Utility Energy Audits Compared to a Performance-testing Audit
I recently was made aware of the following letter written by John C. Lepore of Bernardston, Mass., and published in the Boston Globe:
Who is making sure our “public’’ utilities are really improving our energy conservation? (“Utilities support energy savings,’’ Oct. 8).
MassSave has not improved energy conservation. Their “energy audits’’ are far from effective and they are not sharing any real data to support it. I know. They audited my home and said it was already as good as it could be; gave me a little weather stripping, a couple of light bulbs and patted me on the back for doing a “great job!’’
Then I sought out a home performance assessment by a private firm with highly trained professionals that does not sell energy. I am seeing far greater savings and a plan for saving me even more.
MassSave is another example of how the utilities are “saving us.’’ Where is the evidence that their weatherization works?
In general, most utility-sponsored home energy audits are designed with several objectives:
At Progress Energy Carolinas, we provide interested customers with a Customized Home Energy Report. The report is customized with modules of information, depending on how the customer answers questions concerning his or her energy usage. For example:
Most utility audits don’t provide diagnostic or performance testing that can identify hidden problems--usually in the building envelope or duct system--that may be causing high-energy usage. These performance-testing audits usually utilize diagnostic equipment, such as the following:
The performance-testing audits are usually much more expensive than a utility audit but also provide much more detailed information to the customer.
It is important to understand both utility audits and performance-testing audits serve a useful purpose for the customer, but it is up to the customer to decide which type of audit will best meet his or her individual needs.
Hal Lowrance is supervisor of residential energy efficiency with Progress Energy Carolinas.