Frequently Asked Questions

The following Frequently Asked Questions are part of OptiMiser pre- and post-sales support. If you can't find the information you seek in this section, see the other support options.

Raters & Auditors

Does OptiMiser require an internet connection?

No. OptiMiser uses a unique system that combines the flexibility of web programs with the customizability and freedom of PC programs. OptiMiser is fully functional anywhere, without an internet connection. Every month (and sometimes more often), new weather files and other updates are available. These will be downloaded to update your version of OptiMiser the next time you have an internet connection.

Does OptiMiser include training on how to perform home energy audits?
<div">We train OptiMiser purchasers how to use the software through online tutorials, classes at industry meetings, and optional onsite visits. As a result, auditors can perform their work much more accurately and efficiently than before, greatly enhancing the success of their businesses. OptiMiser provides in-person and web-based trainings for OptiMiser users in a range of formats: Training for Trainers, Introduction to OptiMiser (up to 2 hours), and full and multi-day in-depth curricula. OptiMiser does not train people to perform audits. Auditors must still be trained and accredited where they do business, in most locales.

How long does it take to do a full audit using OptiMiser?

OptiMiser makes auditors dramatically more productive. OpitMiser users say it takes them from ½ to 2 hours to complete data entry and report production in OptiMiser. OptiMiser speeds audit completion through smart defaults, effortless weather updates, automated utility bill calibration, and reliable custom reports. The Wizard enables most auditors to transition to OptiMiser and realize immediate improvements in efficiency. Auditors can move seamlessly from auditing to educating the customer to retrofit sales all in one visit.

Do I need to be a graphics expert to create good-looking reports for my customers?

No. OptiMiser allows you to painlessly create custom reports featuring your own logo and information, include as many photos as you like, and select from stock pages of dynamic content. You can also develop as many custom report templates as you like, selecting from over 60 pages available in OptiMiser. In addition, you can edit the content of any page, creating a variety of unique reports that include just the information you want.

OptiMiser does seem like a big improvement over other available software, but do I need to be a math wiz to use it?

No. OptiMiser automatically performs all the calculations and regression analysis that make it so much more powerful than other auditing software. The auditor's job is to enter the correct data.

What are the benefits of entering utility bills before I start the audit?

OptiMiser’s advanced utility bill analysis provides a Pre-Audit Diagnostic which gives you an expert diagnosis before you even arrive at the door. With utility bill information, OptiMiser can tell you the prime suspects for energy waste in a home and potential savings. The Pre-Audit Diagnostic feature includes an expert system that pinpoints building components that use an unusual amount of energy. To use the Diagnostic analysis, enter basic home information that is available before the audit (square footage, age of home, and zip code), apply the regional and age-specific defaults, and
enter utility bills. OptiMiser will compare the typical home to the energy characteristics available through the PRISM utility analysis. The Diagnostic Table lists potential areas of high and low energy use. Three charts show monthly utility bills compared to modeled loads disaggregated into heating, cooling, hot water, appliance, lighting and other loads.As Tom at Energy Saving Technologies says, “I love the Diagnostic system. It nails important energy use issues 95% of the time. I like to print it out and show the homeowner when I arrive for the audit."

What are the minimum recommended computer requirements for running OptiMiser software?

Visit our Getting Started page for detailed hardware and software requirements for running OptiMiser.

Can I transfer my Recurve files into OptiMiser?

No, but OptiMiser has developed a Recurve file interpreter which produces an Excel workbook containing the data in a Recurve file, reorganized into convenient tables. The workbook has a hyperlinked Table of Contents to each table, and full cross-referencing to the original Recurve file. The OptiMiser translator is now available under Tools/Analyze Json files in OptiMiser. For instructions on how to use it Search Recurve in the Knowledge Base.

 

Utilities & Agencies

Our state energy office needs to reduce emissions and hit energy efficiency targets. How can OptiMiser help us?

OptiMiser is a great way to engage an entire state or region in energy efficiency and conservation efforts, so it’s wise to require OptiMiser for audit programs. Not only can OptiMiser help individual homeowners make wise decisions, but OptiMiser also provides the kind of data-rich results required under grant guidelines in the Better Buildings and other funding initiatives. OptiMiser generates reports featuring data on CO2 emissions avoided, which can help satisfy funding requirements having to do with accountability and transparency. OptiMiser can provide any data required, and the OptiMiser consulting team can produce any M&V analysis and compliance reporting.

