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Energy Audit Cost

Energy Audit Cost

National average
$250
(moderate home energy audit with blower door test)
Low: $150

(basic audit)

High: $650

(extensive audit, blower door test, PFT and infrared imaging)

Cost to do an energy audit varies greatly by region (and even by zip code).
Get free estimates from energy efficiency consultants in your city.

The average cost of an energy audit is $250.

In this guide

Prep-work
Types of Energy Audits
Testing Process
Testing Procedures
Labor
Problems
What to Do After an Energy Audit
Enhancements
Additional Considerations
FAQ

How Much Does It Cost to Do an Energy Audit?

An energy audit is an examination designed to identify any ways your house may be losing energy, and the corresponding solutions. It's also sometimes referred to as an "energy assessment" or "energy study". By having an energy audit done, you can get a full picture of your home's energy efficiency problems and learn about problem areas you never even suspected. You'll receive professional advice on how to best improve your home's energy efficiency. Making suggested changes after an energy audit can save you as much as 5%-30% annually.

This cost guide breaks down the basic facts of home energy audits, as well as their average cost. There are a variety of factors that influence the total cost of audits, including audit extent, service add-ons, and government incentives and rebates. The average cost to do an energy audit is $200 - $300, with the average owner paying $250 for an energy audit with a blower test on a one-story 1200 sq.ft. home.

Energy Audit Costs

Energy audit costs
National average cost$250
Average range$200 - $300
Minimum cost$150
Maximum cost$650


Prep-work

You will need to do some minimal preparation before your energy auditor arrives for the inspection. Windows and doors should be closed and latched securely. If any windows or doors are broken, point these out to the auditor ahead of time.

Any belongings you have that are blocking access to the attic, basements, and crawl spaces must be cleared out. Nothing should be blocking appliances since the auditor will need easy access to furnaces, boilers, and hot water heaters.

Make a list of any energy problems you've noticed in the summer and winter, such as drafts or excessively high energy usage. Have copies of your yearly energy bills on hand so that they are ready to be examined by the auditor. Auditors typically want to see the past 12 months of utility bills.

Types of Energy Audits

ASHRAE stands for the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers. This group developed three different levels of energy audits to help determine how rigorous a procedure auditors need to follow.

  • A Level 1 audit is also called a walk-through. Reporting and use of testing tools are limited as the auditor walks through a building to evaluate energy-efficiency. These types of audits are usually only recommended for small buildings with low overall energy usage. Utility bills and interviews with property owners are included with this type of audit.
  • Level 2 energy audits require more analysis and reporting procedures. Equipment pieces are inventoried, with energy usage for each piece evaluated. Improvement costs are projected with a savings analysis of each measure documented. The auditor will look for the highest potential for energy savings and create long-term energy savings goals. This type of audit is most often recommended for larger buildings. A Level 2 audit will also include Level 1 procedures.
  • A Level 3 audit will have all of the components from a Level 1 and Level 2 audit. During this audit, a detailed analysis is performed by the technician. Comprehensive surveys are performed along with hourly HVAC monitoring and analysis. Existing utility bills are reviewed along with sub-metering done by the company. Level 3 audits are rarely done on residences. These audits are usually reserved for large and complex commercial buildings.

Testing Process

Average home audit prices range from $0.08 to $0.12 per sq.ft. After arriving at your home, the auditor will discuss what testing methods are used for the assessment. An auditor will need access to different areas of your home, including the exterior, attic, basement, and crawl spaces. Visual assessments and testing devices allow the auditor to pinpoint problem areas within the property and develop recommended strategies to resolve energy consumption issues. Depending on the size of your home and the type of testing being done, an energy audit can last between 45 minutes and three hours.

