Content Analysis of Home Energy Audit Reports: Quantitative Methodology for Standardization

Kelly A. Sprehn, Michael G. Whelton, David R. Riley, Gül E. Okudan-Kremer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Scopus citations

Abstract

Home energy assessments or audits help homeowners diagnose and analyze the energy use in their homes. Assisted, traditional, and deep levels of these audits involve a trained auditor conducting energy analyses on the building structure. Findings from these audits are presented to the homeowner in a report format. Currently, a variety of content presented in the reports is confusing to homeowners. Energy assessments are predominantly carried out by technical professionals who may lack training and skills to address the voice of the customer, in this case, the homeowner. Report content output is served in the traditional engineering paradigm of building science and energy engineering problem solving. This research uses expert opinion to validate the content that is important for presentation in reports by energy professionals. The results then provide a basis for examining current industry practice and identify new research gaps for further development, particularly in the domain of design for human factors. Homeowners are left with little decision-making support owing to a lack of understanding or consensus among auditors in how to design effective reports. This research uses content analysis to quantitatively consolidate subject matter expert opinion to identify the essential components in a home energy audit report. It is concluded that there are two essential sections: (1) a summary of the audit experience, and (2) a summary of recommendations; and two essential formatting options: (1) building photographs, and (2) numbers presented in actual units. Adding specialization or personalization is useful, but only with the knowledge of homeowner motivators, expectations, and abilities. Providing numerical consolidation of audit report content increases the consistency of quality in the home energy auditing process, customized report design, and generation of formats.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberB4015002
JournalJournal of Architectural Engineering
Volume21
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Architecture
  • Building and Construction
  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts

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