Is it an Energy Audit or an Energy Assessment?

Published on June 04, 2019

Is it an Energy Audit or an Energy Assessment?

Although they may sound like different things, an energy audit and an energy assessment are actually the exact the same procedure. The only difference between the two is that the term ‘assessment’ is becoming more widely used, as it is a more accurate representation of the service that is being provided.

The reason for the change in terminology is that the term ‘audit’ is misleading, as it makes it sound as if an energy audit is only focused on crunching numbers. While this is an important part of the assessment, an energy audit also evaluates (or assesses) so much more than just the level of energy efficiency of a home. It also assesses a home regarding its level of comfort, and its health and safety. Also, the Registered Energy Advisor who conducts the assessment provides the homeowner with a list of ways that their home could be upgraded to improve these factors in the most cost-effective manner possible.

A home energy audit/assessment can be conducted at any time, and it is especially helpful to have it done before or even during renovations. One of the major benefits of having an energy audit done in your home is that it allows you to make airtightness improvements easily; as part of the test - the blower door test - checks for and identifies air leakage locations, and determines how much air is being exchanged in your home per hour. This allows you to directly target problem areas, and can save you from the headache of misspending money on areas that are not going to benefit your energy bills very much.

During an energy assessment, a Registered Energy Advisor will also do a walk-through inspection of your home, looking for potential problems or visible issues in your home’s building envelope, and examining insulation for problems and correct installation methods.

A Blower Door Test Makes Airtightness Improvements a Breeze

The most effective and affordable way of making airtightness improvements is to start with a home energy assessment - before you begin making any renovations, retrofits, or upgrades. The reason for this is that the blower door test portion of the assessment clearly identifies and labels every air leak within a home’s building envelope. This allows you to easily understand which air leaks are causing the biggest issues, and which can be sealed using proper measures.

Even if you have already begun renovations in part or all of your home, the construction and renovation process can see a multitude of benefits from having a home energy audit and blower door test conducted. A pre-drywall blower door test is especially helpful in catching unwanted air leaks before the walls are finished and put up during a major renovation, addition or new construction, making it much easier to ensure that: any air leaks have been sealed, that moisture is not able to excessively build up, and that the renovations are done correctly and effectively the first time.  

With the information gathered from the blower door test, our Registered Energy Advisors are able to calculate your home’s total air loss, and visually demonstrate it as if every air leak in your home formed one singular window that could never be closed. Seeing the cumulative amount of air leaks throughout your home represented as one un-closable window allows you to easily and visually comprehend the amount of air, heat, and energy your home loses due to insufficient airtightness, and it can help you to understand how effective your potential airtightness improvements would be.

Understand Your Home’s Energy Efficiency with an EnerGuide Rating

After your home energy assessment, walkthrough, and blower door test have been conducted, and our Registered Energy Advisors have reviewed your home’s results, you will be presented with an EnerGuide Report that includes detailed information about the energy efficiency and functionality of your home. This will also include an EnerGuide Rating - a numerical value that is assigned to represent your home’s overall energy performance and energy efficiency.

In order for a homeowner to receive an EnerGuide Rating, a number of aspects of their home must first be evaluated by a NRCan licensed Energy Advisor, with the results collected and entered into a computer software that simulates and helps analyze home energy efficiency. This includes evaluating the home’s: overall airtightness, level of insulation, HVAC efficiency, air ventilation and circulation, and general energy consumption.

BSG’s Energy Advisors have been licensed and registered by Natural Resources Canada, which allows them to perform energy assessments that help determine a home’s EnerGuide Rating. An energy audit from our team of Registered Energy Advisors can also help homeowners in Ontario qualify for up to $5000 of home renovation rebates through the new Home Efficiency Rebate program from Enbridge Gas. Since Enbridge Gas recently purchased Union Gas, the Home Efficiency Rebate program was created to replace each company’s separate rebate program, and it is now available to all Ontario homeowners who live within the service areas of either Enbridge Gas or Union Gas. These rebates make it more affordable for homeowners to make energy efficiency upgrades, and receive a higher EnerGuide Rating.

With a higher EnerGuide Rating, you will not only see an improvement in your home’s level of comfort and utility costs, but you may also notice that themarket value of your home has increased. This is due to the fact that a home with higher levels of energy efficiency is more desirable to the average homebuyer than a home with lower levels of energy efficiency.

Additionally, having a home energy assessment conducted prior to listing your home for sale can give you an advantage on the real estate market, as it provides potential homebuyers with more in depth information about the home, along with a plan for making home improvements that has already been laid out for them by the time they move in.

Save Money, Save Energy, and Save Time

By having an energy assessment done in your home, you can see a detailed evaluation of your home’s overall energy efficiency, and our Energy Advisors will provide you with a list of suggestions regarding how your home could be renovated or upgraded towards higher levels of energy efficiency. Included the suggestions is the expected energy savings and financial savings of each individual upgrade - meaning you can make a decision based on cost-effectiveness.

BSG is proud to provide home energy assessments to Ontario homeowners, and our team of Registered Energy Advisors are happy to answer any questions you may have regarding your home’s: energy efficiency, renovation pathways, and potential rebate options to maximize the return on your investment. 

Contact us for a free phone consultation and discuss your options for energy efficiency upgrades, renovations, or home improvements, or to schedule a time for your very own home energy assessment.

The Canada Greener Homes Grant offers home efficiency renovation grants up to $5,000.

Homeowners Canada-wide are eligible for the Canada Greener Homes Grant, announced on May 27, 2021. This new incentive offers up to $5,000 in grants for home efficiency retrofit renovations, plus a $600 reimbursement for pre- and post-work EnerGuide evaluations. Eligible retrofit scopes include home insulation, heating, doors, windows, photovoltaic solar panels, resiliency measures, and thermostats.

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