Can OptiMiser help our Regional Council of Governments standardize metrics across many cities and towns?

Yes. OptiMiser's metrics allow for compiling and comparing metrics across different cities and towns, and across different kinds of utilities (investor-owned, municipally-owned, and co-ops). OptiMiser is an ideal tool for managing large-scale energy efficiency initiatives in which transparency and accountability are key program values.

We're a utility under pressure to avoid adding more coal and natural gas generation. Can OptiMiser help us?

Yes. You can deploy OptiMiser-enabled auditing in your service territory to reduce customer demand, which can have the effect of delaying (or even avoiding) the need to expand fossil-fuel generation facilities. Such delay or avoidance is an excellent conservation strategy for improving energy efficiency and making the transition to clean, renewable energy.

We're a city that has committed to meet emission reduction targets. How can OptiMiser help?

Municipalities and utilities are wise to specify the use of OptiMiser in audits they sponsor, in order to maximize emissions reductions while simultaneously offering homeowners informed choices among improvements. OptiMiser automatically calculates emissions reductions as well as energy savings.

 

Homeowners

Aren't all home energy improvements pretty much the same? What value is there in more precision through OptiMiser?

OptiMiser’s power becomes apparent when considering alternate ways to spend limited energy improvement money for your home. The most cost-effective expenditures vary depending on your area’s weather, your home’s type of construction, and the level of comfort you expect. OptiMiser performs the important correlations between daily local weather and your utility bills, which yield critical insights about the improvements that are best for you. OptiMiser keeps you from investing in possibly costly improvements that don’t yield the desired energy efficiency results.

Our family is committed to having a low 'carbon footprint.' Why should we choose an auditor who uses OptiMiser?

Your OptiMiser report clearly shows the best potential energy improvements for your home both with regard to maximum CO2 reduction, and for maximum return on investment. Your customized OptiMiser report helps you make informed decisions that align with your values and your financial resources.

I'm a homeowner on a very restricted budget. Is insisting on an OptiMiser audit cost-effective?

Yes. Most home energy audits don't yield the powerful, precise information that homeowners need in order to make intelligent decisions about optimal energy improvements for their homes. OptiMiser does. Even homeowners on very limited budgets can benefit from knowing that there's a better return on their investment in their particular local climate for adding another inch of attic insulation (for example) than in other potential improvements of similar cost.

 

Sales & Support

What kind of training do you provide for OptiMiser?

We train OptiMiser purchasers how to use the software through online tutorials, classes at industry meetings, and optional onsite visits. As a result, auditors can perform their work much more accurately and efficiently than before, greatly enhancing the success of their businesses.The OptiMiser team has created step-by-step online tutorials to guide you through the setup and use of OptiMiser. While we’ve worked hard to cover all the bases with these eLearning modules, the OptiMiser team is available to train your group on a case-by-case basis at your site. You can also look for training opportunities at industry events throughout the country. OptiMiser provides in-person and web-based trainings for OptiMiser users in a range of formats: Training for Trainers, Introduction to OptiMiser (up to 2 hours), and full and multi-day in-depth curricula. OptiMiser does not train people to perform audits. Auditors must still be trained and accredited where they do business, in most locales.

Who should I contact if I'm having a problem using OptiMiser?

If you have a question or need some “how to” instructions, please enter your issue in the OptiMiser Forum. If you experience a problem in OptiMiser that appears to be an error or that occurs during work on a specific project, use the Issue Reporting function inside of OptiMiser to report this issue. You can also take advantage of our variety of other Customer Support options.

 

System Requirements

What operating system will OptiMiser run on?

OptiMiser will run on Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7, and Windows 8. For more information about hardware and software requirements, visit the Getting Started page.

What are the performance requirements for my computer?

The minimum system requirements to run OptiMiser include a 1.6 GHz Pentium M, 3.0 GHz Pentium 4 or equivalent processor, 1 GB RAM, and 5 GB available HD space. These are minimum requirements, and we strongly recommend faster processors since OptiMiser is a computationally demanding program.
We have found that the Atom processors do not meet OptiMiser requirements.

Do I need an internet connection to run OptiMiser?

No, OptiMiser will run normally without an internet connection. However once a month you must connect to the internet to update the databases for current weather files, energy prices, regional and age defaults.

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