With the weather changes throughout the year and the rising energy cost, many business owners and homeowners seek ways to save money on their energy expenses. One way to do this is to improve business or home energy efficiency. An energy advisor can help you with this by providing you with a home energy audit.
What Is an Energy Advisor?
An energy advisor is a professional who helps homeowners and businesses save money on their energy bills. They may work with utility companies, government agencies, or private firms. In general, they should have expertise in these critical areas:
- Building Science
- EnerGuide Rating System
- Basic arithmetic, geometry, and computer skills
- Data collection skills
- Energy efficiency renovation practices
- Residential construction practices for low-rise housing
- Energy simulation modeling using HOT2000
To be a certified EA in Canada, an individual must complete training and pass two energy advisor exams: the Foundation Level Exam and the Energy Advisor (House) Exam. They should also be affiliated with an NRCan-licensed service organization (SO) to complete their registration with NRCan.
Natural Resources Canada or NRCan is a department of the Canadian government responsible for natural resource policy, programs, and regulations.
An NRCan-registered EA may also provide additional services, such as the delivery of the following:
- EnerGuide for Multi-Unit Residential Buildings (MURBs). MURBs are any residential building with three or fewer floors in building height above ground and an area not more than 600 m2.
- ENERGY STAR for New Homes. This is a labeling program for newly built homes that meet strict energy-efficiency guidelines set by the Canadian government.
Why Do You Need an Energy Advisor?
Here are the reasons why you should consider consulting energy advisors:
To Provide a Property Audit
This is an assessment of your business’s or home’s energy usage. The energy advisor will look for opportunities to improve your property’s heating and cooling systems, insulation, and windows.
Your energy advisor will use a blower door test to determine the airtightness of your home. They will also use a thermal imaging camera to check areas where heat is escaping. Once they have gathered all this information, they will provide you with an energy rating based on the Natural Resources Canada’s Energy Efficiency Scale.
A Canada energy audit includes checking the following:
- Heating and cooling
- Water heating
To Offer Expert Advice on Home Energy Improvements
Once you have the results of your home energy audit, your energy advisor can offer you expert advice on what home energy improvements would be most beneficial for you. In addition, they can help you find government rebates and programs that can help offset the cost of these improvements.
Some of the home energy improvements that your advisor may recommend include:
- Adding or upgrading insulation
- Improving air sealing
- Installing energy-efficient windows
- Upgrading to a more efficient heating and cooling system
- Installing solar panels
- Replacing old appliances with ENERGY STAR-certified models
ENERGY-certified models are appliances that meet or exceed the minimum energy-efficiency standards set by the Canadian government.
To Help You Cut Expenses on Your Energy Bills
By improving the energy efficiency of your home or business, you can save money on your electricity bills. In fact, you can save up to 20% on your heating and cooling costs. You may even be eligible for government rebates if you make certain improvements, such as installing solar panels.
Your energy advisor can help you understand the payback period of different home energy improvements. This is when you need to recoup the improvement cost through energy savings.
For example, if an insulation upgrade has a payback period of two years, the money you save on your energy bills will equal the cost of the upgrade within two years.
To Get You Started on Your Home Energy Improvements
Once you’ve decided which home energy improvements you’d like to make, your energy advisor can help you get started. They can provide you with a list of qualified contractors to do the work. They can also answer any questions you have about the process.
To Monitor Your Home’s Energy Use
Once you have made some home energy improvements, your energy advisor can help monitor your home’s energy use to ensure that the upgrades work as intended. They can also provide advice on how to reduce your energy consumption further. For instance, they may recommend installing a programmable thermostat or LED light bulbs.
Monitoring your home’s energy use is crucial because it can help you determine if your home’s energy improvements are working and identify areas where you could further reduce your energy consumption. Additionally, they can help you track your progress over time, so you can see how much money you are saving on your energy bills.
How to Choose a Good Energy Advisor?
There are ways how to find a good energy advisor. Here are some things to consider:
- Get referrals from friends or family. Ask them if they know of any good energy advisors in your area. If they have worked with an energy advisor before, ask them about their experience.
- Do some research online. You can search for energy advisors in your area on the internet. You can search “certified Energy Advisor near me” or “Home Energy Advisor” to find EAs in your area. Once you have a list of potential advisors, you can read reviews of their services to see what previous clients have to say about them.
- Make sure the advisor is qualified. A good energy advisor will have a degree in engineering or a related field. They should also be certified by a professional organization.
- Ask the advisor for references. A good energy advisor can provide you with references from satisfied clients. These references can give you an idea of how to work with an advisor and whether they will likely meet your needs.
- Get a written agreement. Before you work with an energy advisor, make sure you have a written contract outlining their services’ scope. This agreement should include the fee structure, the timeline for the project, and the deliverables.
- Take your time in choosing an energy advisor. This is an important decision, so you should take your time to find an advisor that you can trust and who will meet your needs.
- Check out the website of your local utility company. Many utility companies have lists of qualified energy advisors.
- Call your regional office of the Canadian Home Builders Association. They can refer you to a good energy advisor in your area.
What to Look for in an Energy Advisor
Before making your final decision, here are some qualifications to look for in your list of EA candidates:
- The energy advisor should be certified by the government. This certification means that the advisor has met certain standards, has the skills and knowledge, and has passed an energy advisor exam to provide expert advice on home energy improvements. As mentioned, look for a professional registered with service organizations (SO). You may search for a SO in your area here.
- The energy advisor should have experience working in your area. They should be familiar with the climate, the types of homes, and the energy needs of homeowners in your area. This experience will help them understand your specific needs and provide you with the best advice possible.
- The energy advisor should offer a free initial consultation. This consultation is important because it allows you to get to know the advisor and ask any questions about their services. It also allows the advisor to assess your home and energy needs so that they can provide you with an accurate quote for their services.
- The energy advisor should have experience working in the field of energy efficiency. This experience will ensure that the advisor is familiar with the most recent technologies and trends in home energy efficiency.
- The energy advisor should have experience working with homeowners and businesses. This experience means that the advisor is familiar with the different types of home energy improvements and knows how to conduct an energy audit.
- The energy advisor should provide you with references from past clients. As mentioned, these references will give you an idea of the quality of the advisor’s work.
As a Summary
A registered energy advisor is a professional with the experience and training to advise you on energy efficiency for your home or business. They can assess your business’s or home’s energy performance, provide you with information on how to improve your home’s energy efficiency, select energy-efficient products, and find financial incentives to help you pay for the improvements. You can find an EA by asking for recommendations, searching online, or contacting your local utility company or government agency.