Most professional auditors will follow a basic sequence of steps when conducting your home audit:

  • Initial review: reviewing your annual energy bills, as well as comparing your costs and efficiency to that of similar homes.
  • Site assessment: interview you and walk through the home, conducting a physical inspection and collecting relevant data.
  • Energy and cost assessment: compare data from your utility bills to the data gathered from the physical inspection. Use that information to estimate improvements and savings.
  • Report and recommendation: give you a summary of the audit findings and show you problem areas. Make recommendations for energy saving measures.

About 7-10 business days after your audit, you should receive a detailed report summarizing what methods the auditor used to evaluate your home's efficiency, and their findings. Identified problems will be listed, such as leakage points, as well as corresponding solutions. Your auditor's report should specify what should be fixed in what order, and it should specify your estimated energy and cost savings.

Testing Procedures

Auditing methodologies vary among providers, but the majority of home audits include the following testing procedures:

  • Utility bill examination: all of your utility bills from the past year can be analyzed by your auditor to determine if you're paying too much to heat or cool your home. This is typically done by comparing your utility costs to the average costs paid by homeowners in your area. An interview is also conducted to determine areas of concern.
  • Room-by-room examination: auditors should typically walk through each room of your home and conduct a thorough visual inspection of the windows, appliances, and, if possible, the insulation. The exterior of the building is also done to help the auditor find any issues such as damage to the roof, eaves 1, or windows.
  • Blower door test: blower door tests are designed to check the air-tightness of your home and identify any leaks. They manipulate air pressure indoors, drawing air through unsealed cracks and openings. This is done by mounting a large fan onto your home's front door. A blower door test should be a part of even the most basic energy audit.
  • Infrared imaging: infrared imaging equipment is used to show where heat is escaping and cold air is entering. Repairing problem areas identified through infrared imaging can lead to up to 20% savings in heating costs.

Some audits will also include photos of problem areas identified by your auditor, total cost estimates of suggested improvements, and total energy savings estimates. The general rule is that the more extensive your audit is, the more expensive it will be. Moderate to extensive audits cost between $0.12 and $0.50 per sq.ft. ($144-$600 for a one-story 1200 sq.ft. home).

Industry experts recommend that whatever the extent of your energy audit, it shouldn't be any higher than 10% of your annual energy bill.

Labor

Auditors, also known as "home performance contractors", are the professionals who will be conducting your home energy audit. Since their time and labor is almost always included in the price of the audit itself, you won't have to pay additional or separate labor fees.

Home energy audits usually last 2-3 hours. More extensive audits can take 3-4 hours. When you first contact your chosen auditor, expect there to be 1-2 weeks before they can come to your home to perform the audit.

Problems

Most energy audits will result in the discovery of at least a few energy efficiency issues. Typical problems checked for and uncovered during home energy audits are listed below.

Air leaks: it's estimated that the average homeowner wastes as much as $350 in utility costs due to air leaks. Air leakage occurs when air leaves the home through cracks and holes. Caulking 2 and weatherstripping can be added or upgraded to seal up any openings and reduce the amount of air leaks.

Inadequate insulation: most homes lack enough insulation to keep them energy efficient. It's not uncommon for an auditor to discover that a home is completely missing insulation in certain sections. Insulation is rated in terms of R-values. The higher the R-value, the better insulating effect the material provides. Popular insulation types include fiberglass 3, wool, cellulose, polystyrene, spray foam, and cotton. If the material currently installed is damaged, missing in areas, or doesn’t have a high R-value, new insulation is likely needed.

Wasteful lighting: having old bulbs, light fixtures, and wiring can be a major source of energy consumption in a home. Incandescent light bulbs were most often used by homeowners prior to the 2000s. Incandescent light bulbs use almost five times the amount of energy as LEDs. Rewiring may be needed if the home is older than 40 years. Older electrical systems were not designed for energy efficiency. Older 100 amp electrical panels may also need replacement with 200 amp models.

Inefficient appliances and heating or cooling equipment: equipment that's old, has a low energy rating, or just isn't right for your home type and climate can consume far more energy than necessary. Energy Star ratings were created to help consumers avoid choosing appliances that aren’t energy-efficient. These ratings are especially important when buying clothes dryers, refrigerators, air conditioners, and water heaters. These appliances draw the most energy consumption compared to other household appliances.

