audit, schedule the audit with the program or organization.
6. Meet with the auditor
On the day of the audit, you’ll meet with the auditor to go over your business’s energy use. The auditor will assess your lighting, heating, and cooling systems, machinery, and appliances and will make recommendations for improvement.
7. Review the report
After the energy audit, you’ll receive a report detailing the auditor’s findings and recommendations. Review the report carefully and consider implementing the recommendations to help reduce your energy consumption.
8. Determine the cost
If you decide to make improvements based on the recommendations, you will need to get quotations for the recommended upgrades. The auditor will have estimated the costs of the upgrade, but the actual quoted costs may be different to the auditors estimates.
9. Schedule the upgrades
If you decide to proceed with the upgrades, schedule the work with a qualified contractor. Many programs, such as Energy Efficiency for Business, have lists of qualified contractors that you can choose from.
10. Enjoy your savings
Once the upgrades are complete, start enjoying your energy savings and lower energy bills!
How Professionals Become Qualified to Conduct an Energy Audit
Becoming qualified to conduct an energy audit involves completing training and certification programs offered by organizations such as the Building Performance Institute (BPI), the Association of Energy Engineers (AEE), the Residential Energy Services Network (RESNET), and Sustainability Education Academy (SUSTEMY).
These programs cover a range of topics, including building science, energy-efficient construction practices, and auditing techniques.
In conclusion, getting a free energy audit is a great way to evaluate the energy efficiency of your home or business and to identify ways to reduce energy consumption and costs. Whether you’re a homeowner or a business owner, many programs and organizations offer free energy audits, so be sure to explore your options and find the best fit for your needs.