How to Choose the Best Audit Company

The first step in successfully planning your home energy efficiency project is to have an audit done. A properly done audit will give you excellent date that you can use to plan your upgrades and also verify the results of the efficiency upgrades after they have been completed.

 Ask these questions prior to choosing an energy audit company:

  • Do you use efficiency calculating software that is specifically for air leakage? Air leakage is as important as the amount of insulation that is put into a building. Without properly air sealing a house you will lose a great deal of efficiency in the thermal shell. If the auditor does not use a targeted air sealing program you will not have accurate information about the leaks in your thermal shell. I recommend Tectite 3.2.
  • What energy efficiency rating software do you use? The industry standards for efficiency rating programs are TREAT, REM Design 12, and Rem Rater. In Maine if the audit company relies on Real Home Analyzer (RHA) by CSG seriously consider using another company. A comparative analysis done on 4 model homes using REM Design 12, TREAT, and RHA showed that REM Design 12 and TREAT were within 15% points of each other while RHA and REM Design 12 had a 38% difference and RHA and TREAT had a 43% difference.
  • Will you provide a comparative air leakage graph for the pre and post work conditions of the home?
  • Does the efficiency rating program that you use require you to measure the surface area of the building, the window area and types of the building, and the actual volume of the building? The more specific the inputs that the auditor uses the better the more accurate the information is that the software generates.
  • Are you an independent contractor or do you sell efficiency products as well? This helps you decide if there is a potential for bias in the recommendations that an auditor makes for you.

Do your homework prior to choosing an auditor. A college professor framed data input like this, “Crap in, crap out.”