Home Performance Diagnostics

Home performance diagnostics -- like blower door testing and infrared thermography -- find the energy hogs, inefficiencies, leaks and safety weaknesses in a home.  The goal is always to target these weaknesses and offer solutions to improve that home’s performance, always starting with the least costly options first.  The process starts by understanding how and where a home uses energy:
Obviously, spending a small amount of money to improve the biggest energy users (heating and cooling, for example) offers the best-case scenario for the homeowner.  But there are a lot of different opportunities in every home to save money.  The trick is pinpointing those opportunities.  That's where the home performance diagnostics come in.    

An energy audit should consist of the following: 

--A visual inspection of a home, inside and out, looking at the drainage plane, attic ventilation. 
--Inspect for anything that's causing unsafe living conditions for the homeowner and their family.
--Extensively test the ‘leakiness’ of a home through blower door testing and thermal imaging, targeting the integrity of the home’s shell.
 --Using infrared thermography, inspect the envelope of the home for major sources of air infiltration and insulation voids.
--Inspect the whole home to determine if sufficient insulation is installed and make specific recommendations based on the findings.
--Inspect all lighting in the home and provide low-energy lighting recommendations.
--Check all windows and doors for leaks and inefficiencies.
--Examine water systems, to find opportunities to reduce waste or install newer money-saving fixtures or flow-heads.
--Look for leaks in ductwork, specifically around the air handler cabinet. 
--Inspect and test ductwork in the home (and ductwork in attics or crawlspaces) for leakage. 
--Conduct a thorough examination of the home’s mechanical systems (combustion appliances like the stove, furnace, and hot water heater) to determine if they are operating safely and efficiently.    
--Dissect the utility bill to determine usage and offer strategies to lower energy bills through modified usage patterns.
--Test the relationship between inside space and unconditioned areas like garages, attics, and crawlspaces.

This video gives a good overview of the Complete Energy Audit:

All of this should be done while operating under the guidelines set forth by the Building Performance Institute (BPI), utilizing the house-as-a-system approach.