An energy auditor, also known as an energy rater, is a specialized consultant who helps improve the energy efficiency of both residential and commercial buildings. As part of the “green" energy business sector, a career as an energy auditor presents ample opportunities for advancement over the coming decade. As a matter of fact, a large number of energy industry analysts anticipate that the alternative energy sector will continue to expand at a much faster pace than expected.
What does an Energy Auditor do?
Energy consumers as a whole are becoming increasingly environmentally conscious, which has created a comfortable niche market in which energy auditors can earn a living. A bigger driving factor in the business of energy auditing is the rising cost of energy, primarily residential electricity costs. Similar to the average price of gas, the price of electricity has been on an upward trajectory for the last few decades.
Energy auditors provide clients with actionable, real-world advice that can save hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars annually. Energy auditors are essentially building inspectors who provide consultations on energy efficiency. The heating and cooling system of a structure degrades over time if not properly maintained. In other instances, factors unrelated to the integrity of a heating and cooling system can cause buildings to become less energy efficient.
Energy auditors conduct hands-on tests in order to determine the source of poor energy efficiency. Conducting a blower-door test is one of the most common home inspections that are performed. This test uses a specialized blower fan to alter the air pressure inside an enclosed structure. First, energy auditors completely close all exterior openings to a building except the opening where the blower fan operates. The blower fan essentially creates a vacuum within the structure, causing exterior air to seep back into the structure. Using a variety of tools and techniques, energy auditors then inspect the structure in search of any air leaks.
A more technical test performed by energy auditors consists of the use of a thermal infrared camera to analyze the amount of heat a building accumulates. Thermal infrared devices allow minor differences in ambient heat to appear via a camera monitor as shades of bright and dark colours. Typically, red and yellow colours signify a higher temperature than darker shades. By using a thermal monitoring device, energy auditors can determine which areas of a structure demand attention.
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Energy auditing involves plenty of physical activity. A large number of energy auditors are self-employed small-business owners who conduct on-site inspections several times a day. This day-to-day activity may consist of entering attics or even walking on roofs in order to provide a thorough consultation.
Industrial-scale auditors often work out of a large office, coordinating test results with a team of civil engineers. For some energy auditors, traveling across the country and consulting on a wide variety of structures is a possibility.