Full Title: What Homeowners Say about Home Energy Audits
Author(s): Karen L. Palmer and Margaret A. Walls
Publisher(s): Resources for the Future
Publication Date: 2015
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Building scientists and energy efficiency experts have a message for homeowners: plenty of cost-effective improvements exist to lower your energy bills, from simple weather stripping and air sealing to appliance upgrades. But many homeowners don’t know where to begin. They might know they have an old furnace, but they have no idea how effective the attic insulation is, where the air leaks in the house are, and which improvements are likely to pay off.
This is where home energy audits come in. A professional can determine where a house is losing energy and how to correct the problem. Yet only about 4 percent of the homeowners surveyed in the US Department of Energy’s 2009 Residential
Energy Consumption Survey reported having an audit recently. Even among people who have had audits, the follow-up with improvements is usually incomplete. If energy efficiency investments pay for themselves in energy savings, why aren’t more homeowners taking advantage of these opportunities?
We recently surveyed 1,784 homeowners across 24 states to help answer this question. A total of 566 respondents said they had an audit in the past four years. (This percentage differs from the national average because our survey technique involved a stratified sampling approach to ensure we got a large enough number of people with audits to be able to statistically analyze the data.)
Of those who hadn’t had an audit, 29 percent said they had “never heard of them,” and 16 percent said that they “had heard of them but didn’t know anything about them.” This finding alone suggests that consumers are lacking the information they need to make wise energy efficiency decisions