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Existing homes. Most energy audits focus on the home as a whole, not just on single components such as an inefficient HVAC unit or drafty attic space. This method is intended to be a comprehensive survey of the energy efficiency of the home, which can allow homeowners a clearer picture of how efficiently their home uses energy. Auditors may use tools such as infrared cameras and duct blasters, which can detect under-insulated areas in walls and malfunctioning air ducts, and identify where heat loss and heat gain occur in the structure. They can also identify common areas of energy leakage and make recommendations for replacements of poorly sealed windows and light fixtures. Many auditors follow the Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star standards for whole-home efficiency testing.
New construction. Building codes are changing, requiring new residential and commercial structures to be more energy efficient. Beginning in 2011, the state of Georgia will adopt an amended version of the 2009 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC), which will call for more thorough and specialized efficiency testing requirements. Under the new IECC guidelines, the state will require tests for building envelope tightness, which determine the moisture- and air-leakage resistance of a home, and tests on insulation installation in all stand-alone and multi-family dwellings of four units or fewer.