An energy audit is an assessment of energy consumption and efficiency in a commercial or residential building. It’s an important part of real estate as people become more environmentally conscious and place more value on sustainability.
Conducting an energy audit gives you insight into how to decrease both your carbon footprint and your monthly energy bill. Let’s look at the key roles of energy audits to understand exactly how they can benefit people.
Assessing Energy Consumption
The first step in an energy audit is to assess energy consumption in a real estate property. This involves walking through the house, looking at walls, insulation, doors, and other ventilation. The auditor will also look at the property’s heating and cooling systems.
Another key part of an energy assessment is testing the tightness of the building envelope through an air-fastness test. Once consumption and the property’s current efficiency have been understood, the auditor can make recommendations to improve energy efficiency. By understanding current consumption, it is easier to see energy-saving opportunities. You can then evaluate these opportunities for cost efficiency. For example, you could improve insulation or install more energy-efficient lights and appliances.
An energy consumption assessment helps you to understand the most inefficient aspects of your property. It thus allows you to prioritize changes to maximize energy efficiency while minimizing cost. Rather than replacing everything, you can identify which changes will have the biggest impact.
Enhancing Energy Efficiency
The core goal of energy audits is to identify energy-efficient technologies, systems, and practices in real estate properties. It gives you a roadmap of improvements to make, rather than being bombarded by the multitude of energy-efficient properties. For example, if your windows are a concern, you can improve energy efficiency with uPVC windows. However, your windows may be fine, and your heating system may be the biggest energy consumer. That’s why it’s important to understand the specific energy efficiency of your real estate property.
From your energy audit, you’ll have a good grasp of your property’s problem areas. The auditor will also be able to make recommendations for energy-efficient appliances, low-consumption light bulbs, and better-quality insulation. Something else to consider is levelling up your heating and cooling systems to a programmable thermostat. This allows for more granular control over your temperature management. It will allow you to set it up for maximum comfort and minimum energy consumption, which will reduce energy costs.
Identifying Sustainability Opportunities
With changes in climate becoming more extreme, it is important to think about your carbon footprint and also your environmental impact. Energy audits provide an opportunity to increase the sustainability of real estate properties by identifying areas in need of improvement. Through this, you can implement sustainable practices, as well as look into renewable energy options. An energy audit not only looks at current consumption practices. It also evaluates the feasibility of options like solar panels, wind turbines, and geothermal systems.
While renewable energy production is an excellent idea overall, it may not be the best fit in individual cases. Besides, it’s important to tailor your energy practices to your specific property. In addition to reducing your carbon footprint, a focus on sustainability can improve the marketability of real estate properties. This stems from more environmental awareness, as well as a desire to reduce energy costs. Having your property be more energy efficient can increase property value. Energy-efficient homes are maintaining their value even while house prices decrease.
It is important to remember that while energy-efficient upgrades cost money, there are many low-cost improvements. You won’t have immediate results, but over time, you’ll see savings from energy efficiency measures.
Compliance with Energy Regulations
As we begin to grasp how our energy consumption affects the natural world, there is an increase in regulations around energy efficiency. One example of this is the Domestic Minimum Energy Efficiency Standard (MEES) Regulations. It outlines improvements and how they can boost the rating of your real estate property. By doing an energy audit, you can see what needs to be done to meet requirements set out by regulatory bodies. This is especially vital for real estate owners and developers when leasing out properties.
A crucial component of this is that these regulations govern not only energy efficiency but also the safety of the property. If your property has older appliances and wiring, there is a greater fire hazard. Something else that is a concern dealt with by energy audits is carbon monoxide production and sufficient ventilation.
When it comes to real estate, researching the regulations is key because they are different for residential and commercial properties. And the consequences of non-compliance are serious. If you fall short of these regulations, you may face fines of up to £150,000.