What to Do After an Energy Audit

At the end of your energy audit, be sure to thoroughly discuss all of the suggestions made by your auditor. Don't be afraid to ask questions and ask for an explanation if you don't understand something. Understanding the problems and solutions is absolutely necessary in order to successfully manage the steps that come after an audit.

Establish what the priorities are. It's best to start with the quick fixes. You should immediately make any possible adjustments to your home’s equipment and appliances (install thermostat 4 controls, lower settings, add timers, etc.). This will lower your bills right away.

Hiring a handyman to perform basic air-tightening tasks like caulking 3 and weatherstripping can save you as much as $150 per year, and only costs around $350 to $600. Do this as soon as possible, since it's a fast, easy job with a quick payoff.

Larger installations, like window replacement (average $1,500 per window), can typically wait a few weeks or a couple of months, unless there are major breaks and leaks. Installing new windows can significantly improve your home's efficiency. Storm windows in particular are designed to provide energy savings of up to 33%. Storm windows 5 cost $275 each. Replacing insulation is also a significant upgrade to a home's energy efficiency. Attic insulation projects start at $400 and can go over $1,800.

The biggest impact on your home’s energy savings is evaluating the need for new appliances. Replacing old and inefficient equipment and appliances with Energy-Star certified products will give you 30% in energy savings. Adjusting equipment by changing settings, adding timers, or even installing thermostat controls can result in 50% savings. Smart thermostats allow you to set the temperature from a mobile device and preset times for heating and cooling periods. As an example, if the home is unoccupied during the day, you can set the air conditioner to 78 degrees Fahrenheit and then schedule a more comfortable temperature before you arrive home.

Enhancement and Improvement Costs

Pft Air Infiltration Measurement Technique

The PFT is a long-term test designed to measure the air-tightness of your home, and is often recommended as a supplementary upgrade to the blower door test. Your auditor will install an emitter and receiver inside your house. This equipment will emit a trace of 100% safe, non-toxic gas, then later absorb it to measure how much of the gas leaked out of your home over time. This test can give a more advanced assessment of your home's air-tightness, as well as your home's air pollutants.

PFTs are typically only included in extensive audit packages, which cost over 315% more than average audits.

Additional Considerations and Costs

  • Preparation. You will need to do some minimal preparation before your energy auditor arrives for the inspection. Make a list of any energy problems you've noticed in the summer and winter, such as drafts or excessively high energy usage. Have copies of your yearly energy bills on hand so that they are ready to be examined by the auditor.
  • Finding an auditor. You may have already noticed many advertisements for energy audits in your local newspapers, on shop bulletin boards, or mail flyers. However, you shouldn't assume that every advertised service meets professional standards. In fact, many don't. Before choosing an auditor, verify that they are certified by the Building Performance Institute. You can use the BPI's online search tool to check whether or not an auditor is BPI certified.
  • Adjustments and fixes. Some recommendations made by your auditor can be quick and easy fixes, while others may be extensive projects. Common adjustments and fixes are listed below.
    • Converting to LED or fluorescent lighting can lead to 25%-80% in energy savings.
  • Replacing old and inefficient equipment and appliances with Energy-Star certified products will give you 30% in energy savings. Adjusting equipment by changing settings, adding timers, or even installing thermostat controls can result in 50% savings.
  • Rebates. Check with your local authorities if you are eligible for discounted or free home energy audits. These audits may not include all of the inspection tasks that standard audits do, such as blower door tests or infrared imaging. Many regional governments and organizations offer rebates on upgrades made after an energy audit, which can add up to as much as $5000 for gas-heated homes, and $8000 for electrically-heated homes. There are separate rebates for different upgrades. Maximums may apply. Your energy provider may be able to provide you with a loan as high as $30,000 to cover energy efficiency upgrades.
  • DIY. You can perform a DIY energy audit. First, grab your last 12 months of utility bills and enter some basic information about your house into the ENERGY STAR Home Energy Yardstick tool. It will compare your home's energy efficiency to that of other homes like yours. This online tool also provides suggestions for improvements you can make.
  • Travel fees. If you live outside of your chosen auditor's service area, you'll likely be charged a travel fee. Travel fees are completely dependent on the current price of gas, the specific distance between your home and the service area, and the auditor's discretion.
  • Air-sealing and ventilation. Many homeowners worry that after air-sealing, their house might be too "tight" to breathe. This concern is based on the old misconception that some drafts and air leaks are necessary for a home to have healthy ventilation. In reality, there's nothing to worry about when your home is tightly sealed. An efficient home should be tightly sealed, and should have controlled ventilation installations. Relying on air leaks to provide your home's ventilation runs the risk of long-term damage, as well as uncontrollable energy waste.
  • Commercial vs. residential audits. Compared to residential audits, most commercial energy audits involve an in-depth look at energy processes. Commercial energy audits normally not only look at the building as a whole, but also focus on the places where the business owner is losing the most money due to wasted energy. Commercial audits rely on the ASHRAE scale with the majority of buildings needing a Level 2 audit.

