Energy audit software may help you to reduce your energy consumption and utility bills while also allowing you to do your part to help the environment. Determine which program is right for your situation by selecting from highly technical programs designed for professionals to free online tools.
What Is an Energy Audit?
Your house may be leaking cool or warm air at the seams. A home energy audit helps you to determine where these energy losses occur. You may conduct a basic audit yourself, or hire a professional energy auditor for a few hundred dollars to assess your home, generate a report and make recommendations on how to improve your home energy efficiency.
Typically, an energy audit includes the exterior evaluation of doors and windows, exterior cladding, foundation edge, roof, pipes, and any possible leaks. Inside the home, the audit should cover insulation, unconditioned attic or basement space, heating and cooling equipment, and lighting. While you can locate some of these problem areas on your own, a professional auditor will also be able to make recommendations on how you can correct them.
Types of Energy Audit Software
Don't let the idea of using software intimidate you. There are many user-friendly online tools to help you analyze your home energy use. If you prefer to leave it to the professionals, hire an auditor who uses state of the art software to produce any easy to digest report.
Professional Energy Audit Software
Contractors and energy auditors use advanced tools and software to provide you with a very detailed report on your home energy use and locations of any leaks. This software generates detailed charts and graphs to help you understand the analysis results. It isn't economical or feasible for a homeowner to purchase this advanced software, but the results are well worth the auditor's fee.
Home Energy Audit Online Software
If you need answers on a budget, there are many free, online, energy auditing programs provided by the United States government, utility companies and private industries. Online energy auditing programs require that you enter data about your home energy use, including your home location and size, a year-long summary of your utility bills, information about the occupants, and the type and age of your appliances. Prepare to devote thirty minutes to an hour for entering all of the information before you receive the instant results.
The Home Energy Saver
This online calculator from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory evaluates your home carbon footprint and recommends upgrades that may help you save 20 percent or more on your bills. To begin, simply enter your zip code to receive average energy use data for your area. For a more customized overview, provide specific information about your home energy use through a series of forms.
Your electric and gas providers may benefit from your high bills, but many of them have an interest in improving the environment. In fact, many utility companies provide free online software programs that conduct energy audits for customers and offer suggestion for reducing energy use. Data on file from a year's worth of your bills is analyzed along with your answers to a list of questions about the appliances in your home, among other topics. Check with your local utility company to see if this service is provided.
Energy Star Home Energy Yardstick
Energy Star Home Energy Yardstick is one of the more basic auditing tools out there, this program allows you to enter utility bill information and compares your home energy use to others in your area.
Choosing the Best Application
Your budget, the age of your home and your commitment to cutting your energy costs can help you to determine which type of energy audit software is right for you. Audit results help you decide on the best ways to conserve energy in your home, and possibly recoup any costs you invest within a relatively short time.