Businesses are facing harder economic times than ever before, and are continuously looking for ways to save money and lower their operating costs. One way many businesses are accomplishing this is through having an energy audit completed on their office building. Energy audits seek the energy uses of a building, and rank them according to cost effective opportunities for energy savings. An energy audit is the systematic process of identifying areas of the base building systems that require modifications, and then developing improvements in order to reduce the amount of energy input into the system without affecting the outputs. The base building systems normally include the building’s primary structures, and include items such as the HVAC system, electrical systems and the building envelope. There are common types of energy audits that a company can have completed on their building, and generally include four levels of analysis.
Level 0, known as benchmarking, is the first analysis. It consists of a preliminary analysis of the building which is based on the analysis of the historic utility use and costs. That historical data is compared to performances of other similar buildings, and benchmarking can help determine if further analysis is necessary. Level I, a walk-through audit, is a preliminary analysis that assesses building energy efficiency. It identifies simple and low-cost improvements as well as a list of energy conservation measures (ECMs) to approach the future detailed audit. Level II, the detailed/general energy audit, is based on the results from the pre-audit. This type of energy survey provides a comprehensive analysis of the building, a breakdown of energy use, a detailed analysis of the building and a first quantitative evaluation of the ECMs that have been selected to correct deficiencies or improve systems. This level of analysis can involve advanced on-site dimensions and sophisticated computer based simulation tools. Level III, or investment-grade audits, are detailed in their analysis of capital-intensive modifications and focus on potential costly Energy Conservation Opportunities (ECOs), and require a comprehensive engineering study.
An energy audit is an inexpensive yet powerful way for businesses to reduce costs and improve performance. They provide valuable perceptions into a company’s energy use and reveal ways a company can save money. Companies that analyze their operational elements such as lighting, building envelope and HVAC systems can typically save 5 – 20% or more. Companies can also differentiate themselves with consumers through energy efficiency and sustainability practices. Energy efficiency is becoming more and more important and studies show that businesses with strong sustainability credentials are gaining significant market share with consumers. An energy audit is an integral part of a business’s greater sustainability strategy. It can help companies identify existing efficiency strategies they may not be aware of, and help them meet and exceed opportunities of environmental conservation. Get your building benchmarked today and start saving your company money.