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Things to Consider When Choosing an Energy Assessor

Tuesday, June 3rd 2008 12:21:22pm

Things to Consider When Choosing an Energy Assessor

Secret Shopping for an Energy Assessor at the recent Green Living Show

(Toronto, Ontario, June 3, 2008) In April, members of the Ontario Association of Home Inspectors (OAHI) visited the 2008 Green Living Show in Toronto to conduct secret shopping on home energy assessment organizations.

Of the four energy audit companies they secretly surveyed, only one met 100% of OAHI criteria.

Green$aver was found to be the most experienced with 25 years of energy efficiency expertise. As a non-profit assessor with an environmental mandate, they provide unbiased advice and assistance in developing community education programs and have expertise in new technologies like solar hot water.

AmeriSpec placed second despite having less experience. This was largely due to their accumulated wealth of knowledge as key deliverers of the popular EnerGuide for Houses government program.  

Home inspections have been valued by home buyers for years and are an integral part of an educated buying process.  A home energy assessment complements the work done by home inspectors once the home buyer purchases their home.  It provides a useful list of additional improvements to help new homeowners prioritize their upgrades and renovation plans while maximizing their energy efficiency and qualifying for government rebates.

The OAHI recommends you contact 2-3 home energy assessment organizations before booking an assessment and asking the following questions:

• Are they licensed by Natural Resources Canada to perform assessments to qualify for the ecoENERGY rebates?
• How long has the organization performed energy assessments? (More years mean more experience)
• Are the energy advisors on commission? (To ensure impartial advice, it would be best if they are not)
• How long will the energy assessment take? (Beware of short visits – a good assessment should take 1.5-2.5 hours, just like a good home inspection)
• Is there any obligation to purchase products or services? (You should never be obligated to purchase anything from the assessment company)
• Is the energy advisor who assessed your home the one who writes the report? (Some companies centralize report writing using the data collected during the assessment—the risk is the report writer does not have firsthand knowledge of your home)
• Beyond energy assessments, what else does the organization do to support the environment? (Do they have experience in emerging energy efficiency technologies, e.g. instantaneous hot water tanks, solar hot water, etc.)

“Price should never be the deciding factor when choosing a home energy assessor,” said Andrew Dixon, Past President of the Ontario Association of Home Inspectors.  “Your home is your most valuable asset and you should compare the level of experience and time spent in your home to ensure you get the most thorough assessment possible.”

The OHIA code of conduct includes providing a fair and impartial home inspection. When choosing a home energy assessor, make sure to ask those eight important questions. By doing so, you will avoid headaches and get a proper assessment of your home.

The OAHI is the CAHPI member in Ontario and was formed in 1987. In 1994, the OAHI became a self-regulating professional body when the Ontario Association of Home Inspectors Act received royal assent, granting the OAHI the exclusive right to define qualification requirements, regulate its members and grant the designation "Registered Home Inspector" and "RHI" to qualified practitioners in the Province of Ontario.  The Ontario Association of Home Inspectors is dedicated to enhancing the technical skills and professional practice of Home Inspectors, and maintaining high professional standards through education and discipline.

For more information:

Aubrey LeBlanc
Chief Operating Officer
Ontario Association of Home Inspectors
(647) 504-6862