Are energy audits at risk of becoming loss leader or are we already there?

Google “Free Energy Audit” lists 24,000 pages!

I keep seeing evidence that energy audits are increasingly becoming a give-away, loss leader (in most cases on the hope that home performance contracting services will offset the audit expense and time)

What are your thoughts on the rampant number of “Free Energy Audit” solicitations? Seems to be really marginalizing a very valuable service.

I think it already is. But the bigger problem is that there is no clear definition of what an “energy audit” is. This creates an even bigger problem because most consumers do not really know what should be involved or what to expect. I think it will get worse before it gets some sort of standard and people finally start to be educated.

You hit that right on the head Kevin. Currently HERS, and I doubt this would ever change, is the biggest standard. HERS is the EnergyStar standard and the one, if I were a contractor, would focus on.

LEEDS has the largest “member” base currently. LEEDs is more about what the building is made up of. To get different ratings (Silver, Gold, Platinum) the building not only has to be sustainable, but also made from certain percentage of post consumer or recycled products.

It would be very tough to do, but technically you could build (retrofit) a building to become an EnergyStar structure that is more efficient than some LEEDs structures, and still not gain enough LEEDs points to get a rating.

Another one, that I have been reading up on is the NAHB standard. This one recently just received an ANSI certification. Which so much of the whole green movement being on the residential side, this one could potentially get larger and maybe even over take LEEDs.

HERS is taught by both BPI and Resnet. LEEDs is administrated by the USGBC. We just set up a training program for our customers for both a HERS and LEEDs training and certification on Friday. I will post more details on it, as we develop it a little more.

As far as the free energy audits. Scott you are partially correct. What isn’t noted here is the fact that the people doing the free audits, are being reimbursed through some program. These programs are either administered by your city, county, state, federal, power companies, or a combination of any or all. So yes it is Free to the consumer, the energy auditor gets paid through other resources. That is why you see that many of the energy auditing companys are non profit. I would highly recommend if you want to pursue that path, to have the main officer of the non profit as a minority. Sometimes this is not possible, but it is a huge benefit.

Stick with HERS, LEEDs, and maybe the NAHB one, for now. Everything else is just something else that people are just trying to make money off this movement, and just something you can hang on your sign.

Jason Kaylor – JJ
VP of Specialty Products
AC Tool Supply](
Fluke Thermal Imagers
Testo Infrared Cameras
HotShot Hi-Rez Infrared Cameras
Fluke TiR1 Resources](
FLIR B60 Resources](
Retrotec Duct & Blower Door](
Energy Auditor Talk](

In my area the energy audits are performed by the local heat providers, (gas company). This amounts to nothing more than a fellow coming to your place and walking around and filling out a small paper report telling folks that they need to add mercury bulbs, oops I mean CFL’s and perhaps some insulation to the attic. Then, in turn, the supplier of heat offers a rebate to the consumer for the cost of adding insulation. I would like to find a good audit reporting software, incorporate IR and see what happens

What exactly is an “Energy Audit” and by whose definition?

How deep and involved is this “Energy Audit”?

Is there a standard?

What type of training is required and who can do them?


Some people want an energy rating on their new home and some just want to save on their energy bill every month.

Just like the home inspection, most inspectors fail, not because of their lack of technical knowledge but from their lack of marketing abilities.

If an energy audit saves a significant amount of the client’s money on their monthly bills, and the client gets it for free… this may end up being the path that wins the battle for the market place. The auditor is probably making their income on the service end of the upgrades.

In my area the market is definatly driven by the contractors who are not giving them away just yet but moving in that direction. The state of MD. currently won’t take you into there required class unless you are a contractor. Seems to me it’s a bit of a conflict of interest that the auditor then wants to sell you thousands of dollars of work. I hope to market myself as an independent aduitor with nothing to sell. My intention is to refer the work to the contractors.