Home Energy Audit

Have you ever considered making your home more environmentally-friendly or more energy efficient?  The first step to making changes which can save energy is to do a home energy audit. This means that a certified professional would come to your home and evaluate where improvements can be made in order to save energy. By doing a home energy audit, you may also be eligible for rebates on upgrades.   In order to find out more about home energy audits, Angela Beltaos (AB) conducted an interview with a home owner (GW) who has recently been through the process. Questions were designed by David Kay of Lakeland College with additional questions by the interviewer.

Home Energy Audit - Interview with a Home Owner
Angela Beltaos, Eco Point BCAL
AB: What type of home do you own?
GW: A single detached home, built in 1953, located in the Millcreek area of Edmonton.
AB:  Who or what organization/company did your home energy audit?
GW: Direct Energy.
AB: What motivated you to have a home energy audit done?                                
GW:  The rebates offered through the federal and provincial government. I had a needfor a new furnace, and the government offers partial payment of high-efficiency furnaces, but you must do an energy audit first.
AB:: Describe the process you followed to have a home energy audit conducted.   
GW: I contacted Direct Energy and selected a high-efficiency furnace from them, got it installed, and contacted Direct Energy to set up a date for a home energy audit. I had to meet them for a walk-through and audit with an inspector. I have 18 months to complete other upgrades based on the report they sent to me from the audit. Another audit must take place in 18 months in order to get rebates for those upgrades.
AB: How long did the energy audit take?
GW: About 4 hours.
AB: What tests did the energy auditor use to assess your home?
GW: An air leakage test (this is where they close everything and blow a fan in the house and test air leakage from the house); measured R values of insulation in the attic; checked furnace model and how efficient it is, plus air flow; checked water heater age; checked electric panel type of wiring; checked appliances; checked how many windows, plus type and size; took pictures of everything; and checked the age of shingles.
AB: From your point of view, what were the best parts of your home energy audit?
GW: The recommendations of where to save energy (and hence money on utilities) and the rebates for upgrades. 
AB: How do you get a rebate for the upgrade?
GW:  Rebates can be applied for through internet forms on government websites. The process for provincial applications is quicker than for federal. Federal rebates require a second audit. At the end of the process, they send a cheque in the mail.
AB: Can you see any flaws or limitations with the energy audit done on your home?
GW: I thought there was no advertising about it (I heard about it by word of mouth). Receiving rebates takes a few months from the application date. Part of the first audit is covered, while the second audit you must pay for (around $200).
AB: What were the recommended renovations that came out of your energy audit?
GW:   1) Added insulation to attic; 2) Seal around windows and electrical outlets; 3) Weather-strip around doors.
AB:  Thank you for the interview.
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