  • Energy rating vs. energy audit. An energy rating and energy audit are not the same thing. An energy rating determines how efficient your home is compared to similar properties. The rating is provided through the HERS (Home Energy Rating System) scoring index. Energy ratings are used to project utility costs and most often provided for real estate purposes. Energy audits pinpoint how a home is wasting energy and offer strategies on how to fix the issues.

FAQ

  • What is a home energy audit?

A home energy audit is an examination of your home to determine where it may be losing energy. It may also be called an energy assessment or an energy study.

  • What is an energy survey?

An energy survey reviews how energy is being used in a building. This can be simple or detailed, and may be available in three types: investment, detailed, or walk-through.

  • How much does it cost to get an energy audit?

A typical energy audit with blower costs around $250 for a 1200 sq.ft. home, although some companies may conduct an audit for free if you purchase their services.

  • What is an electrical energy audit?

An electrical energy audit is an examination of your home to find out why you may be losing energy.

  • What is air sealing?

Air sealing closes the gaps around your windows, doors, and other air leaks to help prevent energy loss and help you save money.

  • What do you mean by energy management?

Energy management refers to the process of using the least amount of energy necessary for your home.

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Remodeling Terms Cheat Sheet

Definitions in laymen's terms, cost considerations, pictures and things you need to know.
See full cheat sheet.
1 Eaves: The edge of a roof that connects with the wall of the building. Usually this part of the roof comes out further than the wall
glossary term picture Caulking 2 Caulking: A chemical sealant used to fill in and seal gaps where two materials join, for example, the tub and tile, to create a watertight and airtight seal. The term "caulking" is also used to refer to the process of applying this type of sealant
glossary term picture Fiberglass 3 Fiberglass: Plastic that is reinforced with glass fibers. The fibers may be mixed randomly throughout the plastic, or come in the form of a flat sheet, or be woven into a fabric
glossary term picture Thermostat 4 Thermostat: A device that senses and regulates temperature by turning heating and cooling devices on and off
5 Storm windows: An additional window panel, mounted outside or inside a primary window, that provides insulation and damage protection during inclement weather

Cost to do an energy audit varies greatly by region (and even by zip code). To get free estimates from local contractors, please indicate yours.

Professional auditor conducts an energy audit to identify energy efficiency problems of a house

Labor cost by city and zip code

Compared to national average
Bel Air, MD
-8%
Indianapolis, IN
+6%
Pullman, WA
-33%
San Diego, CA
+11%
Smithfield, VA
-18%
Smyrna, GA
+10%
West Palm Beach, FL
-2%
Yonkers, NY
+33%
Labor cost in your zip code
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